No more glue residue!

How to remove glue from wood: The expert’s guide

Frustrated by that little bit of extra glue on your woodworking project? No worries - learn how to remove glue from wood like a pro with our expert’s guide.


There are several ways to remove glue from wood - sanding, scraping or wiping away after softening with a solvent. The right method will depend on the type of wood you’re working with and the type of adhesive attached to the wood. Whether the wood is finished or raw is also relevant, as some solvents that are intended for finished wood may stain raw wood and ruin its appearance.


First, try to gently scrape the glue away with a razor blade. This is especially effective when the glue hasn’t penetrated the surface of the wood. Make sure to use a sharp, clean blade and lay it down close to the wood to prevent the blade from digging into the wood’s surface. Try rocking the blade back and forth to loosen the glue as you scrape. You might also want to try loosening the glue by heating it with a hair dryer.

If necessary, try acetone or vinegar to soften the glue before scraping. Apply the solvent with a cotton ball and allow it to sit on the adhesive for several minutes. Then, use a razor, scraper, or even a rough towel to rub the glue away.

If these methods don’t work, you may need to sand the glue away. Sanding can quickly and effectively remove adhesive, though it may not be an appropriate method for finished wood. Make sure you use the highest grit sandpaper you can get your hands on and remember - the higher the number, the finer the sandpaper. This will minimize scratching on the surface of the wood.

Wondering how to remove glued paper from wood? This presents a bit more of a challenge because you don’t want to damage the wood surface by scraping the paper. Try following the same methods mentioned above but wet the paper with water before you begin.


Sometimes stickers leave a stubborn residue after they are removed, but this can be removed with alcohol. Try some denatured alcohol or acetone on a rough cloth and simply rub the adhesive until it peels away.


Most glues won’t leave a stain once the glue itself is removed. However, if you see a discoloration to the wood, apply some acetone or nail polish remover and wipe the area. If this doesn’t do the trick, try mineral oil or olive oil. Still no luck? You’ll need to sand the area with high-grit sandpaper. If you’re working with a finished surface, you’ll need to re-stain and finish the sanded area.

It’s best not to get excess glue on your materials in the first place. A glue with a precision tip, like Pattex Superglue Control Liquid, is a great choice. Not only does the adhesive provide a strong bond for a wide variety of surfaces and materials, but its precision control nozzle makes for an easy and accurate application - while keeping the glue where you want it.

Alternatively, Pattex Superglue Ultra Gel is an extra-tough, shock-resistant and waterproof formula that also has a control nozzle for easy application. Its thicker consistency doesn’t drip or run, helping prevent excess glue from making a mess on wood, plastic, metal, rubber, leather or ceramic.