Welcome to my article all about how to remove wood glue!
Glue is a messy substance and can get everywhere when you’re working on your projects.
No matter how careful you are, you’ll likely end up with glue squeezing out of the joints and sections of the wood you’ve used it to connect.
After the glue dries, it can be tricky to remove it from wood, though there are a few methods that you can try.
Below I’ll discuss the top 10 ways to remove glue from wood, and then toward the end of this article I’ll review the top 3 wood glue removers available on the market so you can get rid of that glue fast.
Let’s get started.
How To Remove Wood Glue: 10 Easy Methods
If the wood glue has dried into drips or globs, you can use a chisel to quickly remove them from the wood.
To do so, position your chisel at a 15-degree angle with the beveled side up.
Move the chisel back and forth, getting it under the glue when you move it forward.
This should chip away the glue, though you can also work the chisel beneath the edge of the glue and tap it with a mallet for a stubborn mess.
If the chisel has scraped the wood, leaving a rough section, you can use the chisel or some sandpaper to smooth it out when the glue is gone.
Plastic spatulas are another option for removing raised glue from wood, especially if the glue covers a large area.
Here’s how to use them to remove glue from wood:
- Soak a cloth in hot water and place it over the glue.
- Let the heat and moisture soften the glue, then remove the cloth.
- Using a spatula, scrape the soft glue, removing it from the surface of the wood.
Though the glue should lift off somewhat easily, take your time to avoid damaging the wood beneath it.
The hairdryer method is similar to the spatula method, though instead of using a cloth soaked in warm water, you’re using the hairdryer to soften the glue for easy removal.
Set the hairdryer on the hottest setting and hold it over the glue for a couple of minutes.
When the glue has softened, you can use a spatula or some other scraping device to peel it off the surface of the wood.
Acetone is a great option for removing wood glue, though it is a bit harsh.
It can’t be used on painted or varnished wood since it could damage the finish.
You also need to use gloves and a face mask to protect your skin and eyes from splatter and to avoid inhaling the fumes.
To use acetone, soak a rag or cotton swab in the liquid, then dab it onto the glue.
Let it soak in for a minute, then use a clean cloth to gently wipe the glue off of the wood.
Sanding wood glue off of wood is another quick and easy option.
For the best results, use a ½-inch wide piece of 100-grit sandpaper.
Take the small strip, fold it around your finger, and use it to sand the smear of wood glue.
Once the glue is gone, there could be a discolored area on the wood, which you can use the same type of sandpaper to remove.
Attach the sandpaper to a sanding block and lightly rub it over the white area to blend it more evenly.
Painted wood surfaces need a more delicate approach. A mixture of laundry soap and hot water is perfect for this since it removes the glue without damaging the wood’s surface.
Soak a rag in the solution and place it on the glue. Leave it for about 5 minutes, then wipe the area to take off the glue.
You can repeat this process as many times as needed for more stubborn glue stains.
If the wood is varnished, you can try vinegar to dissolve the wood glue without ruining the finish.
Soak a clean rag in vinegar, ring it out, and then use it to dab or rub the glue stain on the wood.
The vinegar will soften the glue enough to make it easy to roll it off with your fingers.
If the glue won’t come off, heat the vinegar and repeat the process.
If you have dried wood glue on a hardwood floor, baking soda is a great option for removing it. Here are the steps to follow:
- Use a hairdryer to soften the glue.
- Use a spatula or a credit card to scrape off as much glue from the hardwood surface as possible.
- After you’ve removed most of the glue, combine hot water and baking soda until it makes a paste.
- Spread the paste over the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Use a dry cloth or sponge to rub the area and loosen up the glue.
- When the glue is removed from the hardwood, soak a sponge in hot, soapy water and wash the area.
Be sure to dry it thoroughly afterward to avoid damaging the hardwood.
Lemon/Orange Juice and Salt
Citrus fruits, like lemons or oranges, are great cleaners, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they can help break down wood glue.
They are also safe for painted or varnished surfaces, so you can use them without fear of damage.
Here’s how to use citrus to remove glue from wood:
- Cut your chosen citrus fruit in half.
- Squeeze it over the stain, covering the wood glue in the juice.
- Leave it for about 10 minutes to give the juice time to break down the glue.
- Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the glue, letting it mix naturally with the juice to soften the glue even more.
- Use a plastic spatula to gently scrape the glue from the floor without damaging the finish.
Brake cleaner is a great choice for removing wood glue since it can be used on both raw or finished wood without damaging either of them.
It is also easy to find in hardware stores, gas stations, or online stores.
To use brake cleaner for this purpose, spray it onto the wood glue.
Leave it for about a minute, then wipe the area with a clean cloth.
If the wood glue hasn’t completely come off the wood surface, you can repeat this process.
Best Wood Glue Removers
In addition to the methods above, there are a number of glue removers available on the market that can easily remove glue from wood too.
Whilst the methods above are great for removing glue from wood once in a while, if you’re a carpenter or regular woodworker, investing in a proper glue remover might be easier for you in the long run.
Here are reviews of my top 3 wood glue removers:
Glue Remover Gel
Glue Remover Gel is a great option for getting rid of wood glue stains.
The gel is thick enough that it can be used on vertical and horizontal pieces without it running down the side.
It is also quite versatile, so you can use it to get wood glue off of your hands and clothing as well as painted, varnished, or raw wood.
The tube is only 5 grams, though, so there isn’t a lot of glue to work with.
Goof Off Professional Strength Remover
Glue remover is strong enough to work in only one application, so the large 16-ounce can lasts for quite a while, no matter how much wood glue you need to clean up.
It works on all types of adhesives, so it’s no match for even heavy messes of wood glue from your construction or repair projects.
Keep in mind that this product does have a strong odor, so it is best used in a well-ventilated area.
Not only does Adhesive Remover work on all your wood glue stains, but it is also easy to apply, thanks to its unique lid area.
There is a sponge applicator, so you can rub it onto all your wood glue messes, plus the small scraper lid makes it easy to peel off any thicker glue areas when needed.
The glue remover may leave an oily residue behind but this is easily removed with soap and water.
How To Remove Wood Glue: Conclusion
I hope this article has given you a lot of ideas on the best way to remove glue from wood!
As you can see, there are many home-remedy methods you can choose from, or you can simply purchase a glue solvent as well.
Here are some similar articles you may also be interested in:
About The Author: Hi There! I’m Dave. I’m a certified millworker and carpenter, and have been working in the industry for over 10 years. I created this website to pass on my knowledge so that other enthusiasts, no matter what their skill level, can enjoy the craft as much as I do. I hope you enjoy!