Super glue works on plastic

Remove dried superglue from plastic

Trial and error

Superglue is a simple and ideal helper when tinkering with and repairing many things made of plastic. If the adhesive has overflowed, or if splashes and drips accidentally land on the plastic, there are a number of methods and means to remove it.

Since the type and properties of various plastics are very different, individual experiments must be carried out using the "trial and error" procedure. In a hidden place, the effect of an aid is first tried out. If the plastic remains intact, it can be applied to the superglue.

Trying out and combining methods and means

In the normal application of a superglue, the joint is seldom exposed to conditions that affect the cyanoacrylate. The weak points of the adhesive are temperatures from 180 degrees Celsius, freezing adhesive bonds and permanent exposure to moisture.

In addition to chemical solvents, these properties can be used to remove superglue from clothing made of synthetic fibers, to remove it from painted surfaces without damaging it, and to remove plastic from it.

Possible methods with and without means

Depending on the type of plastic and plastic, the following methods can help:

  • Freezing: Frost makes superglue brittle and brittle
  • Heating: At 180 degrees Celsius, the heat resistance of superglue ends, but so does that of many plastics
  • Blow-drying: Similar to heating, but can be used in a more targeted and gentle manner
  • Scraping: Possible in conjunction with freezing or heating
  • Sanding: an option for very hard and high-quality plastics

Means to support the removal methods

The following agents and substances can dissolve the superglue, but often also the plastic. Always try out a hidden place first:

  • Acetone / nail polish remover: Dissolves cyanoacrylate, can only be dabbed on from above without touching the plastic surface directly
  • Ice spray: Similar to freezing, the glue becomes brittle and brittle
  • Vinegar essence: A possibility on insensitive plastic and in areas that are not very important to the eye
  • Fatty spreads (butter, mayonnaise, Nutella): Moisten the adhesive well and remove it mechanically
  • Cosmetic moisturizer: Same effect as fatty spreads
  • Vegetable oil: Same mode of action as fatty spreads and moisturizers
  • Nitromethane: Known from model construction as a performance-enhancing fuel additive, similarly flammable and volatile as acetone
  • White spirit: Can be used as an aggressive solvent for insensitive plastics
  • Petrol: Can be used like turpentine substitute
  • WD-40 / Caramba: Spray, actually against corrosion damage and rust, it can also dissolve cyanoacrylate, like most plastics
If you work with temperatures, i.e. freezing or heating, you give the plastic time to cool down or warm up again to normal. Several hours of stress-free regression prevents possible substantial damage such as breaks and cracks.

Author: Stephan Reporter
Article image: wk1003mike / Shutterstock
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