How to Remove Glue From Leather Car Seats Safely
There are various scenarios where glue can end up on your leather car seats. The most common ones include accidental spillage when repairing car interiors or from glue tubes – if you have kids, I’m sure you know what we mean.
It goes without saying that glue and leather do not go well together. All types of glues, including craft glue, super glue, and epoxies consist of either chemical or organic adhesives that can penetrate the leather, causing sticky and unsightly spots, which can be a nightmare to remove.
In the unfortunate event that you spill glue on your leather car seats, you’ll need to act as fast as you can, so that you don’t allow the glue enough time to bond with the leather material. The longer it dries, the harder it will be to remove.
In this guide, we’ll teach you how to safely remove all types of glues from your leather car seats. We will also dedicate a section towards the end of this guide to highlight some essential tips for easy and effective glue removal.
What You’ll Need
Before you’re able to remove glue from your leather car seats, you should prepare the items listed below:
- Scraper or a blunt knife
- A dry towel
- Leather cleaner or rubbing alcohol
- A hairdryer
- Cotton ball or swab
- Tissue paper
1. Peel Glue from Leather Car Seat
Most glues tend to harden relatively quickly, so the best thing to do first is to peel off as much as you can before it completely dries. Use your fingers to lift the edges of the glue gently and place it onto some tissue paper.
The goal is to remove as much of the glue as possible so that the cleaning solution is as effective as possible. Ensure to be gentle with the peeling process since your nails can cause marks to form in the leather.
You should also avoid pressing the glue further into your leather seats. If the glue has hardened too much for it to be removed through peeling, then it’s best to move on to the next step.
Important Tip: It’s best to skip this step when trying to remove super glue from leather car seats, as it dries too fast. Trying to peel super glue while it’s still wet does more harm than good. Therefore, when dealing with super glue, move straight to the next step.
2. Scrape Off Remaining Glue
If the glue has hardened, you can use a scraper or a blunt knife to gently scrape it off as much as possible. This usually happens when the glue dries and has bonded with the leather. Removing super glue from leather can be tricky so make sure to check out our dedicated guide.
If the glue stain has spread on a much larger area or if you’re dealing with a thicker stain, you can use fine sandpaper to clear away the top layer of the glue. However, you need to be extremely careful with sandpaper and we recommend only using it if there are several layers of glue that can be safely removed.
If possible, use a blunt object and gently scrape the glue from the leather material without causing any tears or cuts. Remember to inspect your leather seats regularly and when most of the glue has been removed you can move to the next step.
3. Select & Use a Cleaning Method for The Leftover Glue
We’ve tried several cleaning solutions for removing glue on leather seats. According to our results, the two methods that work best are leather cleaners (regular option) and rubbing alcohol mixed with water (harsher option).
Our general approach is to always try the gentler option first. Remember that leather is a sensitive material and can get easily damaged by harsh chemicals and substances.
Regular Option: Leather Cleaner
A leather cleaner is a type of cleaning product that is specially formulated to remove stains from leather products. It can clear away various impurities such as dirt, grime, dust, and even glue from leather.
For specifically removing glue from leather car seats, we recommend using the Leather Honey Leather Cleaner. It is a highly effective cleaner that can remove tough and tacky glue stains from your leather car seats without much elbow grease.
You can also opt for leather wipes to clean your glue-stained leather car seats quickly. Both options work well, but you must ensure that the product you opt for is leather-friendly.
For this step, take a dry and clean cloth and dampen it with the leather cleaner. Wipe the glue stain on the leather car seat with the cloth until the material is completely clean.
Circular motions with moderate pressure seem to work best for removing the glue. Remember not to smudge the glue stain to clean parts of your leather car seat. Instead, only clean the affected area.
If the glue has penetrated your leather car seats and appears tougher to remove try to apply a bit more pressure. If you still find the leather cleaner ineffective for removing the glue stains, then it’s best to move on to the harsher method, which you can find below.
Harsher Option: Rubbing Alcohol Mixed with Water
Rubbing alcohol (also called isopropyl alcohol) can be used to soften dried glue by breaking down its components, but you’ll need to dilute its concentration to prevent drying and discoloration of your leather car seats.
Mix one part of rubbing alcohol with one part of water and apply the mixture on an applicator such as a cotton ball or swab. Once the applicator is soaked with the solution, rub it on the glue stain.
This will soften the remaining glue on the leather car seat and break down its bonding agents. After allowing the stain to soften for a few minutes, carefully use a dried cloth to dab the stain. Dabbing the stain will help you remove the softened glue safely.
Do not wipe the stain with the towel under any circumstance, as it will only spread glue to other clean areas of your car seat. You also shouldn’t use paper towels, as they can get stuck on leather.
If you notice some hardened glue residue that does not lift from the seat, re-apply the mixture to the stain. Repeat the entire process until the leather is completely clean.
We don’t recommend increasing the ratio of rubbing alcohol to anything greater than 2 to 1, as that may damage your leather in the long run.
4. Use a Hair Dryer (Optional)
If the glue is still not budging you can use a hair dryer to heat it slightly. Warming the glue stain softens it and makes it more susceptible to breaking down from the rubbing alcohol mixture.
For this step, gradually heat the glue residue on the leather car seat with a hair dryer (on a medium setting) and repeat the previous step for complete removal of the glue.
Please remember to use a medium heat setting and keep it about 6 to 8 inches away from the leather. Anything closer may damage it.
5. Let Your Car Leather Seats Dry
After removing the glue stain from your leather car seat, allow them to dry completely before use. Ensure that the interior of your car is cool, dry, and allows for proper ventilation.
A great way to do this is to open all car doors, in order to maximize airflow. If that is not possible, open all windows. Park your car away from direct sunlight – in a shaded area works best.
You may want to apply a leather conditioner after using rubbing alcohol, otherwise, your leather car seats may dry out. This is because the cleaning solution may have stripped the leather from its natural oils.
Important Things to Look Out for When Removing Glue from Leather Car Seats
Below, you’ll find some important pointers on glue removal for leather car seats. These tips and tricks will not only help you with the process but also highlight certain things that you should avoid at all costs.
- Never Use Acetone – Acetone can dry out leather and cause it to lose its supple and smooth texture. We advise only using leather cleaning products that are effective, yet safe for your leather car seats.
- Only Use Leather-Friendly Products – Leather is a sensitive material. Therefore, you need to be cautious of the products you use to clean and care for them. Leather-friendly cleaners contain milder ingredients that don’t damage, darken, or discolor your leather.
- Don’t Use Excessive Pressure – Excessive pressure while cleaning glue stains from your car seat can result in accidentally pushing the glue in deeper. Use gently to moderate pressure while dabbing the stain for the most effective results.
- Avoid Scraping with Sharp Objects – Avoid using sharp objects or knives to scrape the glue residue off your leather car seats. These objects can cause accidental cuts on the leather and even potentially injure you in the process.
- Request Professional Help If Required – If the glue stains have hardened beyond removal and none of the above-mentioned methods seem to work, you should contact a professional for help. Professional leather care experts can help you remove the glue stains more effectively and quickly, without causing damage to your leather car seats.
Co-Founder, Researcher & Writer At Leatherskill
I’m a leather enthusiast who spends most of his free time crafting, researching, and writing about the many facets of this versatile material. Thanks for reading!