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How to Remove Rubber Cement Stains

Ever wondered how to get rid of those stubborn rubber cement stains? It's a lot simpler than you may think. This Buzzle article will help you remove stains left by rubber cement on carpets, walls, leather surfaces, and also keep your hands cement-free.
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Tips to remove rubber cement stains
WARNING
Remember that rubber cement should never be used on any original artwork, as it can cause irreversible damage to the item after a certain period of time.
Rubber cement is a solvent-based adhesive commonly used for art and craft projects. When this adhesive is applied to an object, the solvent evaporates and the rubber cement hardens. Simply put, this is how it works.

One benefit of rubber cement is that it can be used to stick objects with smooth surfaces. Another is that, when it is applied to paper, it does not cause crumpling of the paper, since it does not get absorbed. Also, it finds good application in times where excess adhesive may need to be removed without causing any damage.

Let's have a look at the easiest ways in which stains left by rubber cement can be removed from different kinds of surfaces.

Rubber Cement Stain Removal

Cleaning a Stained Carpet

Carpet Cleaning

You Will Need
  • Blunt knife
  • Cloth or paper towels
  • Non-bleach detergent or dish-washing soap
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle
Steps
  1. Scrape the carpet gently using a blunt knife or a spoon's scoop edge and remove as much rubber cement as can be removed easily. Do not scrape hard as this may damage fibers and change the texture of the carpet. You may use a dry paper towel to blot out some more rubber stain particles.
  2. Vacuum the stain to remove any loose, dry cement particles.
  3. Soak a paper towel or cotton swab in rubbing alcohol or dry clean solvent and gently dab the stain in one direction only. Again, take care not to 'rub' the stain. Allow the alcohol or solvent to penetrate the stain for a few minutes and soften the rubber cement. Use small amounts of solvent. It is a good idea to first test the solvent before using it, thus preventing any color loss or carpet backing damage.
  4. Spray non-bleach detergent solution OR a mixture of 1 tablespoon detergent, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 2 cups warm water OR 1 teaspoon detergent in 1 cup of lukewarm water, on the stain. You can also dab the above solutions using a sponge instead of spraying it. Keep blotting until the cleaning solution is taken up by the stain. If the spot lightens, keep blotting until it disappears. Blot using a sponge or cloth towel to dry.
  5. After some time, apply cold water using a spray or a sponge to remove all the cleaning solution. Blot again and place a bunch of towels as padding. Place a heavy object on it.
  6. If the stain still persists, repeat the above procedure. Alternatively, spray hydrogen peroxide solution on the stain and allow it to dry. Be careful of sunlight, as it may cause the peroxide solution to darken the carpet. Using a sponge, blot it dry.
  7. Finally, vacuum the carpet to remove any remaining cement particles, and restore the carpet texture.

Cleaning a Stained Wall

Wall Cleaning

You Will Need
  • Plastic scraper
  • Adhesive removal products
  • Dry clean solvent
  • Non-bleach detergent
  • Paper or cloth towels
  • Steam iron (optional)
  • Sander (optional)
Steps
  1. If the rubber cement is still wet, wipe with a paper towel.
  2. Try to rub the rubber cement residue with your finger, to produce heat, which will make the rubber cement curl up into a ball that can be removed easily. This works well for smooth walls.
  3. Carefully scrape the cement using a plastic scraper. Textured walls can be damaged if this is not done properly.
  4. Use adhesive removal tools like Crepe Rubber Cement Pickup, Goof Off, or Goo Gone to remove the remaining cement.
  5. Soak a sponge or cloth towel in dry cleaning solvent and dab for a while to soften the cement. You may want to first test the solvent on another part of the wall.
  6. Soak a towel in a mixture of non-bleach detergent and lukewarm water, and blot the residue on the wall.
  7. If the stain is removed, blot the spot first with a wet sponge, and then with a dry one.
  8. For stubborn residue, it may be a good idea to use a steam iron. Plug in and turn on the iron till it is hot. Then place the anvil close to the stain and allow the steam to come in contact with the residue. All this while, rub the spot in a circular motion until the residue is removed.
  9. Another way to remove tricky rubber cement stains is by sanding the wall. This will make the residue more even and remove irregularities on the stained spot, making it possible to directly paint the affected area.

Cleaning Stained Leather

Leather Cleaning

You Will Need
  • Scraper
  • Adhesive removal products
  • Sponge or paper towels
  • Rubbing alcohol or dry clean solvent
  • Non-bleach detergent or dish-washing soap
  • Sandpaper (optional)
Steps
  1. Gently scrape the spot on the leather surface to remove any wet rubber cement.
  2. Use any of the adhesive removal tools mentioned above to remove the remaining cement.
  3. Blot the stain with a towel dipped in dry clean solvent or rubbing alcohol for a couple of minutes. Always test the solvent or alcohol on another unnoticeable spot for any unwanted results.
  4. Blot with a sponge soaked in a mixture of non-bleach detergent with warm water for some time. Then blot dry.
  5. If the stain is removed, dab with cold water and then blot dry.
  6. For stubborn stains, you can sand the spot gently using a piece of sandpaper. However, this step is best avoided, since you may end up accidentally damaging the leather surface.

Cleaning Your Hands

Hands Cleaning

Steps
  1. It is advisable to wear rubber gloves while using rubber cement, as exposure to the skin is not recommended. However, if you have some cement sticking to your hands, first wash them thoroughly using a soap and warm water, before it dries up.
  2. Using a body scrubber, scrub the spot to remove as much cement as possible under flowing tap water.
  3. Dry your hands and then gently rub the spot with a finger, making the remaining cement come off in peels.
  4. For the remaining residue, dab nail polish remover or paint thinner, using a cotton swab. This will remove every trace of the cement.
  5. Wash your hands again with soap to prevent any adverse reaction of the thinner, and dry your hands.

Now, even though you know how to remove rubber cement stains from all kinds of surfaces, remember, prevention is always better than cure. But in case something has been stained, keep in mind that the sooner a stain is noticed and treated, the more efficiently it can be removed. In case of a stained carpet, never give it for dry cleaning before removing the stain. Once it has been dry cleaned, removing the stains becomes quite a challenge.
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Published: July 18, 2014
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