Glue on, glue off

How to get PVA glue out of clothes: From despair to wear

Even with the best of intentions, accidents will happen and you’ll need the know how to get PVA glue out of clothes. To stop spills souring your mood, here’s Loctite’s guide for doing exactly that.

PVA glue remover basics: What is PVA glue?

An emulsion that is soluble in water, PVA glue is one of the most versatile glues out there for creative projects. It is particularly good at gluing porous materials like wood, fabric and glue, without giving off any strong odours or fumes and is absolutely safe to handle with bare, unprotected hands.

With all these qualities, PVA glue is most often used for arts and crafts projects at home and in schools, as a wood adhesive, as wallpaper glue and as an adhesive for paper, fabric and leather. Because it is water soluble, an equal mix of PVA glue and water is a very good sealant for plaster, and for making papier mâché.

How to remove PVA glue from clothes

Whether you’ve accidentally spilled it on your shirt while crafting something out of wood, or you have children who haven’t been quite as careful as you’d like, knowing how to get PVA glue off clothes is a useful skill to have. Fortunately, it’s also easy to learn.

  1. Wait. Although trying to scrub at PVA glue while it’s still wet might seem like the natural thing to do, it isn’t. This will actually just spread the glue around more and make an even larger stain. Instead, wait and let the glue dry naturally.
  2. Scrape. Once it has set, the first step in the process of learning how to remove dried PVA glue from clothes is to use a spoon or a blunter knife to gently scrape off the top layers. When this is complete, only a small amount should remain amongst the fibres. 
  3. Treat. To treat the remaining glue, use a wet toothbrush to work some washing machine liquid (or washing machine powder mixed with warm water) thoroughly into the stain. Then soak the item of clothing in cold water for 15 minutes.
  4. Wash. Put the item of clothing through your usual wash cycle – but use a cool temperature setting of 30-degrees Celsius or lower, as hot water could cause any remaining glue stains to set into the fabric and make them harder to remove. Check the stain once the washing is done and repeat steps three and four again if necessary.

The steps for learning how to get PVA glue out of carpet are very similar to those above. However, once you have carefully worked washing machine liquid into the stain, use a sponge and cool water to scrub the stain and rinse out the liquid, then dry the area with a towel or kitchen roll.