Remove Adhesive Residues Quickly – From Plastic, Metal & Co

Remove Adhesive Residues Quickly – From Plastic, Metal & Co

Adhesive residues are sometimes just ugly, sometimes they have to go so that you can successfully complete a repair. In the article, you will find out how this works the fastest.

“Half our life” is glued, and whatever “unsticks” has to be reconnected. Usually, the adhesive residues have to be removed first for this to work well… Here is an overview of how to do this tedious task as quickly as possible:

Washable adhesive

Normal household glue is solvent-free and washable, for example the “UHU stic glue stick solvent-free”, a 40 g stick to turn or the “UHU all-purpose glue without solvent”.

These and the other glues without solvents (glitter glue, colored glue for spreads and photo glue, for example) can glue paper, cardboard, fabrics and styrofoam. These are permanent but washable.

Glue stick without solvent

If you can assume that such an adhesive was used, you have it quite easy, because these adhesives can be solved wonderfully easily:

If stains get on your skin or clothing when you stick them on, they can be washed out immediately with lukewarm water. If the adhesive has already dried, it can be removed by machine washing at 40 or 60 °C, quite normally with the addition of detergent. It works similarly with adhesive residues on kitchen boards, plates, etc.: Wash normally in the dishwasher.

It becomes more difficult if the glue has landed on non-washable material and/or if you want to free the glued workpiece yourself from glue residues or from the whole glue. But there are also a few tricks that you can read about in the article “Removing superglue from clothing and skin”.

Incidentally, these adhesives are also pleasantly non-toxic, here is an example of a safety data sheet that mainly states what does not have to be observed or is not necessary because the product is not toxic enough for the warnings that belong to the corresponding point.

Advice on the correct solvent

However, most adhesives cannot only be persuaded to give way with water, but also contain synthetic resins or synthetic rubber, usually mixed with solvents.

This also applies to any normal Uhu or Pattex, with “UHU All-purpose glue quick bottle”. For example, it is stated in the safety data sheet as “chemical characterization” that it contains ethanol, acetone and ethyl acetate. Partly highly flammable substances, the safety data sheet contains numerous instructions for handling these substances.

Many of the solvents are combustible and highly flammable, some are irritating to the skin or eyes and/or are harmful if inhaled. Before you start cleaning work, you should avoid open flames, devices that produce sparks, open electric heaters, etc. switch off or place far away to prevent fires, explosions and deflagration. You should put cigarettes far away and avoid inhaling the solvents. Not only for health reasons, but solvents have an acute narcotic effect if you inhale too many vapors. When working in the apartment, good ventilation is essential, windows wide open, such cleaning work is best carried out completely outdoors. The solvents also have a fat-dissolving effect, any skin contact degreases the skin and thus robs it of its natural protection, You should avoid it if possible and apply lotion to your hands immediately after cleaning. If solvent gets into your eyes: Rinse immediately with plenty of water, then see a doctor as soon as possible.

With regard to the substrates on which the residues are to be removed, the same always applies to all solvent-based adhesives:

The solvent mixed into the adhesive is usually also the appropriate solvent to remove adhesive residue. On the product you will at least find information as to whether it contains solvents. You can usually find out whether the adhesive can be “washed out” from the product information.

Power glue with acetone

Sometimes it also says directly on the packaging which solvent was used. Sometimes you need to check the manufacturer’s website. Once you know which solvent you need, you don’t have to start removing the adhesive residue straight away. Rather, you should now take the cotton or cellulose cloth that you need to remove the adhesive anyway and look for an invisible spot on the substrate (its back).

Tip: Do not use any synthetic fiber cloths or cloths containing synthetic fibers as they may not be able to cope with the solvent.

Now drip a drop of solvent there, if it gets too much, wipe it off immediately with the work cloth. Depending on the material, it simply stays on the surface for a while, and then you only have a tiny spot that has been loosened. Or is rubbed gently, observed and, if in doubt, wiped away with kitchen paper.

Tip: Water and a work cloth for wiping should be within easy reach.

If you know the material will withstand a solvent, you’re good to go. If the glue residue is quite old and well dried, you can place the solvent-soaked cloth on the glue residue. And cover this “package” with a plate or with kitchen paper and foil. The solvent is now allowed to act a little.

In the case of thick layers of adhesive residue, the loosened adhesive is first scraped off with the back of a knife. If necessary, repeat this process several times until you can rub away residue and shadows with the solvent-soaked cloth.

If the adhesive residue is on clothing, the treatment just described should be done before washing or dry-cleaning the garment.

If the material cannot withstand the solvent, you should under no circumstances clear out the entire cleaning cupboard or workshop cupboard and try out the available resources. Also, refrain from testing supposed “grandma’s home remedy advice” from the Internet if it advises you to use unknown and possibly chemically reactive substances.

There are a number of Internet portals that want to get rich with advice on any topic, paying qualified authors and editorial scrutiny gets in the way. Go to the manufacturer’s website, if you can’t find what you’re looking for there with your specific problem, give them a call. The further away the company is from the international mega-corporation, the greater the chance that a long-standing employee will be brought to the other end of the line who has already experienced everything, really everything, with gluing and degluing.

Remove normal adhesive residue

If you only want to remove normal household and office glue from the tube, you can get rid of it the quickest with normal solvents (if in doubt, carry out a preliminary test as just described). The basic procedure also remains the same:

  • Alcohol (alcohol, if necessary vodka from the home bar) works, but only as long as the glue is not completely dry
  • acetone
  • nitro thinner
  • Ethyl acetate (= ethyl acetate) is quite often recommended as a solvent for adhesives. This chemical compound is no longer marketable because it is not only used for dissolving glue, but also for “sniffing”. Therefore, it may only be sold in pharmacies on presentation of a corresponding tissue certificate. However, because it is such a good solvent, ethyl acetate is found in many nail polish removers.
  • Lighter fuel (light petrol, cleaning petrol, cleaning petrol) dissolves grease and glue
  • For environmental and health reasons, use turpentine substitute, mostly white spirit, that is as aroma-free as possible and “odorless” white spirit

For removal in particularly tricky situations or on particularly sensitive surfaces, see the article “Removing superglue from clothing and skin”. Superglue is the most resolute representative of this family of adhesives, clothing and skin are the most sensitive substrates – what you can get off here without damage, you can get off all substrates (that do not react chemically with the solvent, preliminary testing is always mandatory).

Various adhesives

However, there are many more adhesives in our everyday life, even if we usually do not pay much attention to this fact. Incredibly many things in everyday life are held together with glue because it would be much more expensive to connect the individual parts in a different way, and other connections would often hold even worse. Adhesive use is commonplace, e.g. B. in the following branches of production/areas of life:

  • paper and packaging industry
  • furniture manufacture
  • automotive engineering
  • construction and furnishing sectors in the trades
  • Buchbinderei
  • Cable repair
  • Electronic
  • Do-it-yourself
  • school
  • office
  • household

Wherever an adhesive joint “fly apart”, the remains of the old adhesive must be removed before re-adhesive so that the new joint will hold (unless you know exactly which adhesive was used and learn from the manufacturer that “new” refers to the Remnants of “old” can be glued; extremely rare case).

Therefore, the following are tips for removing some household-typical but very special adhesive residues:

Double-sided tape

1. Remove remains of double-sided adhesive tape

If two surfaces have been connected with double-sided adhesive tape and are to be separated again, this sometimes has to be done very carefully because one surface is so sensitive that it can e.g. B. would suffer when using a chisel. For example, a mirror taped to the bathroom wall with mirror tape. If you want to remove it again and the mirror is to remain whole, it is carefully separated from the wall with fine wire or dental floss. When wire or thread works its way through the adhesive layer, it does so at different heights, and residues of adhesive tape usually get caught on both surfaces:

You should first heat up these residues with a hairdryer, sometimes you can simply rub them away. If that doesn’t work and you know which tape was used, there may be a special adhesive remover available at the hardware store. If not, it’s your turn to use benzine, you can also try silicone remover, alcohol, and the insider tip car paint polish (don’t forget to check the surface beforehand).

Edge glue

2. Remove remains of edge banding before replacing

Old, damaged edge bands are carefully heated with an iron until they can be pulled off. A degree-by-degree fiddling from the lowest heat setting to the heat at which the edge band comes loose but the plastic doesn’t melt yet, there are always residues on the edge – which have to go if the new edge band doesn’t ripple again immediately should hit.

If you still have to sand anyway because the old edge banding has come loose due to unevenness, you can carefully chip off the rest with the chisel. If the edge is smooth, a very fine wire brush with spirit is usually sufficient, which also makes the surface free of grease and dust. When dry, the new edge can be ironed on.

adhesive films

3. Wall tattoos, dc-fix, and other adhesive foils

Adhesive films for surface design are usually removed by peeling off after heating. Adhesive residues are usually small and disappear when you wash them off with a sponge. If in doubt, you should ask the manufacturer before removing larger adhesive residues with any solvent.

tile glue

4. Quickly remove tile adhesive residue

Here and with the following construction foam, it can be taken literally, because adhesive residues from both can be easily removed fresh, later only with difficulty:

  • fresh tile adhesive can be washed off with water and a sponge
  • check the packaging beforehand to determine when the adhesive will harden, tile adhesive takes up to 15 hours to harden.
  • Hardened tile adhesive residues (dispersion adhesive) can be removed with a stripper for emulsion paints (wear gloves, strippers are not skin-friendly)
  • mechanical removal works quite well on hard surfaces such as screed, brick or concrete: bricklayer’s hammer, chisel, planer, spatula (stable burn-off spatula)
  • Use a hammer drill with a chisel for larger areas
  • First of all, carefully work on tile adhesive residues on soft surfaces with the sanding machine
  • then with the flex and diamond grinding wheel, enormous formation of dust (respiratory mask)
  • then with a concrete grinder with a diamond grinding cup, dust development like this, best rent a device with a connectable industrial vacuum cleaner from a hardware store
  • on soft substrates, carefully regulate the speed so that the substrate is not sanded away at the same time

foam glue

5. Construction foam and other foam adhesives for caulking, filling, etc.

Most importantly, soiling from construction foam or assembly foam needs to be removed quickly, once properly cured they are extremely “resilient”, ie difficult to remove (and attract dirt, and yellow in sunlight).

Construction foam is mostly polyurethane foam, and that consists of polyol. Polyol is a crude oil-based organic compound that turns into polyurethane on contact with isocyanate; Accelerators, flame retardants, propellants, and stabilizers are also in the mix that sticks, models and seals so well and is rock solid. A devil’s stuff, hardened assembly foam is resistant to all agents that are normally suitable for removing work marks: Neither water nor oil, petrol, lyes or the usual solvents can harm the hardened construction foam.

Fresh construction foam is wiped off as completely as possible with kitchen paper and then washed with water.

Old mounting foam is more inaccessible:

  • after a careful preliminary check on the substrate, you can try soaking
  • in acetone, nitro thinner, or special solvents from the manufacturer
  • pay particular attention to ventilation and protection against inhalation

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to remove it mechanically, using the following methods, depending on the substrate:

  • Any excess can be carefully cut off with a cutter or sharp knife
  • Construction foam on hard surfaces can be removed with a ceramic hob scraper or a fine wire brush
  • Remove construction foam on soft surfaces with fine steel wool

Removing wallpaper and the adhesive residue it leaves behind can be just as fun as removing construction foam, especially if the wallpaper has been on the wall for ages.