Remove superglue from painted surfaces

When removing superglue from painted surfaces, speed is of the essence. In principle it is possible to work with solvents. However, you should only have the least possible effect on the paint. As an alternative, the consistency of the adhesive can be addressed. However, spots and edges are often left behind.

Always a gamble

Lacquered surfaces show great differences in sensitivity depending on the lacquer. Accordingly, the weak points must be identified when removing. Some paints, especially products containing resin, react relatively little to solvents. Others are very susceptible to solvents, but offer a very hard and resistant surface to mechanical impact.

The trial and error principle is always recommended to remove superglue. In a hidden place, the effects of the various methods and means are tried out. On painted surfaces, it doesn't matter whether there is wood or metal under the paint. However, the carrier material indicates the type of paint.

Use solvent and always polish

Painted surfaces are smooth, hard and sealing. Except for special paints, they are all susceptible to solvents. One possibility is to minimize the impact through precision and speed. Since the recommended solvents are volatile, this can be achieved relatively easily. Cotton balls, cotton pads and cotton swabs are suitable as tools.

Before removing superglue from paintwork, polishing tools should be kept ready. It is almost impossible to remove the adhesive and not to tarnish the paint surface underneath. Cotton and a fatty substance or oil are suitable for polishing.

The following solvents can dissolve the superglue and make it ready for taking off and picking up:

  • Acetone / nail polish remover
  • Nitro thinner
  • Special solvents from the adhesive manufacturer

While acetone and nail polish remover leave little or no visible traces on semi-resistant paintwork, nitro thinner is aggressive. It should only be applied very carefully and, if possible, only applied directly to the adhesive residue.

Alternative methods with a focus on changing consistency


Spray on ice spray or place an ice pack on the spot with the adhesive. The colder the adhesive, the more brittle it becomes. With a bit of luck it can be "unpopulated " at some point

Oil or water

Fatty substances and oil soften the adhesive. The same effect works with water if it acts permanently on the adhesive for a long time (24 hours).

Tips & Tricks Start with the gentlest method (water) and, if necessary, increase to the hardest and riskiest procedure (nitro thinner).