If you’ve ever accidentally broken an irreplaceable commemorative plate or needed a quick way to fix the between-the-toes part of your flip flops, chances are you’ve used Super Glue (yes, it’a an official brand name, like Xerox or Kleenex). And while that one little tube can take on a lot of big jobs, sometimes accidents happen... like gluing yourself to whatever you’re trying to fix.
Fortunately, there are ways around it, courtesy of the people who know best: the manufacturers of Super Glue. Here’s how to get almost anything un-glued, broken down by what is stuck.
How to remove Superglue from your skin
As basic as it sounds, start off by washing the glued skin with warm, soapy water. It might not work right away and could need a few applications. That’s completely normal and worth a shot. Definitely do not just rip the skin apart like you’re tearing off a bandage, as it may rip and bleed.
If warm, soapy water doesn’t work, you can try acetone, which is most commonly found in some types of nail polish remover. To apply it to your skin, dip the end of a cotton swab in a small amount of the nail polish remover and then apply it directly to the glue. This should dissolve the bond without damaging the skin. In addition, acetone dehydrates the skin, so after you use it, make sure to wash the area with soap and water and then put on some moisturising lotion to counteract the dryness.
One way around gluing your fingers together (or to whatever object you’re fixing) is to wear gloves. That way if you do get stuck, you can just slip the glove off and be on your merry way.
How to remove Superglue from clothing and fabrics
Acetone is the answer here as well. Your best bet for clothing and fabrics is to use an old toothbrush. Keep reapplying the acetone and brushing the area to remove it layer-by-layer. Start by working on the outside of the fabric, then come at it from the other side, attacking from the inside. Though it usually works to some extent, the glue may not come out completely.
How to remove Super Glue from counters, tables, floors and other surfaces
Reach for the — you guessed it — acetone again for this one. Start by applying the nail polish remover to the surface and penetrating the glue. Then once it has softened up a bit, brush, scrape, peel, shave, sand or use mechanical means to get the glue off. If at first you don’t succeed, apply more acetone and try again. But, the Super Glue people say to be careful because straight acetone is strong enough to discolor many different types of fabrics and may ruin the finish of some materials like laminated wood. So proceed with caution and use sparingly.
Lastly, when using Super Glue, acetone or any other chemicals, make sure to do it in a well-ventilated area to lessen your exposure to potential fumes.
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This article has been updated since its original publication.