How to Remove Super Glue From Metal in 5 Simple Steps

We all love super glue. It has excellent bonding strength, it’s easy to apply, and it cures in seconds. But it’s very easy to leave a drop of it on a metal part of whatever we’re trying to fix.

Removing super glue from any surface is very frustrating and time-consuming. Thankfully, metal is one of the easiest surfaces to remove super glue from.

Read on to learn how to remove it and if it’s possible to remove super glue without damaging the paint on your metal.

Removing super glue from metal.

1. Prepare Everything You’ll Need

You will need to gather the tools that you’ll need to remove the super glue. Make sure to gather everything before you get started, so you don’t have to stop in the middle and find what you’re missing.

If you’re missing something I’m about to mention, you should be able to buy it from your local hardware store.

Without any further ado, here’s what you’ll need to remove super glue from metal:

  • A few soft cleaning rags.
  • Acetone. If you don’t have acetone, you can use acetone-based nail polish remover, vinegar, or WD-40 as a solvent, but they don’t work nearly as well.
  • A scraper, putty knife, pocket knife, or razor blade. If you’re worried about scratching the metal, you can use a plastic scraper or plastic knife instead.
  • Warm water
  • Cotton pads

You should also wear thick rubber gloves. Your skin can absorb acetone, which can cause dangerous acetone poisoning.

Additionally, acetone can irritate your skin, especially if it’s sensitive like mine is. It can leave a nasty rash that doesn’t go away for days or even cause painful burns to your skin.

2. Thoroughly Clean and Dry the Area

Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to start cleaning the area where the super glue is.

You don’t have to do anything fancy here. Just grab a cleaning cloth, some warm water, and scrub it.

You do this to remove any dust, dirt, and residue. It’ll be much easier for the acetone to break the super glue down if it’s clean.

Once you have cleaned the area thoroughly, grab a dry cleaning cloth and pat everything dry. Then, give it a few more minutes to allow the air to dry it further.

3. Apply the Solvent and Allow the Super Glue To Break Down

I promise that this is the last step of preparation. And it’s not optional, so don’t skip it.

You’ll need to apply some sort of solvent that will soften the super glue. It’ll make your job way easier because it’ll reduce the bonding strength of the glue.

The best super glue solvent that you can find in almost any store in the world is acetone. Acetone breaks down super glue, so it’ll make your job way easier.

Use pure acetone, such as the Pronto 100% Pure Acetone. It’s a bottle of professional high-quality acetone that doubles as nail polish remover.

If you don’t have access to pure acetone, you can also use acetone-based nail polish remover. While this will do the job, it has a few extra ingredients that reduce its effectiveness, which is why I recommend using the pure version when possible.

Don’t use acetone-free nail polish remover because it won’t work.

Put on your protective rubber gloves, and let’s get started.

First, completely soak a few cotton balls in acetone and put them directly onto the super glue. Make sure to cover everything, especially the edges that are in contact with the metal surface.

You’ll need to follow the same steps if you’re using vinegar or WD-40.

Leave the cotton balls for about 15-20 minutes if you’re using acetone. With WD-40, leave it for about an hour.

You can leave it overnight or even for a whole day with vinegar, but make sure it doesn’t dry out. Add more vinegar as needed.

4. Scrape Off the Super Glue Using Your Tool

Here comes the laborious part of the job.

You’ll need to use a sharp knife, razor blade, scraper, or putty knife to remove all of the softened super glue.

You should only use plastic tools if you don’t want to leave any marks on the metal surface. But if you don’t care about how it looks, my personal favorite is a sharp pocket knife.

If you’re having a hard time removing the super glue, soak it in acetone as you work your way through the super glue.

It’ll never be as soft as cutting through a sponge cake, but it’ll be soft enough that you can scrape it off.

Take your time when doing this. It may take up to 20 minutes to remove large blobs of super glue.

5. Wipe the Area Clean

Now that you have removed all of the super glue, it’s time to clean the surface once more.

You can use a rag or cotton ball soaked in acetone to remove any leftover residue. But you’ll probably have to scrape it off with your tool again.

Once there’s no more super glue, use a cleaning cloth and some warm water to clean the surface.

Pat it dry with another cleaning cloth, and voilà! Your metal surface is now as good as new.

Will Removing Super Glue From Metal Damage the Surface?

Removing super glue from metal won’t damage the surface if you use plastic tools to scrape it off. If you use a metal scraper or knife, you’ll inevitably scratch the surface. Also, acetone and most other solvents won’t damage unpainted metal surfaces.

The reason why a metal scraper or putty knife scratches metal has to do with hardness levels.

Most types of plastic are softer than that, so it won’t scratch your metal. If you use a stainless steel knife or razor blade, you’ll leave a ton of nasty scratches.

They’ll be clearly visible, so only do this if you don’t care about how it looks.

For example, if you’re removing super glue from a door hinge, it won’t really matter how it looks.

Can You Remove Super Glue Without Damaging the Paint?

You can remove super glue without damaging the paint on the metal, but you’ll have to be very careful. First, ensure that the solvent you’re using can’t damage the paint by patch testing it on a small, out-of-the-way area. You should only use plastic scrapers – using metal will leave scratches.

Super glue accidents happen to all of us. You were probably fixing something completely else when a drop landed on painted metal.

One of the biggest problems here is that super glue is a very strong adhesive. It can peel off the paint when you try to remove it.

This is especially problematic when it happens to your car.

Removing super glue from a car is very frustrating and time-consuming. But it’s better to take your time than to leave a few expensive scratches on your paint.

First and foremost, test the solvent of your choice on a hidden area.

Soak a cotton ball in acetone and use duct tape to put it on a painted car part. I recommend doing it somewhere underneath your car.

If you see that the acetone has damaged the finish, don’t use it, and try something else instead.

And if it didn’t, the procedure is more or less the same as with metal. The main difference is that you should use plastic tools to avoid scratching the delicate paint.

Another piece of advice is that you don’t leave acetone sitting on the paint for long. Try to remove the super glue after a few quick minutes of soaking.

Is It Possible To Remove Super Glue From Metal Without Acetone?

It’s possible to remove super glue from metal without acetone by using another solvent. Vinegar, WD-40, nitromethane, or paint thinner can all break down super glue. Weaker solvents like white vinegar require you to soak the super glue for longer.

Surprisingly, plenty of chemicals can dissolve super glue.

You can’t skip using the solvent because super glue is notoriously hard to remove. Especially on shiny metal surfaces.

Ensure that the solvent you want to use won’t damage the type of metal you’re working with. And if the metal is painted, most solvents will leave an ugly mark.

You could theoretically remove super glue without acetone or any other solvent, but it’ll be extremely difficult. You’ll leave a ton of scratches, and you could hurt yourself.

Final Thoughts

Removing super glue from metal isn’t difficult. However, it does require some forethought and a lot of patience.

If you don’t want to scratch the surface, you must use a plastic scraper or knife to remove the super glue. Apply more acetone as needed because not all of the super glue will break down.

It’s possible to remove super glue from painted metal surfaces too. However, you should make sure to check if your solvent will damage the paint first.


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