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Stain Removal

How to Remove Glue from Leather & Suede: 6 Easy Ways

Although glue and adhesives can be quite a handy tool for any DIY enthusiast, it’s notoriously messy and usually ends up everywhere, especially by accident.

Getting super glue stains on your fabric can be quite a problem, especially if your fabric is leather or suede, as some types of glue are specifically designed to bond to those surfaces, and that’s where this guide comes in handy!

In today’s article, we’ll show you how to remove glue from leather – whether it’s your favourite leather shoes, the family leather couch or even your leather car seats – using the right tools, mostly some household items, and a variety of methods as well as essential tips to avoid damaging your leather items in the process. Let’s jump right in!

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How to remove glue from leather and suede

Method 1: Gentle Scraping with Blunt Objects

For minor glue spots on leather upholstery and harder surfaces, you should always start with this method, especially if the stain is still fresh. 

You can also combine this method with the following methods to remove any remaining bits from the affected area after softening the glue spot.

Simply use a dull object like a butter knife, plastic knife, or credit card and gently but steadily scrape the glue stain.

Avoid using any sharp objects or going hard because it can end up damaging the leather, so you have to be careful.

Method 2: Nail Polish Remover

The most effective method to remove glue stains from leather is using nail polish remover. This is because fingernail polish removers contain acetone, which softens and dissolves super glue. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Moisten a cotton ball with acetone-based nail polish remover
  2. Apply the cotton ball on the stain’s corners and start dabbing it until the glue softens
  3. Repeat the previous steps with new cotton pieces and work your way inside until the residue is soft and easy to remove with a fresh cotton ball.

Method 3: Rubbing Alcohol

This method is pretty similar to the previous one and follows the same steps. The advantage here is that rubbing alcohol is fairly available, safe on most types of leather, and yields excellent results with several types of super glue.

However, it’s not always effective for suede leather, so you’ll need to consider an alternative if it doesn’t work after several attempts. 

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Method 4: Mild Soap and Warm Water 

If you have a fresh super glue stain, the best way to remove it is with mild soapy water. This simple method works best for acrylic glue because it’s water-based, so it can dissolve in water before drying out. 

It’s also one of the safest and easiest methods because it only needs some soap to work. Here’s how to do it:

  1. The first step is to add some mild dish soap to some lukewarm water to form a soapy solution
  2. Dip a clean cloth in the solution, and apply it over the sticky substance staining your leather.
  3. Try to work the stain out by rubbing it gently. For super glue stains, you can leave the damp cloth on the stain for 30 to 60 minutes to make it easier to remove.
  4. Continue gently rubbing the soapy water into the leather in a circular motion until the sticky residue starts coming off.

Method 5: White Vinegar

Another simple method that requires readily-available items to get the job done is scrubbing the glue with some white vinegar. 

The acidity of vinegar can help break down the adhesive substance and turn it into easy-to-remove clumps. For this method, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Prepare a diluted vinegar solution (1:1 ratio with water).
  2. Moisten a soft cloth with the solution and leave it on the leather for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Dip an old, yet clean, toothbrush (preferably with soft bristles) into a diluted vinegar solution.
  4. Gently scrub the glue residue with the toothbrush in the same direction until the stain comes off, and remove excess liquid with a dry cloth.

Method 6: Nail File/Sandpaper

This method is highly effective for thicker residue, but it requires steady hands and extra care. You’ll only need an emery board or nail file with a gritty surface or sandpaper (fine grit) for this method.

Start working the sandpaper on the bumpy residue surface to chip away as much residue as possible without scratching the surface.

Extra Tips to Keep in Mind for Effective Glue Removal

Now that you know what you can do to remove glue stains from leather, here are some important tips to consider to avoid damaging your leather, especially while removing stubborn stains.

  • Always Start By Cleaning the Leather Fabric: Cleaner surface prevents debris from catching onto the leather and makes it easier to scrub off
  • Leather Comes in Various Types: What works on some types of leather may not work on others, and some types of leather, so make sure that you test out various methods or combinations to get the best results.
  • Test-Run the Method Before Giving It a Go: Try the method in a hidden or small area to ensure it’s safe before going large-scale.
  • Follow Up the Removal with Leather Conditioner: This nourishes the leather and protects it from further damage.


Do Pencil Erasers Work in Removing Glue Stains?

This method is highly underrated but surprisingly effective. Use a simple pencil eraser and rub it on the stained area like a pencil scribble. 

Can I Use Vegetable and Essential Oils?

Since most types of superglue are hydrophobic, you can soften them using oil. This can work with vegetable oil as well as essential oils, such as lemon oil.

For this method, simply dab a clean piece of cloth into the oil and gently rub the glue stain. After a few minutes, the stain will become softer and come off easily with a blunt object.

Is It Safe to Use Heat to Remove Glue Stains?

Many might recommend using a heat gun or a hair dryer to soften the glue, but heat can heavily damage your leather, so you should avoid these methods, especially for thin leather.


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Wrapping Up

This marks the end of today’s guide which shows you how to remove glue from leather without damaging it. As you can see, you should remain steady and gentle while scrubbing to keep your leather in the best shape.

If you have an exceptionally hard glue stain that doesn’t come off with a combination of these methods, consider opting for a professional leather cleaner service to get the job done.


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