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How to remove glue from wood: Tips and tricks

Glooly Product Advisor

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Seconds after an accidental glue spill or stain, you’re probably googling: ‘How to remove glue from wood’. Luckily, the solution is simple. Our guide will show you how to remove adhesive from wood in an instant.

How to remove glue from wood: What you need

Sticky residue can be a pain to get rid of, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s easier than you think. Here’s what you need to remove sticky residue from wood:

  • scraping tools (old credit card, spatula or sandpaper)
  • cotton buds for smaller clean-ups, or an old flannel or rags when you’re working with a larger spill
  • acetone nail polish remover or vinegar
  • wood varnish (optional, but useful for restoring the shine once you’ve finished)

There are many products designed specifically to remove glue, but always read the manufacturer’s instructions first. Some glue removers are not suitable for use on wooden surfaces and could cause damage.

Tips for removing sticky residue from wood

Follow these simple steps to remove glue from wood quickly and easily. This also works if you want to remove sticker glue from wood.

  1. Gently scrape off the residue. You’ll need a hard edge, but no sharp knives – you don’t want to damage the wood. For a small stain, this step may be sufficient.
  2. Dissolve the glue. Soak a cotton bud or rag in a solvent such as acetone nail polish remover or vinegar diluted in water. Note that acetone is only suitable for unfinished, untreated wood, while vinegar is a softer alternative, less likely to cause damage. Use the solvent to gently wipe away the stain, starting with a small area to be sure it’s not damaging the wood.
  3. Apply wood varnish. This step may not be necessary, but if you accidentally scuffed or damaged the wooden surface during glue removal, a bit of wood varnish or wood stain could come in handy for a shiny finish.

How to get larger glue stains off wood

If you’re dealing with a large stain, removing dried wood glue might take a bit more time. To get rid of the stain easily, we recommend using sandpaper. Before you start scraping or applying solvents to dissolve wood glue, rub a small piece of sandpaper back and forth on the stain. This should get rid of most of the glue; afterwards you can gently scrape away the remaining residue, and then apply a solvent if necessary.

To remove glue from badly bonded objects, stained surfaces and unwanted glue spillages, try Loctite Glue Remover. It’s so versatile you can even use it on ink and marker pen stains, sticky labels and to separate accidentally bonded fingers.