how to remove hot glue from wood

How to Remove Hot Glue from Wood?

Knowing how to remove hot glue from wood is a basic skill that every woodworker should know. Most of us have experienced enjoying a certain project, focusing on using our glue gun, only to find out later on that hot glue has landed in wood surfaces where it should not have been. When you unintentionally stuck hot glue on your wooden table, this guide will help you solve the problem. 

There are different ways of doing so. In this guide, we will discuss the different methods, and you can see which one fits your specific need. 

What You Need

  • Putty knife/blade
  • Hairdryer
  • Hot towel
  • Alcohol/Acetone
  • Cotton swab
  • Sharp kitchen knife

4 Ways on How to Remove Hot Glue from Wood

1 – Attempt to Melt the Glue

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The good thing about dealing with hot glue that is stuck on wood is that it can be fixed and removed. It is not as impossible as it may sound. Note that the simplest way is often the best way to make sure that wood, especially painted or varnished ones are not damaged. 

To get rid of dried hot glue on your wood, you can opt to use a sharp, flat object such as a putty knife or blade. These tools will easily get beneath the glue, lifting it from your surface. The secret here is to attempt and control the tool that you are using so that you can get it inside between the wood and the glue. 

For this first attempt in removing the glue using the simplest means, you need a hairdryer. Heat the area slowly, causing the hot glue to soften. Next, remove the glue using a hot towel. Make sure to be careful as you are working with hot temperatures. 

2 – Cool or Heat the Glue

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Hot glue is a typical combination of polystyrene resins and polyester. It can respond both to cold and heat. To remove it using heat, you can use an absorbent rag, setting a hot iron on top of the rag for around half a minute. 

When done properly, the glue will melt. The remaining substances that are not absorbed into the rag can easily be wiped away. As an alternative solution, you may place an ice cube inside a plastic bag, setting the bag on the deposit of glue. After 2 -3 minutes, the glue will become brittle, with a texture that is enough to be tapped with a wood block or hammer and break into easier-to-remove pieces. 

3 – Use Alcohol/Acetone for Messier Spills

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If the earlier steps do not work, you can attempt to remove the hot glue using alcohol. Note, however, that for this step to be accomplished, you should never attempt to clean the glue if it is wet. This can only make things even messier. You may want to wait for the glue to dry out completely first before removing it. 

Soak a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol or acetone. This can be done to cover the edges gently around the area. Leave it for a few minutes, allowing the alcohol to react with the glue. Afterward, it will be easier to lift it from the wood. 

Avoid overcoating glue. Just a little amount of glue is already enough to cause the intended reaction. After removing dried glue successfully from the wood, use a damp cloth to wipe it down, finishing the cleanup. 

4  – Use a Sharp Kitchen Knife

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If the above methods still do not work, or you are worried about the use of alcohol on your wood, you can try using a sharp kitchen knife and some heat. This can be done by lifting the edges of the hot glue gently using a sharp kitchen knife. Other options that can be used are craft knives and blades. Make sure to avoid scraping the surface, especially if it is treated or varnished. 

Use a hairdryer to heat the glue gently. It will melt it a bit, and then use a hot cloth in wiping away the glue quickly. Wipe down after using water, and dry completely. 


Note that the process on how to remove hot glue from wood mentioned above is only one of the many possible solutions. After all, it could depend on the type of wood surface because not all are the same. Regardless of the methods that you choose, it is important to ensure your safety first. It may be needed to wear gloves as you remove hot glue. This is to make sure that you will avoid any skin irritation that comes as a result of being exposed to the different possible solvents that you are planning to use. 

Do you have tips to share? Why not leave your thoughts on removing hot glue in the comments section below! Feel free to share this article if you like!



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