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Adhesives literally keep our world and our lives together. Defined loosely, adhesives are what stick two things together. More commonly, we call it glue, paste, cement, gum, and whatever word there is synonymous with something “sticky that sticks”. It can come from natural materials, like tar, starch, beeswax, and some natural resins. These are called bioadhesives. Synthetic adhesives are not found naturally in our environment and are manufactured. Most adhesives we use today are synthetic. A bit of trivia: Did you know that the first commercially created adhesive was not made until the 1920s? It was made by Karlsons Klister. However, the earliest record of the use of adhesives is from 200,000 years ago, from the Pleistocene Era, where tar-hafted stones, which are stones stuck together with tar and made into an ax, were found in Italy.
Adhesives come in different types. They can be classified by what they are made of, or by the way that they react in order to harden, or by their load bearing capacity. Adhesives can be reactive or non-reactive. Reactive ones are those that need to be mixed with other substances or by a chemical reaction in order to bond. Examples would be epoxies and UV curing adhesives. Non-reactive adhesives are those that only need pressure, drying, heat, and contact in order to bond. Examples of this would be the white glue for drying, Band-Aids and Post-it notes for pressure sensitive adhesives, contact cement and laminates for contact adhesives, and hot glue gun for hot-melt (heat) sensitive adhesives.
Just as there are many kinds of adhesive, you would need just as many types of adhesive removers, since the removers must be unique to the kind of adhesive used. Adhesive removers often fall into two categories; toxic and non-toxic. Non-toxic removers are mostly water-based and are made with citric acid (think lemon and other citrus fruits). It is usually citrus scented and are mostly liquid or paste. As a tip, use the paste variety if you need it on a vertical surface, as it stays in place better than the liquid type. Soy-based removers are also non-toxic and are easy to wash off with water. It takes a longer time to absorb into the adhesive compared to citrus-based removers.
Toxic adhesive removers include those that are solvent-based and dry ice. Solvent-based adhesive removers are flammable. They have strong smells and need to be used in well-ventilated areas. They are more effective than water based removers and are more commonly used. Dry ice made of pure carbon dioxide. Because of its low temperature, dry ice can cause frostbite and other conditions related to extreme cold temperature if directly handled. It is fatal if swallowed or inhaled. It should not be used in a closed room. Dry ice is applied directly to the bonded object and it works within seconds.
Let’s check some adhesive removal products online and see which ones make it to our top list.
Goo Gone Surface Safe Adhesive Remover
Goo Gone Surface Adhesive Remover can remove goo from carpets, ceramic, porcelain, finished wood, sealed stone, painted surfaces, glass, fabric, metals, and plastics. It is perfect for cleaning clothing, dinnerware, and tables. However, it can’t be used on silk, leather, suede, rubber, faux stainless steel, drywall, unfinished wood surfaces, and unsealed stone. It comes in different packaging and sizes, with the price indicated above for an 8oz. bottle. It is also available in a trigger spray bottle for vertical surfaces and in gallon sizes.
Always pre-test on an inconspicuous area to see if it will not affect the surface material. For hard surfaces, you only need to apply Goo Gone, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then wipe and wash with soapy water. For carpet and upholstery, Goo Gone should be applied on a clean, white cloth. Use the cloth to blot the stain. Use soap and water for aftercare. For clothing, please note that you cannot treat with Goo Gone while wearing the affected clothing. Goo Gone can be applied directly to stain, blot with clean white cloth, then wash separately.
Scotty Peelers Label & Sticker Remover
You do not always need a synthetic solution to removing adhesives. Most of the time, you can do it using your nails. But if there is a product out there that can help chipped and broken fingernails, then that product would be the Scotty Peelers. A pack comes with three plastic peelers and one peeler with a metal blade and cover. The plastic peelers come in red, white, and blue, and it has a non-stick surface. The peeler with metal blade comes with a sheath that recoats the blade so that the adhesive won’t stick to it. The metal blade is three sided and is made from surgical grade stainless steel ad is used to remove labels off of hard surfaces like metal and glass. The plastic peelers are useful for removing sticky labels and stickers from paper and other soft and delicate.
The official Scotty Peelers website even offers volume discounts for bulk orders and even accepts orders for customized plastic peelers with personalized names and branding.
Smith & Nephew Uni-Solve Adhesive Remover Wipes
Uni-solve is an adhesive remover for acrylic, rubber, and hydrocolloid based adhesives left of the skin from dressing tapes and medical appliance adhesives. It works by thoroughly dissolving the adhesive from the tape or equipment. This is especially useful for people who need to change wound dressings and have medical equipment that needs to be stuck to their bodies. It also has Aloe Vera to soothe irritation and trauma and moisturizes the skin, without greasy residue. It is odor free and contains no CFCs. However, it should not be in contact with the eyes, its vapor can be harmful. It is flammable and should not be in contact with any painted surfaces. Though it is used for wound care, it should not be applied to open wounds or mucous membranes.
It comes in packages of 20 and 50 wipes.
Un-Du Adhesive Remover
Un-du Original Sticker, Tape, and Label Remover uses an acid-free and photo safe patented petroleum-based formula that easily removes self-sticking and pressure sensitive adhesives. It is very volatile and leaves no greasy residue. There is also an attachable scraper provided for easier and faster removal of adhesives. There is also a newer formulation for Un-du, which is VOC Compliant, which is less volatile than the original one.
Un-du is not only effective for removal of adhesives. It is also useful for cleaning up greasy messes like machine oils, and lubricants from tools and metal surfaces. It dissolves oil and it doesn’t leave sticky residues once it evaporates.
Orange-Sol De-Solv-it! Citrus Solution Spray
De-Solv-it! removes virtually anything icky, sticky, gooey, waxy, and oily from virtually any surface there is. It effectively removes tree saps, petroleum jelly, meat slime, stickers, decals, tapes, asphalt, tar, crayon, candle wax, soap buildup, show polish, make-up, auto oils, kitchen and food oils, food and pet odors, and paint stains from surfaces like carpet, concrete, counters, fabric, hard surfaces, paint, steel, upholstery, wood, and even from skin and hair. It cannot be used on acrylic and some plastics, uncoated wallpaper, butyl, suede, leather, silk, elastic items, and khaki-colored fabrics. Best of all, it is completely 100% organic, non-toxic, and biodegradable.
With this adhesive remover, you only need to let the solution sit 20-30 minutes, wipe off, then rinse. For use on skin and hair, make sure to wash up with soap and water after use. If you need to use it on a carpet or upholstery, do not apply product directly on stain. Apply to clean cloth and dab on affected area until removed. Once done, blot dry with clean cloth.
What to look for
With the vast array of adhesive removers out there, it can get quite confusing trying to pick the right one that you need. Continue reading know how to avoid getting the wrong one. You should know the following before attempting to use and adhesive remover:
- Type of adhesive used – In order to know remover to buy, you need to know the type of adhesive that was used on the material. There is no all-in-one adhesive remover out there. Different removers work on different adhesives.
- Type of material bonded – Read the labels and know if the adhesive can be used on the material or surface you want to put it on. Buying the wrong remover can ruin the material. There are some adhesive removers that can discolor the surface while some can totally break it.
- Type of adhesive remover needed – As written earlier, specific adhesive removers work on specific adhesives. Be informed first before buying and using anything.
- Precautions – Most adhesive removers have toxic formulations and can be hazardous when used improperly. Most are also flammable. Ensure safety before doing anything. Read the instructions and follow its safety guidelines.
- Aftercare – The instructions also detail how to properly dispose of these chemicals. Since most of these are toxic, it is imperative that we should be responsible for its disposal.
Adhesive removers are not usually things that we use in our daily tasks, but when there is a need for one, it is best to have it ready on hand. However, since these are usually toxic chemicals, we need to make sure that it is stored properly and that we use it as per its instructions to prevent accidents and injury.