March 8, 2021/Skin Care & Beauty

How to Get Super Glue off Your Skin

Get unstuck with a few home remedies

A drop of super glue coming out of a tube

Super glue can fix almost anything — but it’s not so useful when you glue your fingers together.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

The powerful adhesive cyanoacrylate, found in super glue and similar products, doesn’t let go easily. But dermatologist John Anthony, MD, explains how to get super glue off your skin safely.

Steps to getting super glue off your skin

If your fingers are glued together, or your skin is glued to something else, don’t panic. You can usually get the glue off with one of these steps.

  1. Lather up: “Wash the area with soap and warm water,” Dr. Anthony suggests. “Hand soap or dish soap works well. Washing it off will usually soften the glue and break the bond — if you do it before the glue hardens.” If it doesn’t come off easily after washing up, move on to the next step.
  2. Get a greasy product: Rub an oily, skin-safe substance onto the area. “Try hand lotion, mineral oil, petroleum jelly or vegetable oil,” Dr. Anthony says. “The oil breaks down the cyanoacrylate bond.” After massaging the oil into your skin, try gently tugging the stuck area off without forcing it. If you’re not free yet, move on to the last option.
  3. Use acetone: Nail polish remover with acetone usually works, but it’s the most damaging to the skin. “Acetone-based products will remove super glue from the skin, but they can make skin dry, cracked and irritated,” Dr. Anthony says. “Use the smallest amount possible, and don’t mix it with other chemicals. Once the super glue lets go, wash the skin with soap and water. Then, apply a thick, fragrance-free moisturizer.”

What not to do when removing super glue

When it comes to removing super glue from your skin, patience is key. “Don’t try to pull the skin off forcefully or pick at it,” Dr. Anthony says. “You could injure the skin and end up with a painful blister. And don’t use sharp objects like razors, nails or knives.”

If you do break the skin when trying to remove super glue:

Advertisement
  1. Don’t put any chemicals on the area.
  2. Wash the injured skin with gentle soap and water.
  3. Apply petroleum jelly to the injury.
  4. Put a bandage on it and let it heal.
  5. See your doctor if you notice redness, pain or swelling at the site of the injury.

And finally, don’t use scrubs, pumice stones or other harsh abrasives to remove super glue. “These items can irritate and damage the skin, and the other methods work better,” Dr. Anthony says.

Is super glue toxic?

“Getting a small amount of super glue on the skin isn’t harmful to most people,” says Dr. Anthony. “But a few people are allergic to it. It can cause a skin reaction called contact dermatitis. The reaction shows up a few days after the exposure and looks like a poison ivy rash.”

And if you swallow super glue or get it on your face, don’t take any chances. “Super glue in or near your eyes, nose or mouth is a medical emergency,” Dr. Anthony says. “Contact a poison control center or go to the emergency room.”

Can you leave super glue on your skin?

If super glue doesn’t come off with soap, oils or acetone, and it’s not bothering you, wait a few days. As the skin sloughs off naturally, the glue will come off, too.

Advertisement

Super glue is powerful, so use it with care. Treat it like any household chemical and keep it out of reach of children.

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Healthcare provider holding bottle of prescription medication
April 12, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
These Common Triggers Likely Cause Your Psoriasis Flare-Ups

Stress, infections, skin injuries and environmental factors can trigger an onset of psoriasis symptoms

Person sitting in a yoga pose with calming vegetation behind them
April 8, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
10 Easy Steps To Prevent and Manage Your Psoriasis Flare-Ups

Stick to your treatment plan, but keep your provider updated on any new symptoms or triggers

Wet plastic loofah hanging on shower knob
April 2, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Is Your Loofah Full of Bacteria?

This puffy shower accessory can become lodged with skin cells (and other gross things), so make sure you dry it daily and clean it once a week

Close up of face with rosacea on cheeks
March 21, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
6 Natural Ways To Find Relief From Rosacea

You can turn down the redness and soothe the irritation with natural remedies like green tea, raw honey and aloe vera

person getting forehead injections in a wrinkle
March 18, 2024/Aging Well
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Botox?

With repeat injections over time, you may be able to slow the development of new wrinkles

Smiling person holding small container of moisturizer close to face, with product applied to face
February 1, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
What Does Vitamin B5 Do for Your Hair and Skin?

Pantothenol is a powerful moisturizer and can help repair damaged skin and hair

close up of the bakuchiol plant
January 10, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Should You Be Using Bakuchiol in Your Skin Care Routine?

This alternative to retinol may be easier on sensitive skin

older female applying cream to face looking in mirror
January 8, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
What To Look for in Daytime and Nighttime Facial Creams

Day creams should protect your skin, night creams should soothe and repair it

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey

Ad