How to Remove Hot Glue From Fabric & Clothes: 6 Ways

The aftermath of hot glue residue never really disappears. Most T-shirts I had, had a dark mark somewhere in the vicinity.

This had to stop, and I am out of budget repurchasing clothes every month. So, I decided to research and learn how to remove hot glue from fabric in the best ways possible.

You can apply alcohol-based solvents on the glued area or freeze the fabric to peel off without staining. Another idea is to iron the item without touching the hot glue.

how to remove hot glue from fabric

Thankfully, there are many online forums. Even my grandmother decided to pitch in some classic techniques. Let us read about them below.

Does Hot Glue Come Off Fabric?

We have all played with hot glue at some point in our life. Did you try testing your heat tolerance by placing a pea-sized hot glue on the index fingertip? The advantage is that it dries fast, so no need to endure it for long and start crying.

Does Hot Glue Come Off Fabric

Think of the substance as white lava. The molten stage is what adheres to objects, creating a strong bond once it dries. Hot glue is the most preferred adhesive that does not betray its user.

In other words, it will form a bond between items that no one can break. Similarly, the hot and liquefied glue quickly wraps itself to the fabric fibers it touches and creates a stronghold once the resin and polymer set in.

However, there are ways to break that bond from your garment; you can rest assured about that.

Can You Remove Hot Glue from Fabric?

You can select two directions to remove hot glue from any fabric. Remember that freshly triggered glue will be heated due to the wax that helps melt the resin and polymer elements.

Can You Remove Hot Glue from Fabric

The speedy drying process transforms its state into solid form, making it look opaque. Since it also turns waterproof, washing it does not really help. I tried it and failed miserably.

You can either choose a rapid temperature alteration method to affect the glue or apply acetone/isopropyl alcohol solvents to dissolve the chemical.

The sudden temperature change allows the glue elements to separate from the fabric like magic.

How to Remove Hot Glue from Fabric & Clothes: 6 Different Ways

I have experimented with each option below on various occasions. None have damaged any of my clothes so far! Plus, they are great ways to repair a hot glue error on fabric items before the project goes haywire.

how to get hot glue out of clothes

1. Rubbing Alcohol

This is my favorite kind of isopropyl alcohol solvent that hardly damages anything. Instead, it cleans any surface type while killing the germs with its high concentrating power.

You can rely on rubbing alcohol for many reasons, even if it does not offer isopropyl. If you do not have any in the medical or bathroom cabinet, now is the time to stash a bottle for future cleanup/mending sessions.

Step by Step

  • Is the glue amount pretty massive? Then take a clean cloth piece or a rag.
  • Soak it well in rubbing alcohol.
  • Gently ease it onto the glued stain.
  • Wait about five minutes for the alcohol to soften the hardened elements.
  • Take a cotton ball and start rubbing it from the outer edge of the glue. Slowly move to its epicenter.
  • Use a blunt or a butter knife to peel the adhesive glob gradually. Fingernails work too.
  • Make sure the fabric stays wet while you do this.
  • Repeat the process in case the adhesive seems stubborn.
  • If the glue blob is small, using a single cotton ball for the steps will do just the same.

2. Without Rubbing Alcohol with Nail Polish Remover

The only thing you have to know regarding nail polish remover is that it contains acetone. Thus, you can remove nail polish as well as get rid of that glue mess without buying anything.

A note of caution – avoid using it in synthetic fabrics (rayon, polyester, etc.). Better test the fabric with a small drop before advancing.

Step by Step

  • Wear gloves (latex) if you do not want the chemical to ruin the freshly coated nail polish.
  • Take a cotton ball and soak it in the nail polish remover. Use a clean cotton rag for larger stains.
  • Use it to work around the adhesive area, making the fibers well-saturated.
  • Now move all over the affected surface.
  • Wait a few minutes if the glue blob is big.
  • Get a fresh cloth to dab over the adhesive.
  • The glue should transfer onto the cloth.
  • Repeat the steps for a complete glue stain removal success.

3. Acetone

If you plan to use plain acetone directly on the fabric, do not try it on delicate fabrics. Acetone solvent is strong and is capable of melting clothing fibers.

Apply a small amount only after spot-testing it on the hot-glued garment.

Step by Step

The application method is exactly the same as mentioned in the nail polish remover section. This time, though, putting on latex gloves is essential.

4. Iron

Remember what I stated about sudden temperature change for an effective hot glue removal process? Ironing indicates a quick rise in heat, forcing the glue to return to its molten form.

The waterproof substance will not dissolve into the porous fabric, thanks to the resin/polymer bond.

Step by Step

  • Grab your iron board and set it upright. You can opt for a hard and flat surface as well.
  • Lay a clean rag (cotton) on top of it. A brown paper bag (flattened) will do too.
  • Bring the garment that is giving you so much headache.
  • Place it over the arranged rag/paper bag piece.
  • Turn on the iron and set it to fabric suitability.
  • Iron the clothing by moving it directly on top of the glued area.
  • The back-and-forth motion with ironing temperature for thirty seconds will transfer the glue glob to the rag/paper bag.
  • Repeat this process while replacing a cleaner section of the rag/paper bag until all is moved on.

5. Freezing

Is ironing not your kind of method? Then we can drop the temperature to almost zero and harden the glue further. Plus, it is super easy.

Step by Step

  • You can use a Ziploc bag to stash the said clothing in the freezer.
  • Or simply place the garment inside the freezer if it is clean and smells fresh.
  • Leave it for about an hour.
  • Take it out and inspect the glued area. There should be some cracked formation.
  • Pry the pieces away using butter or a blunt knife, as the cold temperature should separate the glue bond from the fibers.

Read Next: Get Fabric Dye Off Skin Step by Step

6. Washing Machine

You may inwardly say why it had not worked when you tried it! Well, this is a post-application method after the questioned garment goes through one of the above options.

Think of it like a follow-up that eradicates any glue or chemical residue leftovers. Here you just set the water temperature to high heat. Make sure it does not damage the fabric.

Use laundry detergent as well.

While this technique might remove a patch of glue from the fabric, I do not recommend it as the first step. The removed blob can clog the machine’s pipe.

So peel or pick away the stiff glue before throwing the clothing in the washing machine.

Read Also: Remove Silly Putty Out of Fabric & Clothes: 3 Ways

How to Take Off Hot Glue from Different Types of Materials:

How to Take Off Hot Glue from Different Types of Materials

The materials below are some of the most delicate items that have poor tolerance against hot glue. That does not entail you cannot get rid of the sticky element if tried.


Hot glue can leave residues on polyester even after peeling off the hard part. So, use the freezing or rubbing alcohol method for damage-free results. Make sure the alcohol-based products do not discolor the garment.


Once again, you can rely greatly on the freezing technique as it does not forcefully dissolve the glue. However, do not apply the hot water machine wash afterward, as it shrinks the fabric.

Instead, dab a very small amount of rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and gently rub off the residues.


You can choose any of the six ways mentioned above for cotton fabric. I advise testing the hidden seam with acetone to examine if it is suitable.


The only problem with satin is the stain it leaves after peeling off the glue blob. You may have to resort to rubbing alcohol to dissolve the wax stains.

On the contrary, you can opt for the freezing method if you think the alcohol solvents might discolor the fabric.


A knitted sweater you got as a gift now stays hidden because of some stubborn hot glue accident. It is unfair, and you can totally weaken the adhesive using various means.

I suggest rubbing alcohol or freezing method if the fabric can take it. Use Q-Tip instead of the cotton ball for better accessibility.

While ironing is acceptable for knitted garments, be careful with the heat setting!

Can You Remove Dried Hot Glue from Fabric?

Did you know that removing hot glue when dried is more efficient than trying to pull the molten thread? Therefore, you can certainly remove it after the drying period is taken into effect.

Can You Remove Dried Hot Glue from Fabric

Additionally, you barely get a second to touch the hot glue and take it out. Its elements dry so fast that the task is beyond your hands.

Nevertheless, a large portion of it on fabric will have delayed drying. The warm but waterproof thermoplastic stuff will try to wrap more fibers as it hardens.

It is like taking out more fighters along the way to self-destruction. Fortunately, you can get rid of the dried adhesive without ruining any more strands in the clothing.

How to Get Dried Hot Glue off Fabric

How to Get Dried Hot Glue off Fabric

Remember the six interesting ways I guided you through earlier? Apply any of those after scraping away the larger pieces. If you can peel off the dried hot-melt glue, do it with a gentle motion.

Then you can treat the leftover residue with the alcohol or temperature-changing techniques I have shown above.

It is better not to leave the dried glue on the garment. Even though it is quite harmless, most hot glue releases mild fumes. Some of them can even cause a flame to start when in certain conditions.

How to Get Hot Glue Out of Fabric Couch

We sure love to work while sitting or lying on the sofa. Suppose you prop the glue gun to stand on the couch with the power still running. The sudden movement causes the gun to topple, making molten glue drip from the nozzle to the material.

How to Get Hot Glue Out of Fabric Couch

This is more common when you sit with a craft project and forget to put the glue gun in a safe place.

Now the general fabric types for couch is linen, cotton, polyester, wool, olefin, etc. I find it best to wait for the hot glue to semi-dry instead of treating it when molten.

  • You can use the rubbing alcohol version to soften the glue around the edge to peel it off. Or, use fingernails to peel most of it.
  • Apply isopropyl or acetone-soaked cotton ball again to remove the residues gently.
  • Blot the area to absorb excess moisture.
  • If the upholstery fabric is removable, try the freezing method for the best outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What to do if I Don’t Own Alcohol?

You can use olive oil instead of alcohol. Soak a cotton bud in olive oil and apply that to the affected area. Continue the process till the glue gets loose, and you can pull that off. Apply more olive oil during the pulling process if requires.

Is Vinegar Effective on Glue?

Yes, it is. Vinegar can loosen the glue grip, and you can finally scrap that off. Vinegar is a natural remedy for glue remover, and you can use it on a wide range.

How to Remove Hot Glue From The Skin?

First, you need to cool down your burning sensation by running the skin underwater or rubbing ice on it. Continue doing this for at least 10 minutes and massage during that time to remove the removable possible glue.

Wait till the glue is fully dried. Working on half-melted glue will worsen the pain. Once it’s dried, take olive oil-soaked cotton and rub it on the affected part to loosen the edge. Rubbing alcohol can be an alternative, but burning the skin underneath the glue is possible.

After that, wash the glue residue from your hand. After running your hand under cold water again, don’t forget to apply antibiotic ointment & bandage over that.

Next Read: 7 Fabric Freshener Sprays

Final Words:

Hot glue mishaps are usually unexpected. The more you try to create a distance between the fabric and the glue gun, the longer the melted twine becomes. It will not break unless you use your hand.

Luckily, you are not alone in such incidents. This is why I have included several ways how to get hot glue out of fabric that even I benefit from regularly.

If you have a unique hot glue experience waiting to be heard, I would love to read it in the comments section. Please share!

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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