The reason we go through the trouble of using a hot glue gun is that it is strong and holds together better than other adhesives. It also dries quickly. While this makes it extremely effective, that effectiveness can be extremely frustrating when you need to remove hot melt glue from knitted fabric.
Fortunately, we also know that hot melt glue has weaknesses. The bond created with your particular fabric may differ from another, which is why there are multiple strategies to try so you can figure out what will work best for removing the glue gun glue from your fabric.
One thing to remember throughout the process is to be patient. You need to be careful not to rip your fabric while you are working away at the problem. One of these solutions will work, it’s just a matter of trying them until you find the right combination.
Strategy #1: The Freezer Method
You Will Need:
- A spoon or a dull knife;
When it’s hot, glue gun glue is flexible. When it’s cold, it becomes brittle. To remove the hot glue gun glue from the fabric you will need to place your fabric in the freezer and leave it in there for long enough that the glue becomes extremely cold.
When it’s time to remove your fabric from the freezer be prepared with your spoon or dull knife in hand. You want to work the glue immediately so it is still freezing cold. Scrape at the fabric quickly, but not too rough so you don’t cause a tear. If this strategy works, the glue should pop off the surface.
Strategy #2: The Iron Method
You Will Need:
- A scrap piece of cotton cloth.
Since cold didn’t work, it’s time to try heat. Remember that the polymer adhesive will become more flexible with heat applied to it, but we don’t want the problem to spread.
Place a piece of scrap cotton cloth on an ironing board. Lay your fabric on top of the cotton scrap glue side down. Press a hot iron to the back of your fabric for approximately twenty seconds. Do not use the steam setting on the iron.
Lift up your iron and gently pull away the fabric from the scrap.
There will likely still be some glue on your fabric, but hopefully some on the cotton as well.
Now move your fabric so the hot glue spot is in a new area on the cotton and press the iron on the back side of your fabric for another twenty seconds.
Repeat this process until your fabric peels away clean.
Strategy #3: The Acetone Method
You Will Need:
- Acetone (This can be an acetone-based nail polish remover);
- Cotton balls or a scrap piece of cloth.
This method is a last resort because there is a chance acetone could react poorly to your fabric. It’s important that you find a less noticeable area of your fabric and test the acetone on a small piece to see if the colors change of the fabric reacts strangely. Wait for the acetone to dry to be sure of the reaction.
If your fabric handles the acetone well, you will use it to break down the glue.
Apply acetone to your cotton ball or scrap piece of fabric. Use the wet cotton to dab at the heat gun glue. Once moist, pat the glue with a cloth. Alternate between applying acetone and patting with a cloth until the glue loosens from the fabric.