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You come home and your preschooler shows off her homework: glued-on shapes on paper. She smiles widely as she presents her artwork; you smile too. But your smile gradually turns upside down the moment you see the horrific state of your oak table. It’s now covered with glue, glitters, and paper! You can easily remove the paper, sweep up the glitter, but how on earth do you remove sticky gluey residue off wood?
Removing residue off the wood
There are some factors that will affect the way you remove sticky residue off the wood. For instance, how old the sticky residue is (if it was just newly made or it was years ago), the type of wood, the type of glue and any processing used on wood.
Before anything else…
If you are working on residue stains or glue stains that you are unsure about the origin or what type of glue it was from, it’s best to call a professional. You might risk damaging the surface of your table if you try different techniques.
If you know the type of glue that caused the damage, contact the glue manufacturer for information on how to remove the material. If you have the glue container look for the print on glue removal tips or check out the manufacturer’s website for glue removal techniques.
Before trying anything on your furniture, test this technique in a small, inconspicuous area of the wood that you are treating. A lot of wood furniture and flooring comes with a surface finish like lacquer or polyurethane, therefore, removing the glue from the finish is your concern rather than glue from wood. Always be careful so that you won’t risk damaging the surface of your wooden furniture, wall or floor.
Things you will need
- Orange-based wood cleaner
- Petroleum jelly
- Clean cloth
Use an orange-based cleaner
An orange-based cleaner will be able to remove sticky residue from glue as well as food stains, sticker stains and more. It will also protect the wood as well. This will work especially well on small adhesive stains. Spray on the affected surface and let the orange-based cleaner stand for about 15 minutes. You can also use an actual orange peel by placing it over the glue and rubbing it on the surface of the table. Rub the peel onto the stain; let it sit for 10–15 minutes but make sure to check the stain and repeat if necessary. When you are satisfied, wipe the area with a clean, dry cloth.
WD-40 is a fantastic cleaner. It can dissolve stains, marks, and scratches. It will work well with sticky residue in no time. WD-40 and similar penetrating lubricants are oil-based and can stain fabrics and other surfaces, therefore, you can safely remove the lubricant when the sticky glue has been completely removed from wood.
Apply WD-40 to a clean, dry rag and rub the stain in small circles to loosen and remove the residue. Repeat if you are not satisfied with the results. When the marks are gone, wipe the area with a clean dry cloth.
Use rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is an effective home remedy for a variety of stains and marks. It can also be used to deal with stubborn sticky residue on wood.
Soak a cotton ball or cotton swab with alcohol. Rub the stain until the adhesive is gone. Do not rub too vigorously because you will risk damaging the outer surface of the wood. Wipe the stained area with a damp cloth and a small amount of dish soap after treating it with alcohol. Repeat if you think that there is still sticky residue left on the wood.
Use petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly can loosen dirt and residue so you can easily wipe it away with a clean wet cloth. Petroleum jelly is, oil-based so be sure to keep it away from fabrics to avoid any stains. For a blob of glue on a finished surface, place petroleum jelly over the spot. Leave it the petroleum jelly for several hours or overnight. This will loosen up the adhesive so you can easily remove it. Rub the petroleum jelly with a clean cloth.
Sticky residue on wood is another challenging material that can either be easy or difficult to remove. The key is to be careful because most of the time, you are dealing with the residue on the wood stain and not residue on wood. Experiment and you will find the ideal technique that will work for your needs.