How to remove glue residue

Glue can often leave behind a sticky residue that is difficult to remove. The way to remove glue residue is through loosening the adhesive bond by altering the bond's moisture and temperature levels. Oil or an oil-based product can usually remove glue residue successfully. Oil will dilute the glue because most types of glue are oil-based adhesives. The oil will break down the chemical structure of the bond making the residue easy to remove.

Erase the glue residue. Rub a pencil eraser over the area in circular motions until the residue is gone. Gently sweep away the eraser shavings and residue with your finger. Use a larger eraser for bigger areas.

Lay a piece of duct tape over the residue if it is on a nonporous surface. Rub to ensure bonding and gently peel away the fresh tape, which will lift the old glue residue with it.

Rub an ice cube over the glue residue. The ice will chill the adhesive bond making the residue easier to remove. Gently scrape the glue residue away with a plastic spoon.

Soak a cotton ball in vegetable oil and apply it to any remaining glue residue. Let the oil sit for about 10 minutes, and rub the area in a circular motion until the residue is gone. Scrub the area gently with a warm soapy cloth.

Apply heat to surfaces that may be damaged by oil to remove the glue residue. Set a hairdryer on medium heat about 6 inches from the glue until it becomes soft. Scrub the area with a warm soapy wash cloth until all of the residue has lifted.

Use an adhesive removal product if the residue is still present. These products are effective in removing tough glue and tape residue. You can find them in the home improvement aisle of stores.


Some surfaces may be affected by oil, so make sure you test a small inconspicuous area first to make sure there is no damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil eraser
  • Duct tape
  • Ice cube
  • Plastic spoon
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cotton ball
  • Warm soapy cloth
  • Hairdryer
  • Adhesive removal product
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About the Author

Based in Statesboro, Ga., Emily Jones has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles appear on various websites, specializing in the diverse topics of cleaning and insects. Jones is a graduate student studying education at Georgia Southern University.