Removing industrial adhesives from glass is possible with the right products. Industrial adhesives can be used on glass in a number of situations: stickers and decals, to secure a windshield in place, and to affix a pane of glass in a window. Frequently, it is necessary to remove adhesive for aesthetic purposes or for replacement of seals on windshields or casings on windows. With care, the glass will remain intact and scratch-free. Here you will find the information needed to remove the adhesive safely and effectively.
Step 1 – Remove Surround Material
You will want to first remove as much material as you can from the glass without any chemicals. Using the plastic scraper (an auto window scraper works well) or dry plastic scrub pad, scrape and scrub away as much material as possible. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to stickers or decals. You can also use the plastic scraper to loosen casings or seals from around windows or windshields. Make sure that if there are any fasteners, such as nails on a window casing, that they are removed before attempting to loosen the casing. If possible, remove any casings or seals. If they continue to remain in place due to adhesive, do not attempt to remove them at this point.
Step 2 – Remove Adhesive
Again, using the plastic scraper, scrape or chisel away as much of the adhesive as possible. Often, if the adhesive is very old it may be hard and dried up, and might be able to just be chiseled or scraped away. It is much more efficient and will reduce the time involved if you can remove as much as possible this way, as opposed to using a chemical to dissolve it. Typically, to dissolve an adhesive it takes a significant amount of time for the chemicals to work through the adhesive. It usually will not take as long with a little bit of elbow grease.
Step 3 – Apply Solvent
Rubbing alcohol is an excellent solvent of adhesives and will frequently take care of many different types of adhesives. It is safe to use on many surfaces too. Add rubbing alcohol liberally to a dry cleaning cloth and apply to the area of adhesive. Let the cloth sit on the area with adhesive for fifteen minutes or so to dissolve the adhesive. The adhesive will become glue-like in consistency. If the alcohol does not work, use the acetone. Keep in mind that acetone will dissolve or soften many surrounding materials, such as paint, so read the label carefully to make sure it is appropriate and does not wind up on a surface that will be damaged.
Step 4 – Finish Removal and Clean
Alternate Step 2 and Step 3 until almost all of the adhesive is gone. You can use a standard glass cleaner to clear up any remaining residue.
If you’re ready for a serious adhesive battle, then head to the auto store. There are plenty of commercial products, such as Fast Orange or Goo Gone, that can give you a leg up. Designed for cleaning motor oil and grease from hands, they work just as well for sticker, tape and glue residue. Why? They contain a degreasing agent. In the case of citrus cleaners like Fast Orange, the degreasing agent is usually d-Limonene. Others rely on heptanes, a powerful solvent. To be safe, both types of products should be used in small measure in a well-ventilated area.
WD-40 is a standby in many households because a shot of this lubricant can fix everything from squeaky hinges to frozen door locks. Although the product’s 1950s origins were in rust prevention, we like WD-40 for its ability to cut through sticky residue on glass. Spray it on, let it sit and use a clean cloth to remove. And, if you’d like to impress your friends not only with your adhesive removing skills, but also with your trivia knowledge, try this on for size: WD-40 is short for Water Displacement, 40 th Attempt — the name a chemist gave it during development.
Why do these oily products work so well on sticky goo? If you hearken back to chemistry 101, you’ll recall most adhesives — at least the kind we’ve got gumming up our glass — are oil-soluble. So it only makes sense a bit of greasy fluid will shorten their life spans. And if you need to remove adhesive from other colored glass items, such as beer bottles or bud vases, it will work just as well.
Of course, you could go an entirely different direction by using lighter fluid. Its active ingredient, naptha, will make short work of any stickiness. For an equally serious approach, soak a cloth in denatured alcohol and apply it to the adhesive. Just be sure you have plenty of ventilation and aren’t near an open flame.
Stubborn bits of glue and paint can often stick, dry and harden on your glass windows. This leaves the windows looking quite unsightly, diminishing their appearance and their basic purpose as windows. Instead, you are left with a view clogged by globs of frustrating glue particles. Removing glue from glass can be a very time consuming task. Most people will try picking at it with their fingernails, prying the glue apart with a blade or rubbing hot soap and water over it. However, none of these methods will effectively remove the glue from your windows. Instead, you should try using an effective multi-purpose solvent along with a scraper to assist with the cleaning and removal process.
Cleaning glue from glass windows is difficult because it can be easy to leave adhesive residue behind. This is especially true when it comes to removing stickers from the glass. After peeling the sticker off, adhesive and glue marks are left behind, which can be a struggle to clean – especially if the residue is sticky or greasy!
Using Multisolve on Glass Surfaces
The only solution is to apply Multisolve to the area. Once the formula has made contact with the sticky adhesive, it will begin to pry apart from the glass. Whilst most solvents use a dangerous burning motion that can harm glass surfaces, C-Tec’s Multisolve utilises a safe but effective detaching motion that works into the sticky substance without causing any harm to the base material of the window. Following this, simply take a cloth and wipe the remains away. Since Multisolve doesn’t leave an oily film behind, the glue and solvent will lift from the glass.
Additional Multisolve Advantages
· In addition to removing adhesives, stickers and glues, Multisolve can be used to remove a large variety of materials. This list includes, but is not limited to, wax, printing ink, paraffin, sealants, silicone, oil, tar and grease.
· This economical multi-purpose solvent is the safest and cheapest solution for your paintwork. In fact, it is considered to be the number one preliminary paint and adhesive treatment.
· It helps to prepare the base material for various applications such as sealants. For example, you can use Multisolve to remove old sealant, providing you with the perfect starting point to re-seal and re-fill the desired area. Once re-application is complete, Multisolve can then be used to finish off the procedure.
· In addition to being compatible with use on glass surfaces, it can also be used on vinyl, most plastics, rubber and even on painted surfaces.
· This solvent is fast drying, which means you get on with the more important tasks of your day instead of waiting around for the solvent to dry.
· Multisolve is a complete pure aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent. It contains no recycled solvents.
When you need to remove sticker residue, adhesives and other types of glue from your glass windows, think Multisolve, the ultimate glue remover!
Many sticky substances readily come off windows if you scrape them with a razor knife, but some are too stubborn. These include old decals, tape and even the label that came with the window. Commercial solvents and lubricants are helpful, but some of these aren’t the kinds of things you want to use around the house. You can make your own effective window cleaning paste with household items.
Razor Blade Method
Because glass has such a smooth surface, it’s usually possible to mechanically break the bond between of something stuck to it with a razor blade. This method works especially well with paint. Holding the blade at a shallow angle — almost parallel to the glass — simply work it underneath the stuck material. If you’re removing layers of old, dry paint, you may have to add some force by tapping the blade. It’s important to use the blade with a retractable holder to protect your fingers and increase the leverage of the blade.
Lubricating the Blade
When you have a substance on your window that doesn’t solidify, such as tar, you’ll probably have limited success with a razor blade unless you add some lubrication. In some cases, spraying window cleaner on the area you’re cleaning and giving it a few minutes to soak in helps, but in other cases, you may need a stronger solvent. For example, mineral spirits are a better choice for lubricating tar. Soaking the tar with this solvent loosens its bond to the glass, allowing you to scrape most of it off. A rag soaked with the same solvent then removes the residue.
Useful Household Solvents
Mineral spirits isn’t the best solvent for every substance. For example, it won’t have much effect on adhesive labels, which are notoriously hard to remove. A better way to remove labels and decals is to coat them with olive oil and wait overnight for the oil to loosen the adhesive. If you can’t peel them off by hand the next day, you should be able to scrape them off with a razor. Spray lubricant and alcohol are other useful solvents, as are commercial spot removers and cleaners, and oils containing citrus extracts.
Homemade Gunk Remover
If you look up the ingredients of commercial spot and stain removers in their Material Safety Data Sheets, you may be reluctant to use these products — some can cause lung irritation and most are flammable. Make a safe and effective all-purpose gunk-removing paste by mixing equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda. Coconut oil is an excellent lubricant, while baking soda adds just enough abrasive action to remove residue from windows without harming the glass. One added benefit is that instead of making your house smell like a garage, it actually adds a pleasant aroma.
- ABC6: Cleaning: Adhesives
- Rosy Blu: DIY Gunk Remover: Non-toxic Recipe to Remove Sticky Adhesive Residue
Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.