I recently went away for the weekend and came back to work to find a pot of superglue was left on its side and now there is glue everywhere.

I have managed to remove the pot of glue from the desk and most of the surrounding paper much of which was destroyed in the process. Now I have solid lumps of superglue spotted around my desk and it is quite annoying to try and write on and also rather unsightly.

Does anyone have any method to remove this, preferably without harsh chemicals?

I have tried scraping some off with a scalpel and it does work however it scratches up the desk somewhat and that isn't much better than having glue everywhere.

Might be worth noting that I am working in an Electronic Engineer environment so there are a few tools and other things at my disposal!

2 Answers 2

  1. Douse the area in glass cleaner such as Windex.
  2. Wait for an hour or so.
  3. Scrape at the area with a plastic putty knife or, in a pinch, a credit card.

Another option, although a bit more time consuming, is to

  1. Apply oil to the area around the glue
  2. Wait for an hour or so.
  3. Scrape at the area. (Also, with a plastic putty knife or, in a pinch, a credit card.)

If your desk is wooden, you can use furniture polish as the oil. This will do two jobs at once. :) If you don't have a wooden desk, furniture polish, or if furniture polish is ineffective, use WD-40.


Not sure if Acetone counts as a harsh chemical - if you're female you've likely used it to remove nail polish. Acetone allegedly dissolves superglue, possibly at higher concentrations than is found in nail polish remover, depending on the superglue. Your superglue spill is a recent one so acetone might work great! Still, you might want to test some on an inconspicuous area of your desk before going full-tilt on a visible area. Ideally, a cheap bottle of acetone-based nail polish remover will soften the superglue enough to allow you to gently scrape it off using a plastic credit card/giftcard/ type of nonmetallic straightedge.

For God's sake, put away the scalpel! Always start with the least damaging tool and proceed slowly and gently, moving up to a stronger and stiffer tool only when you're sure you need more toolpower to get the job done. Tool overkill has destroyed more expensive objects than probably anything else when it comes to removing stickers/residue/hardened lumps of detritus. I once bought a super-expensive flatscreen TV and the moron delivery guy scraped off the manufacturers' stickers with his pocketknife. When the replacement flatscreen TV arrived, i unpacked it myself and gave the stickers a few squirts of Googone. They came off nicely.

If it turns out you've already scratched it, or if you need to get the surface perfectly flat, you need to find yourself some finish-restoring advice from an old retired guy who does woodworking. Get up early, bring a pocketful of business cards, and head out to your local Rockler or other woodworking supply store. If you're not close to one of these, you may have to find old retired woodworking guys elsewhere, such as at Harbor Freight, Country Buffet, or wherever old guys hang out. Note that the best time to find them is always at the crack of dawn.

If your desk isn't made of wood, you can likely skip the aforementioned and take a shortcut or two. First, I'd go to whomever is tasked with purchasing at your workplace. Flirt with her, and bring her donuts. Impress upon her your urgent need for a new desk. Clearly, the legs are wobbly on your old desk, the drawers are sticking shut, and you'll be much more productive sitting at your nice NEW desk!

No luck? Go buy a Dremel tool, and the sanding/buffing attachments. Gently, slowly, and progressively grind/buff the superglue. Once your desk surface is restored to the desired smoothness, you may wish to erect a childproof/idiotproof desk barrier.

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