How to Remove Adhesive From Skin

by Melissa King ; Updated July 18, 2017

Some adhesives can bond anything together -- broken glass, splintered wood or even cracked water pipes. While working with strong adhesives, accidents can happen. You may feel tempted to harshly scrub adhesive off or yank bonded skin apart, but this will only make things worse. Instead, it's smarter to break down the adhesive first.

Soak the affected area in a bowl of warm, soapy water for about five minutes. This helps loosen the adhesive for easier removal.

Apply a generous amount of olive oil to the adhesive. Wait a few minutes for the oil to soak in and break down the adhesive. When the adhesive loosens, peel it off, starting from the edges. If you're treating bonded skin -- fingers or hands or the like -- use a rotational movement to gently loosen the adhesive without causing injury.

If any adhesive remains, moisten a cotton ball or an old toothbrush with acetone nail-polish remover. Dab the adhesive with the polish remover, then repeat step 2. Do not use nail-polish remover on skin close to your eyes, mouth or nose.

Use the edge of a spatula, credit card or similar object to scrape off any remaining adhesive.

Wash the affected area well with soap and water. Apply a layer of aloe gel. This helps repair the dryness caused by the adhesive and acetone.


  • If you're in no hurry to remove the adhesive and it's not causing any irritation, just wait for it to peel off on its own. This usually happens within two days.

Photo Credits

  • Michael Price/Demand Media

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.