How to Remove Hot Glue from Wood

How to Remove Hot Glue from Wood (3 EASY Methods)

Hot glue can be a fast and easy way to join parts together, and it can be extremely useful on wood and other crafts.

But how do you get hot glue off wood? Here’s how!


There are several different ways to get hot glue off wood including:

  • Using a putty knife to scrape it off
  • Using a solvent like acetone or rubbing alcohol
  • Freezing the glue and heating it back to remove with a cloth

How to Remove Hot Glue from Wood

1. Chip the Dried Glue Off

Note: Before you attempt this first method, know that it should not be used on painted or stained wood. That’s because this method involves scraping off hardened glue with a sharp object, something that can mar a wooden surface if you’re not careful.

To remove dried hot glue this way, you’ll need a putty knife or chisel, a towel, a hairdryer or heat gun, a hot towel, and a clean cloth or paper towels.

  1. Grab the flat tool you chose and begin chipping away at the dried hot glue. You should chip at a 30° angle, and you should chip slowly and gently to avoid damaging the work surface. Aim to get the flat blade between the glue and the wood’s surface.
  2. Once you’ve removed most of the hot glue, get a hairdryer or heat gun to heat the glue that’s left.
  3. Once the glue is showing signs that it’s been adequately warmed up, grab your towel and gently wipe off the now-melted glue.
  4. When you believe most of the glue is gone, switch to a damp cloth and remove the last bits of leftover glue.

Note: You should wear gloves and other protective gear when removing hot glue, otherwise you may get burned by the glue or the heating tool you’re using to remove it.

2. Dissolving Hot Glue With Acetone or Rubbing Alcohol

Using Hot Glue

Note: This method should not be used with painted or stained wood surfaces, as both acetone and rubbing alcohol can cause discoloration, peeling, etc.

Removing hot glue this way requires a cotton swab, acetone or rubbing alcohol, a hot cloth or towel, and a paper towel or two.

  1. Apply a small amount of acetone or rubbing alcohol to the glue using your cotton swab. Refrain from applying too much of either substance; just a little bit will do.
  2. Once the dried glue has been adequately coated, wait a few minutes for the acetone or alcohol to react with it. After this chemical reaction takes place, removing the glue will be a lot easier.
  3. When the glue is ready to be removed, wipe it off with a hot cloth or towel.
  4. After you’ve removed most of the dry glue, go over it with a paper towel or a clean cloth to remove any remaining glue residue.

Note: You need to wait for the glue to be completely dry before applying acetone or alcohol. If the glue is fresh out the hot glue gun and wet when you apply either substance, you’ll have an unpleasant mess on your hands.

3. Freeze the Glue Off

Note: It’s best to use this method when the glue is semi-dry. If you put an ice cube on wet hot glue, all you’ll get is a mess, as the glue will melt the ice, leaving a watery glue mix.

  1. Put ice on the glue and leave it there for a few minutes. The ice will expedite the drying process while weakening the glue at the same time.
  2. When the glue is dry yet brittle, it’ll be easy to remove with a sharp, flat edge. You could even use your finger to scrape and peel the glue away, but if you go this route be sure to wash your hands afterward.
  3. After most of the glue is gone, go over the surface with a wet cloth or towel, preferably one that’s warm, to remove the remaining dried glue.

This method is ideal for softwoods, since you don’t run the risk of damaging the wood (if you use your finger to remove the glue). It’s also the safest, as no heat gun is required.

As far as the ice goes, you can hold an ice cube on the glue with your fingers if the glue spill is small enough, or you could put ice in a plastic bag and place the bag on the glue.

Personally, I don’t like the plastic bag method because if you’re dealing with hot glue, there’s a chance the thin plastic could melt, at which point you’ll need to remove the plastic-infused glue.

Check out some of these ways to remove adhesives from walls!

How to Remove Hot Glue from Painted Wood

When it comes to getting hot glue off painted or varnished surfaces, the best method is method three.

That’s because no sharp objects that can gouge the wood’s surface are required. Solvents like acetone, rubbing alcohol, and white vinegar are avoided too.

All you need to do is apply ice to the affected area, wait for the glue to dry, and then remove it with your finger or a clean cloth.

Also, there’s no heat gun in this method, which is good since too much direct heat can damage both paint and stain in a variety of ways.

Need to remove wood glue? Check out this guide to learn how to remove wood glue from wood!

How to Remove Hot Glue from Metal

If you need to remove dried glue from metal, you should use method 2: the acetone/alcohol method.

Either solvent will dissolve the hot glue, and since it’s metal you don’t have to worry about the surface getting damaged or disfigured.

It’s best to refrain from using a hair dryer or heat gun in this instance, as you may inadvertently heat the metal and burn yourself when touching it later.

Check out the video below for more info!

How to Remove Hot Glue From Plastic Surfaces

If you need to remove dried glue from a plastic surface, first consider the plastic’s strength. If it’s a durable plastic, you can use either method one or two. If it’s a thin plastic, it’s best to go with method three.


Can you remove hot glue from wood?

Yes, you can remove hot glue from wood. It’s actually easy to get hot glue off wood, provided the wood isn’t painted or stained. But even when you’re dealing with varnished wood, there’s a way to remove dried glue; just put some ice on it before scraping it off with your finger.

How do you remove dried hot glue?

There are three ways to remove dried hot glue. You can scrape it off with a sharp tool, dissolve it with acetone or alcohol, or freeze it off. The type of material you’re removing the glue from will in large part determine which glue-removal method is necessary.

What chemical will dissolve hot glue?

Both acetone and alcohol are commonly used to dissolve hot glue. Vinegar can also dissolve glue, but it’s not as strong.

How do you remove hot glue from wood without damaging it?

Freezing the glue before scraping it off with your finger or a semi-abrasive sponge is the safest way (for the wood) to take hot glue off wood.

How to remove hot glue without alcohol?

If you don’t want to use alcohol or another solvent to remove dried glue, you can scrape it off, freeze it off, or reheat the glue and then wipe it off with a warm cloth or towel.

Final Thoughts

In the end, when you need to get dried glue off a wood surface, there are three methods you can use.

The first involves scraping it off with a sharp, flat tool; the second involves using a solvent to dissolve the glue; the third involves freezing the glue.

When dealing with wooden surfaces and other hard surfaces, it’s best to refrain from using glue-removal methods that can weaken the material and make it harder to stain, paint, etc.