How to Remove Glue Stains from Clothes

For getting things to stick together, glue has its uses, but a glue stain on your clothes doesn't have to leave you in a sticky situation. First, consult the glue packaging for specific instructions on how to remove glue from fabric. If there are no instructions, follow the steps below. Start by letting the glue dry and then removing the excess carefully with a dull knife. Now you'll just need a bucket or sink for soaking and Tide Liquid Detergent to remove basic glue stains. For other adhesive stains, you can reach for rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to pretreat. Read on for step-by-step advice on how to remove regular glue stains as well as super glue and rubber cement stains.

How to Remove Glue from Fabric: The Basics

Step 1

Remove Excess

Scrape off any excess glue on the fabric with a fork or a butter knife, being careful not to tear the fabric.

A person removing excess stain from a white shirt with a toothbrush
Step 2


Soak the garment in cold water for 5 minutes, then remove any glue that has loosened. Repeat this step until no additional glue can be removed.

A person pretreating a denim jacket with Tide liquid laundry detergent and water
Step 3


Use the cap to ensure you use the right amount of Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid detergent, and pour it into the detergent dispenser if you have an HE machine, or directly into the drum before loading the clothes if you have a non-HE machine.

Step 4


Place the garment into the washer with other items. Wash on the usual cycle on the hottest wash temperature indicated. Always check the instructions on the garment’s care label.

A hand showing how to select the wash cycle and water temperature on your washing machine
Step 5


When the cycle is complete, unload the garments immediately.

If the stain remains, repeat steps 2 to 5 before drying.

A person loading white clothes into the washing machine drum

How to Remove Different Glue Types from Fabric

How to Remove Nail Glue

Nail glue can easily become stuck on skin and fabric. Since most nail glues are made with a cyanoacrylate that is also found in super glue products, it’s incredibly strong. The good news is that even though it’s tough, by following these steps on how to get nail glue out of clothes, the glue in your fabric should be easily removed, leaving your garment as good as new!

  1. Dip a cotton swab into some acetone (nail polish remover). Test the acetone on a small, inconspicuous piece of the fabric to ensure that it won’t damage or discolor it. If the fabric is undamaged, use a clean rag or soft white cloth to circle the area containing the nail glue since acetone can cause the glue to spread. Once the glue has been loosened, you should be able to remove it with a pair of tweezers.

  2. If acetone will not work on your fabric, start by soaking it in some soapy cold water. After about 30 minutes, remove the garment and put it on a clean, flat surface, scrubbing gently at the glue with a toothbrush.

  3. Launder the garment as you usually would with your favorite Tide Detergent. As with most glues, the key is to act quickly before the glue hardens. You can also try rubbing alcohol or even WD-40, but always remember to test with a cotton swab in an inconspicuous spot to ensure your fabric won’t be damaged.

How to Remove Glitter Glue

Glitter glue can be fun for projects and kids of all ages enjoy using it because of its fun colors and sparkly finish. It’s not so much fun to have clay, children’s glue, or crayon stains on your clothes. While most glitter glues are kid-friendly and washable, some contain include dyes and glitters that can prove challenging for parents trying to figure out how to remove glitter glue without damaging fabrics.

  1. Check your glitter glue for its contents. Some glitter glues are child-safe and washable while others use cyanoacrylate adhesive, a key ingredient in super glues. For cyanoacrylate glitter glue removal, see “How to Remove Super Glue” section.

  2. Dampen a soft white cloth and heat your iron to its “cotton” setting. Placing the damp cloth over the stain, heat with your iron to dampen and loosen the glitter glue stain. Use the damp cloth to wipe glue away and repeat the process with a new clean cloth if necessary.

  3. With your washer set to a heavy soil cycle, dose with Tide Detergent. Start the washer and let it run for about 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. Pause your machine in its cycle, adding non-chlorine bleach to the tub. Continue to allow the garment to soak in the machine for an hour, then rinse. Repeat this process as necessary, then dry according to the fabric care label.

How to Remove Hot Glue

Hot glue is a favorite of crafters and has many uses around the home. Because the glue is liquified by heat when it’s applied, it can flow around individual fibers and threads before it hardens and dries, making it difficult to know how to get hot glue off clothes. As with most glues, steps should be taken to remove it as quickly as possible before it hardens.

  1. Place the garment in your freezer for a few hours. Once the garment is removed, use a table knife or other rigid edge to scrape off any excess hot glue.

  2. Apply isopropyl alcohol to a cotton swab. Dab the alcohol-soaked cotton on an inconspicuous portion of fabric to ensure it won’t be damaged or discolored. Dab the cotton ball on any remaining glue spots to saturate the area.

  3. With rubber gloves, gently rub glue spots back and forth. This will loosen or dissolve most of the remaining glue so it can be wiped away with a paper towel. You can use a sewing needle to pick at any other troublesome spots.

  4. Wash the fabric as you normally would using your favorite Tide Detergent.

How to Remove Rubber Cement

It’s not only general craft glue and super glue that can leave its mark but also rubber cement. Try the steps below to save your garments from rubbery ruin.

  1. If the rubber cement is dry, scrape off as much of the glue as you can using a dull knife. If you are not dealing with a delicate fabric, you can also use a solvent such as rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to loosen the glue on the garment.

  2. After the excess glue is removed, pretreat the stain with Tide Liquid Detergent. You can pour it directly onto the stain and let it sit for 20 minutes.

  3. Just like with super glue and general glue stain removal, continue washing as usual with Tide Detergent.

How to Remove Super Glue

You can count on super glue to fix virtually anything, but if you happen to get it on your clothes, there is no need to panic—we’ll show you how to get super glue off clothes. For super glue removal from clothes, you can use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to pretreat, but do not attempt this on delicate or dry-clean-only fabrics. Let the professionals at Tide Cleaners care for your dry-clean-only garments instead.

  1. Allow the glue to dry, then carefully scrape off any excess.

  2. Test for colorfastness first: Apply the solvent to an inconspicuous area of the garment with a cotton swab, and let it sit for 1 to 3 minutes before applying a paper towel to the area. If no color comes off on the towel, the garment is colorfast, and you can continue to pretreat.

  3. Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton cloth and gently rub the stain. Rub the stain from the outside in to avoid spreading it and continue until the super glue is removed.

  4. After the excess super glue is removed, pour Tide Liquid Detergent directly onto the stain, making sure you completely cover it. Let it sit for 20 minutes to loosen the remaining stain.

  5. Continue washing as usual with Tide, following the steps described above.

How to Remove White School Glue

School glue is fun, child-safe, and an essential piece of every child’s learning experiences. And as with most things children get their hands on, it often winds up on their clothing. Luckily for you, most school glues are water-based and can be removed easily without damaging fabrics. Consult your glue container for its base, then follow these steps on how to get glue off fabric.

  1. Using a dull knife or stiff edge, scrape off as much excess school glue as possible. Be careful not to spread the stain. If the glue has already hardened, soak the clothing in warm water for 30 minutes to soften before scraping.

  2. Pretreat the stain with Tide Rescue Laundry Stain Remover. You can spray directly onto the stain and let it soak for 20 minutes.

  3. Launder your fabric in the hottest water its treatment label will allow. If the garment allows, you can also use a chlorine bleach or Tide Plus Bleach Alternative Detergent to boost the cleaning power.

  4. Remove the garment after the cycle completes. If the stain persists, repeat steps 2 and 3 until it is gone. Drying the garment before the stain is removed could cause it to set.

How to Remove Commercial Adhesives

Since commercial adhesives are frequently used in construction applications, they are very tough, durable, and can be among the most difficult glues to remove. Frequently, adhesive removers are sold alongside these glues to give customers a way to effectively remove adhesive from clothing if necessary.

  1. Allow the adhesive to dry before trying anything. If you try to wipe a wet commercial adhesive, you could drive it deeper into fibers.

  2. Using a dull knife or scraper, remove any dried excess from the fabric. You can try dampening the area with a clean cloth to loosen as well.

  3. Freeze the garment for one hour. Remaining glue should be frozen solid, making it easier to break away from the fabric with your scraper.

  4. Treat with Tide Rescue Laundry Stain Remover. Spray onto the stain and let it soak for 30 minutes.

  5. Wash garment according to its instructions using Tide Detergent. If the stain persists, repeat washing before drying.

How to Remove Water-Based Glue

Water-based glue is a very common adhesive, frequently used as a base in children’s glues because it creates a bond that is fairly easily broken with some water.

  1. Remove excess glue with a dull knife or edged tool. If the glue is wet, you can sop up excess with a cloth or paper towel.

  2. Dip a sponge or soft white cloth in warm, soapy water. Scrub the affected area gently, which should dissolve and break down the glue.

  3. If soapy water isn’t doing the trick, try a little rubbing alcohol. You’ll want to test the sponge/cloth with rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous area of your garment to ensure there’s no discoloration or damage to the fibers.

  4. Pretreat any remaining glue with Tide Stain Remover and wash as you normally would. According to the garment’s care label, machine wash with your favorite Tide Detergent. If stain remains, repeat this step before drying to avoid setting the stain.

How to Remove Drying Glue

For most glues, it’s recommended that you allow them to dry before attempting to treat the stain. The reason for this is that trying to scrub or remove drying glue can actually cause it to spread and embed further into the fibers of your clothing. Follow these steps on how to get glue out clothing.

  1. If the glue is still drying, scrape off as much of it as you can using a dull knife. Removing any excess that hasn’t already soaked into the fibers will make your job easier in the end.

  2. Once dried, treat the glue stain using the steps above based on the type of glue. After you’ve taken those steps, pretreat the stain using Tide Stain Remover, then wash according to the garment’s care label.

  3. Machine wash as usual with Tide Detergent. Consult your garment’s care label and wash accordingly. If the stain persists, wash again until removed to avoid setting the stain.

Don't Forget When Dealing with Glue Stain on Clothes

  1. Let the glue dry before scrubbing to avoid spreading it further into the fibers.

  2. Allow the glue to dry naturally, as applying heat will set the stain.

  3. Check your garment’s fabric content and care label first before attempting to use a solvent to remove the glue. Be sure to test the garment for colorfastness, and don't attempt on delicate fabrics.

Frequently Asked Questions

A:To remove glue from clothes with an iron, you’ll need an ironing board or other clean, hard surface and a cotton cloth or paper towel. Placing the cloth/towel down on your ironing board, lay the stained garment on top of it and heat the stained area with your iron for 10-20 seconds. This should transfer the glue from your garment onto the clean towel. Slowly peel the garment from the cloth and repeat until the glue is removed or you feel the garment is ready to wash.

A:For hot glues or other commercial adhesives stuck to fabrics, ice can be used to freeze the stained area. Place ice cubes in a bag and set them over the stain to harden and freeze the glue. Once frozen, the glue should be easier to separate from the fabric using a dull edged tool or kitchen knife. Scrape away excess and repeat the process as necessary.

A:Rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover can remove a variety of glues from fabric. First, soak a cotton swab or clean cloth in the alcohol and test it on a small, inconspicuous area of fabric. This will ensure it doesn’t damage or discolor. Once deemed safe, use the alcohol-soaked swab to fully permeate the stained area, then rub away excess with a clean cloth. Repeat as necessary.