How to Get Hot Glue Out of Fabric

by Stacey
8 Materials
20 Minutes

If you've spilled hot glue on your clothing during a crafting mishap, or maybe while helping your child with a DIY project, don’t despair!

When hot glue adheres to fibers, it may seem nearly impossible to remove. But there are some common household products that are effective for getting hot glue out of clothing, upholstery, and other fabrics.

Glue gun

Photo from Kelsley Broomfield. Discover her tutorial on how to Create Two Quick and Easy Face Masks. Check out her YouTube: Kelsley Broomfield.

Removing hot glue from fabric with rubbing alcohol 

For this method, you want to wait until the glue has dried completely. It’s easier to work with a hard clump of glue than a sticky puddle. 

Before you try this DIY method, do a fabric test to make sure the alcohol won’t damage it! Avoid using rubbing alcohol on fabrics containing acetate, triacetate, acrylic, and modacrylic. 

While acetone is sometimes recommended as a substitute for rubbing alcohol, we suggest against it because it can discolor or deteriorate cotton and some synthetic materials. 

Tools and materials needed: 

  • 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol 
  • Cotton pads 
  • Spoon or dull knife 

1. Dab the alcohol or acetone onto the glue 

Soak a cotton pad with a few drops of rubbing alcohol. Genty apply it around the edges of the hot glue stain. 

2. Wait 

This process takes a few minutes for the glue to loosen, so be patient. Eventually the glue will pull up and away from the fabric. 

3. Peel the glue off 

Gently peel the loosened glue off of the cloth. Don’t apply too much pressure or you could harm the fabric. 

4. Scrape off remaining glue 

Remove any remaining glue with a dull knife or spoon. 

5. Wash the item 

Once all of the visible glue has been removed, wash the item with detergent. 

How do I get hot glue off of fabric with a freezer?

You might not know that hot glue actually becomes hard and “crispy” when it’s exposed to freezing temperatures.

We can use that to our advantage for hot glue-spills we want to remove. This method is a good alternative to the alcohol hack because there is less chance of discoloring fabric. 

Tools and materials needed: 

  • Freezer-safe bag or container 
  • Knife or spoon 

1. Freeze the fabric 

Place the fabric with the glue stain in a freezer-safe storage bag or container in the freezer overnight. 

2. Peel off glue 

After a night in the freezer, the hot glue stain should be hard and stiff. Peel it off with your hands.

Be gentle when handling the fabric. Peel gently to avoid damaging the fabric. 

3. Scrape off smaller pieces of glue 

Use a spoon or dull knife to scrape off any remaining bits of glue. Avoid sharp knives that can rip or tear the cloth. 

5. Wash the fabric 

Wash the item with detergent to remove any last glue residue. 

Ironing fabric

Photo from Jessica Shaw. Discover her tutorial on How to DIY a Super Cute Bandana Dress. Check out her Instagram: Jessica Shaw (@jesssicashaw).

How to get hot glue off fabric with an iron

This method uses heat to transfer the hot glue to another surface. 

Tools and materials needed: 

  • Clothes iron 
  • Ironing board 
  • Brown paper bag or cotton cloth 

1. Heat the iron 

Lay the item with the hot glue stain out on the ironing board. Pre-heat the iron on the medium-high setting or the proper setting for the type of fabric you are working with. 

2. Cover the glue 

Place the brown bag or cotton cloth over the area soiled with hot glue. Hold the iron on top of the bag or cloth for around 20 seconds. 

3. Check your progress 

Lift up the bag or cotton cloth to see if all of the glue has been removed.

If not, place a clean section of bag or cloth over the remaining glue and repeat the process. 

It’s important to keep a close eye on the glue stain. You want to soften it enough to transfer it to the cotton or paper, but you don’t want to melt it to the point that it soaks into the fabric. 

4. Scrape off remaining glue 

Once the fabric has cooled, use a dull knife or spoon to scrape off any small bits of glue. 

5. Wash the fabric 

Wash the item with detergent to remove glue residue. 

Does hot glue come off fabric in the washing machine?

Fluctuating temperature changes in the washing machine react with glue to loosen and harden.

While that may be good if you’re trying to get glue out of fabric, it’s not good news for your appliance. Large amount of hot glue can damage the washer after coming off the fabric. 

We recommend washing items stained with hot glue after you’ve completed one of the DIY methods above.

Laundering will remove those small amounts of glue residue left behind without the risk of damaging your washer.

If you have a craft item that contains hot glued fabric, you should stick to gentle hand-washing to preserve the seal and your project. 

How to get hot glue out of fabric

Have you removed a hot glue stain using another method? Share your tips below! 

Check out my post on How to Clean a White Leather Purse next!

Suggested materials:
  • Freezer
  • Iron
  • Rubbing alcohol
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