An adhesive remover is a chemical that can break the chemical bonds of adhesives. There is a wide variety of adhesive removers because there are many different types of adhesives. Each adhesive on the market has a slightly different formula/chemical structure. Therefore, an adhesive remover must be specifically formulated to break down each adhesive. Adhesive removers can either be toxic or nontoxic and can range in texture depending on the type of adhesive it was made to remove.
Toxic Adhesive Removers
Solvent-based adhesive removers are the most toxic but are also the most potent. They are often used for industrial purposes and can be found in print shops, delivery agencies, the automotive industry, as well as in virtually every other industry that works with adhesives. However, solvent-based adhesive removers are often sold commercially as well and homeowners worldwide use them to remove heavy duty adhesives and other materials that are difficult to remove.
Another dangerous adhesive remover is dry ice. While dry ice can easily break the bonds of virtually any chemical adhesive, it is very toxic to humans and animals. Dry ice is pure, solidified, carbon dioxide and is often about 78 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit). Dry ice can cause hypothermia, frostbite, and/or other conditions directly related to extremely cold temperatures. Dry ice can also be fatal if swallowed or inhaled. Users should be very careful when using dry ice and thick gloves should be worn every time it is used. All windows and doors should be opened in order to provide a well ventilated environment while dry ice is being used. Users who decide to use dry ice can remove virtually any adhesive by applying the dry ice directly to the object. The object should detach itself from the adhesive within several seconds.
Nontoxic Adhesive Removers
Citrus based adhesive removers are among the most environmentally friendly adhesive removers. They are considered nontoxic and are perfectly safe for skin contact, unless the user is allergic to citrus. Citrus based adhesive removers often consist of citrus, propane, chloride, fluoride, sulfur, and halogen. They are available in liquid spray and paste form and can dissolve moderate adhesive stains.
Soy based adhesive removers are the single most environmentally friendly adhesive remover available. They simply consist of soy oil and water and are used to soften adhesive residue. Once the soy based adhesive remover is applied to the adhesive, it should be left to sit until it has softened significantly and then scraped off.
Adhesive removers’ compositions, textures, and capabilities vary dramatically. Users should always take every adhesive remover seriously. All warning labels and directions should be read thoroughly and followed exactly. As a general safety precaution, gloves should always be worn when dealing with any industrial solution, and adhesive removal should be conducted in a well ventilated area to prevent breathing problems. Ingredients should also be checked to ensure that the user is not allergic to any substance in the adhesive remover.