Gorilla Glue is a fast-drying adhesive that expands upon application, so it gets down into the open pores of everything it’s trying to bond. Because of that, because it’s waterproof, and because it dries to a tan color, it can be a nightmare if it gets onto your bare skin. Removing it from your skin requires a little bit of patience and knowing how to do it.
If you’re really lucky, you’ll immediately catch yourself spilling Gorilla Glue on your skin. If that’s the case, get a wet washcloth and immediately wipe it away. Be aware that Gorilla Glue will start to harden upon contact with water, so you’ll want to act quickly and decisively unless you want to compound the problem.
You’re still in luck if you see the glue about a minute after exposure. Although Gorilla Glue will start to dry quickly, it’s still tacky after about a minute. In this case, dishwashing soap is your best friend. Lather up the affected area with it, or with hand soap if you don’t have dishwashing soap available, and then rinse it off. The soap should help prevent the glue from bonding with your skin and allow you to remove it. As long as it stays tacky, keep alternating between lathering up and rinsing.
If the glue dries, it’s more difficult to clean off. A good first thing to try is to rub the glue with a slice of lemon or a citrus-based cleaner. You might be able to save yourself a lot of time and hassle if that’s successful in removing the glue. Otherwise, you’re going to have to move on to something much less pleasant.
The most proven way to remove dried Gorilla Glue is by rubbing it off. First, examine the place where the glue has adhered. Make sure that it isn’t sunburned, cracked, or likely to start bleeding if you rub the skin for an extended period of time.
Get some kind of exfoliant, like a piece of pumice rock. If you don’t have a pumice stone handy, a knife sharpening stone or something else with a gritty surface will do. If all else fails, a business card or a piece of wood like a popsicle stick might work. As a last resort, you can mix sea salt or sugar with a solid oil like coconut.
Soak the glue in warm water for a couple of minutes. Gorilla Glue is rated as waterproof, so the water won’t dissolve the glue. The warmth, however, should make it just a little bit pliable.
Using your exfoliant, rub the affected area slowly but intensely. Every so often, stop to lather up the area with dish soap to remove glue that’s been made tacky. If the skin begins to get uncomfortably warm or starts to cut, you can always rub with your finger.
If none of this works, or the skin around the Gorilla Glue is likely to get ripped up by rubbing it, you can simply wait it out. Skin cells replace themselves every six days, so you can just wait for it to go away on its own while pointing to it as a badge of honor that it happened while you were being handy.
If you want to just get rid of it, the same solvent that removes nail polish does a great job removing Gorilla Glue. Get some cotton balls and a bottle of acetone and wipe it down. It should come off pretty quickly. One thing to remember, however, is that this will instantly dry your skin out. Make sure you follow up with a moisturizer.
One last alternative is to use a mixture of washing soda and liquid detergent. The mixture should be about half a percent liquid detergent, maybe two percent washing soda, and the rest water. This is the mixture that industrial users of Gorilla Glue use to clean up spills.
Regardless of which option you use, that patch of skin has been through a bit of a trauma. Take care of it by moisturizing it. Check it a couple of times a day and reapply as needed.
The best way to remove Gorilla Glue is to catch it immediately after you spill it on yourself. If it’s still a liquid, it can be wiped away quickly and completely using a damp washcloth. If you catch it about a minute after you spill, you can still get it off with good old soap and water. Just use dishwashing soap, as that is strong enough to remove it. If it dries, you’ve got an actual problem. Maybe rubbing it with lemon juice will get rid of it. Maybe you’ll have to take more drastic steps.
This may also be of interest: How to Soften Gorilla Glue That Has Hardened in the Bottle
Header image credit: Mike Mozart, Flickr
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!