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How To Get Hot Glue Off Fabric?

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Written by: Diana Ploscaru


How To Get Hot Glue Off Fabric?

Hot glue is a very handy tool for various DIY projects at home. But what happens when some of it accidentally spills over fabric? Can you get hot glue off fabric? 

There are quite a few methods that can help effectively remove hot glue from fabric.

These solutions don’t require expensive commercial products you need to purchase at the store. 

You can use several household items to remove hot glue from fabric:

  1. Freeze the glue
  2. Iron
  3. Rubbing alcohol
  4. Acetone 

Hot glue usually dries quickly enough, but you may wonder if you should try to clean off the hot glue while it is still drying? 

In some cases, removing glue before it fully dries and sets is easier and recommended, but not in this case.

If you try to get the hot glue off fabric before it is fully dried, there is a greater chance of unwillingly spreading it than cleaning it. 

Wait until the hot glue is fully dried. It will be easier to remove the hardened hot glue than to deal with it in its messy liquid form. 

So how can you know if the hot glue is dry and you can start removing it? Test it. 

  1. Use a small household item, such as a cotton swab or a toothpick
  2. Place it on the hot glue
  3. Check if any glue is transferred onto the toothpick or cotton swab
  4. If it did, even a little bit, then it isn’t fully dry, and you need to wait
  5. If there is no glue transferred over, it is a good sign that the hot glue is fully dry

If hot glue accidentally drips on the fabric, I don’t recommend trying to pull it off with your hands or an object.

I also don’t recommend using a sharp object, such as a knife or a scraper. All these items could damage the fabric. You could get tears or pulls (or other damages) in the material. 

Keep reading to find which methods work best and are the safest to use on fabric to remove hot glue.

Follow the step-by-step instructions that will guide you to safely and effectively implement the methods. 

Related: How To Remove Glue From Glass?
Related: How To Get Super Glue Out Of Clothes?
Related: How To Remove Super Glue From Plastic?

Freeze The Glue

This method requires more time to work, but it can be effective. 

You will need:

  • Space in the freezer
  • Ziploc bag

Follow these steps:

  1. Place your fabric in a Ziploc bag (or any other bag that can fit your material to protect from any damage while inside the freezer)
  2. Leave the fabric in the freezer for a few hours, maybe even until the next day
  3. Take the fabric out of the freezer once the hot glue is fully frozen
  4. Use a safe tool, like a cotton swab, to gently pull the hot glue from the fabric
  5. It would help if you tried getting in between the hot glue and the fabric slowly, without damaging the fabric
  6. Usually, the adhesive should pop off easily

If the cotton swab isn’t working, try something harder, such as a butter knife or dull object. Do not use anything sharp as that could accidentally cut into the fabric. 

If the fabric doesn’t fit into the freezer, pack a Ziploc bag with ice cubes and place it over the glue. Once the ice starts to melt, replace the bag with other ice cubes.

Repeat this step until the hot glue is fully frozen. Then continue with the steps described above. 

Rubbing Alcohol

For this method to work, you will need rubbing alcohol that contains 70% (or higher) pure Isopropyl. 

You will need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swab
  • Warm water
  • Detergent 

Rubbing alcohol can be highly effective in getting hot glue off the fabric. 

Follow these steps:

  1. Soak the cotton ball in rubbing alcohol 
  2. Cover the dried hot glue with it
  3. Let it sit there for about 5 minutes
  4. Repeat this step until the bond is starting to loosen from the fabric
  5. Dab the cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently work your way in between the fabric and hot glue from the edges
  6. Gently separate the glue from the fabric
  7. Once the glue is fully removed, wash the fabric with warm water and detergent (or in the washing machine using a warm water cycle)
  8. Let the fabric air dry
  9. Once dry, check to see if all glue residues have come off the fabric
  10. If you still notice some, add more rubbing alcohol to the area, and let it sit for a few minutes
  11. Gently remove all residue with the help of a cotton swab
  12. Repeat the wash cycle with warm water and detergent 
  13. Air dry again

Depending on what material the fabric has, before you work with rubbing alcohol on it, consider testing a small area of the fabric to see if it will have any unwanted reaction to the rubbing alcohol. 

Dab a cotton swab into the rubbing alcohol. Touch and gently rub a tiny piece of the fabric and wait a few minutes if you notice any reaction, such as staining, discoloration, or other.

Then decide whether the rubbing alcohol method is the right choice for your fabric. 


If you don’t have clear acetone, you can try an acetone-based nail polish remover. Both of these household items can be surprisingly effective in getting hot glue off fabric. 

The items you need:

  • Acetone
  • Clean cloth 
  • Clean rag 

Before I share the steps with you, remember that acetone could cause some reactions with certain fabrics. It could stain the fabric or cause its color to fade. 

Here is what you can do to be sure that this method won’t cause a negative reaction. Add a little acetone to a part of the fabric where it is hidden and can’t be easily spotted.

Wait a few minutes to see whether there is any negative reaction caused to the fabric by acetone. 

If the fabric is safe, then follow these steps:

  1. Use a clean cloth to soak in acetone
  2. Cover the glue with the acetone-soaked cloth
  3. Let it sit there for a minimum of 10 minutes or until you notice the cloth slowly getting dry
  4. If the adhesive hasn’t loosened at all, repeat the above steps (multiple times if necessary)
  5. Once the acetone has caused the dried hot glue to relax, use a clean rag to gently and carefully pull at the glue (be gentle, so you don’t remove the fabric if there are spots where the glue is still tightly attached to the fabric)
  6. Keep working on the glue with the rag until all the glue is removed from the fabric
  7. Wash the fabric with warm water and detergent either by hand or in the washing machine
  8. Air-dry the fabric
  9. Once dry, check to make sure the affected area of the fabric doesn’t have glue stains or residues on it (if it does, repeat the above steps)


This method may be a bit intimidating, especially if you haven’t tried it before. Iron can be effective in removing hot glue from fabric. 

You will need:

  • Iron
  • Clean paper bag or a clean plain cotton cloth (if you have both, a simple cotton cloth usually works best)

This method, if done right, will cause the hot glue to transfer from the fabric onto the paper or piece of cotton cloth, whichever you have.

Use a paper bag or cotton cloth that you won’t mind throwing away because that is what you will need to do with it after the glue transfers. 

There are quite a few steps to follow, but don’t be nervous; they are easy and simple steps. Just follow along and be patient with the process. 

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Spread out the fabric on an even surface with the dried hot glue facing upwards
  2. Lay the plain cotton cloth (or paper bag with no writings on it) over the hot glue stain
  3. Turn on the iron and wait for it to warm up – use a medium temperature (make sure the steamer is turned OFF)
  4. Carefully run the iron over the affected area for about 20 seconds 
  5. The glue should gradually melt off the fabric while simultaneously transferring onto the cotton cloth (or paper bag)
  6. After about 20 seconds, lift the iron and place a clean part of the cloth or paper bag over the glue
  7. Run the iron over the affected area again
  8. Keep repeating these steps until all the hot glue has melted off the fabric and has transferred over to the cotton cloth or paper bag
  9. Once the hot glue has come off the fabric completely, wash it with detergent in warm water
  10. Let the fabric air dry 

In this method, make sure that whatever you use – a cotton cloth or a paper bag – is clean and plain with no prints or writings.

Otherwise, you could stain your fabric and cause the hot glue not effectively to transfer over. 

Remove Hot Glue From Specialty Fabrics

Are there different methods that work best with specialty (other types of) fabrics? Generally, yes. 

Specific methods could work better and more effectively with certain fabrics. 

Here is how to remove hot glue from specialty fabrics:

  • Denim

If hot glue gets on your jeans, wait for it fully dry before you try anything. The recommended method is acetone or rubbing alcohol to remove hot glue from denim. 

  • Polyester

To get hot glue off polyester, try the freezing method. 

  • Leather 

To remove dried hot glue from leather, try applying the acetone method. 


Several household items can help you effectively get hot glue off fabric. The key with all the methods is to be patient and allow enough time for the substance you use to work its magic in loosening the hot glue. 

To remove hot glue from fabric, the safest and most effective methods include:

  1. Freeze the glue
  2. Iron
  3. Rubbing alcohol
  4. Acetone 

We don’t recommend trying to remove the hot glue while it is still drying, as this could cause a bigger mess. Please wait for it to dry before you deal with it fully. 

We highly recommend using gloves to protect your skin, especially when working with acetone or rubbing alcohol.

Some of the substances found in these items could cause dryness in the skin, which, if left untreated, could lead to cracks or irritation in the skin. 

After working with hot glue and different methods to remove it from fabric, clean your hands with warm water and soap, then apply a moisturizing hand lotion to prevent (or treat) dryness. 

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