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How To Remove Adhesive From Skin – 9 Tips & Tricks

removing adhesive band aid from skin

Even the tiniest amount of a strong adhesive on your body can make for a painful removal process. Whether it’s sticky bandage residue or unfortunate glue drips, adhesive needs to come off, but picking and scraping often won’t do much except waste unnecessary time at best and, at worst, cause more damage to your skin.

Figuring out a fast fix for adhesive on your body can be surprisingly simple. With a basic understanding of what loosens glues and other sticky substances, you may realize there’s an unexpectedly effective solution within arm’s reach. Get relief now by trying these nine quick and pain-free tips and tricks to remove adhesive from the skin.

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The 9 Tips To Remove Adhesive From Skin

1. Rubbing Alcohol

hands holding alcohol spray bottles
Image By: cottonbro, Pexels

Many adhesives are soluble in alcohol, and a light application will only take a few seconds to remove bandage residue, sticker gunk, and other substances from your skin. Saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Place it over the sticky residue, and let it sit to dissolve the adhesive. Wipe it away after several seconds.

Rubbing alcohol can redden, dry out, and crack the skin, and it’s best to avoid using it on dry or damaged areas and open wounds. If you use rubbing alcohol to remove adhesive, rinse with soap and water after to prevent irritation. Finish up by re-moisturizing your skin with lotion to avoid cracking and flaking.

2. Vodka

Image Credit: Squirrel_photos, Pixabay

If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol, you can use potable liquids, like vodka. Apply vodka to a cotton ball, and hold it against the skin to dissolve the adhesive, using water and soap to wash it away. Being alcohol, it can also dry your skin as it evaporates, so applying moisturizer to the spot can stave off subsequent irritation.

3. Coconut Oil (and Other Cooking Oils)

cooking oil
Image By: HomeMaker, Pixabay

Coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, and a host of vegetable oils all work as potential adhesive removers when there’s leftover gunk on your skin. Coat the adhesive in oil and let it sit for several minutes before wiping it off. Many people also recommend blending coconut oil and baking soda in a 50-50 mix and soaking the skin for 10 minutes to loosen the sticky residue.

4. Baby Oil

mother applying baby oil to her child
Image By: Pavel Ilyukhin, Shutterstock

Like cooking oil, baby oil and regular mineral oil can dissolve adhesives, removing them painlessly in minutes. Apply a small amount to your body, and massage it into the skin to loosen the residue. Then, wash off the oil with warm soap and water.

5. Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover
Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

Acetone is another organic solvent that dissolves glues, and you have plenty at your disposal if there’s nail polish remover on hand. Apply a few drops of nail polish remover to a cotton swab or paper towel and gently dab it on the affected skin. Let it sit for several minutes before washing it away.

Though many recommend only acetone-based products, you can still try a non-acetone nail polish remover to get rid of adhesive on your skin. Instead of acetone, these gentler options contain other viable adhesive eliminators, such as rubbing alcohol, coconut oil, or seed oil.

6. Petroleum Jelly

petroleum jelly
Image Credit: Bit Investment, Shutterstock

Petroleum jelly is easy to apply, and its thicker quality allows it to hold onto skin better than oils, making it an excellent solution if you have a lot of adhesive to remove. Working similarly to other mineral oils, petroleum jelly products such as Vaseline or lip balm will dissolve the glue and other gunk in about 10–15 minutes. Wipe away the excess with a paper towel after removing the adhesive, or wash it off with soap and water.

7. Warm Water and Soap

soapy water
Image Credit: StillWorksImagery, Pixabay

A bath supplies a relaxing option to remove old adhesive from your skin, as the warm water and soap gently loosen it. Bathing is an excellent way to kill two birds with one stone when trying to make bandage removal gentle on children. The kids get clean while the bath helps bandages fall away easily without pulling on the skin.

8. Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter
Image Credit: Rigby40, Pixabay

The oils in peanut butter work the same as cooking oils to remove adhesive from your skin, and like petroleum jelly, it can provide a firmer hold while it works. Let it sit on the affected skin for several minutes to loosen the adhesive. Wipe away the peanut butter, and wash your skin with soapy water.

9. Check the Fridge

butter slices
Image Credit: rodeopix, Pixabay

Margarine, butter, and mayonnaise offer clever tricks to remove adhesive from the skin in a pinch. The cooking oils contained in these staples (and you may find even more oil-rich adhesive-removing foods in the fridge) will loosen the sticky substance after several minutes.

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What’s the Best Way to Remove Super Glue from Your Skin?

Since they activate through water contact, cyanoacrylate glues like Crazy Glue and Super Glue quickly cement skin to skin due to the moisture content, creating an intense and immediate bond. Do not try to force the skin apart, as you can easily tear it and develop blisters.

Unstick Super Glue from your fingers by soaking them in warm, soapy water. If that doesn’t work, any of the above DIY solutions can also help, particularly acetone or baby oil. In severe circumstances, you may need to seek medical assistance.

Can You Use Goo Gone to Remove Adhesive from Skin?

Goo Gone isn’t safe for removing adhesive from the skin. The original formula boasts several potential irritants, including glycol ethers and petroleum distillates, which can cause dryness, cracking, and rash. Its powerful odor can cause further discomfort if you use it to remove adhesive from your skin, especially if you have asthma, allergies, or respiratory sensitivity.

Among its expanded product selection, Goo Gone now offers a Bandage & Adhesive Remover. The alcohol-free and non-aggravating formula makes bandage removal tolerable for kids and offers adults a more straightforward approach to removing sports tape, medical adhesives, ink, and numerous other substances. As a bonus, Goo Gone uses a citrus scent for less irritation at every level.

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Removing adhesive from your skin probably isn’t the most stressful part of your day, but avoiding the irritation that comes with it is too easy not to try.

There are hundreds of clever tools in your home to safely strip glue and adhesive residue off your skin, saving you time and discomfort. The next time your child needs a bandage, or you accidentally glue yourself, discover the benefit of these simple and pain-free adhesive-removal options.

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Featured Image Credit: LamoonfilmPhoto, Shutterstock


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