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Removing Contact Cement From Countertops

January 12th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

The best way that we have discovered in regard to, how to get contact glue off of plastic laminate, is by using a flammable grade of lacquer thinner, moderately applied to a white rag. It never fails when custom cabinet makers fabricate kitchens and baths, out of Formica,  somehow there is always a spot that has some glue on it somewhere. The process of removing contact cement from a cabinet or countertop is pretty easy.


There are other solvents available from local supply companies that are designed to be plastic laminate glue solvents. They will not work any better or worse than the solvent that I am suggesting.

Places to purchase lacquer thinner.
Just go to Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes or your nearest Ace Hardware store and purchase the glue remover that we have used for years. Put straight lacquer thinner on a clean white rag and scrub away the adhesive that is stuck on your cabinetry.

  • Wear Saftey goggles

Use Proper Ventilation techniques.
Here’s a heads up though, make sure that there is sufficient ventilation in the area that you are working in. This paint thinner has an overpowering oder that will run you right out of the house, office or where ever it is that you are using the remover.

Can I try a different paint thinner?
If your wondering, “will mineral spirits take off contact cement or, glue” the answer is “no” it will not. Goo gone may cut through it but it will require a sufficient amount of elbow grease to break through.

Don’t take any risks around wood flooring
Be careful around wood floors with the cement remover that you are using on the Formica cabinet or counter. If you even get the slightest drop on the wood floors finish, it could ruin that particular area.

Cleaning it off of gloss laminate
You can use the Lacquer thinner repeatedly without damaging the Formica. If you’re trying to remove contact adhesive from gloss laminate counters or cabinetry, you may have to use several clean rags. Sometimes there is a very light glue film that is visible on gloss plastic laminate when you start cleaning. Just make sure that you use a few applications.

Removing glue from old Formica cabinet doors or countertops
If your dealing with really old cabinetry components that have deposits of contact adhesive on them from many years past, it’s going to take a lot of pressure and patients to get the glue off.

Can I use lacquer thinner on tile floors to remove the adhesive?
It’s OK to clean the actual tile with the solvent but be careful to keep it away from grout that has been sealed. Remember it is a paint thinner and the substance that was used to seal your grout with may have some sort of clear coat paint base that will not withstand the paint thinner.

Should I use gloves?
When you are using the solvent it may affect sensitive hands. If you think you will need gloves make sure to ask your hardware store associate which ones will tolerate the strength of the lacquer thinner.

Never Put The Adhesive remover in a Styrofoam cup or clear plastic disposable cups.
If you were to place the liquid glue remover in a Styrofoam cup it would instantly eat through the foam. Many of the disposable plastic cups are not durable enough to handle the chemical liquid either. It is best to use a jar, or heavy plastic such as Tupperware. A plastic milk container will handle the job with no problem too.

Removing contact glue/cement from plastic laminate is not a hard task to accomplish but, I do hope that you took the time to review this entire article. There are many useful tips here that will help you to not have any type of disaster when you are using the solvent to remove the contact adhesive from kitchen cabinets or counters.

  1. February 1st, 2012 at 09:55 | #1

    Genesis products makes a great adhesive remover designed just for this purpose without damaging countertops or violating state/federal regulations.

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