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How to Clean Water Based Adhesive Spills

How to Clean Water Based Adhesive Spills

Water-based adhesives offer good resistance to heat, chemical and water influences. They can also be more economical than a hot melt adhesives. You can find water based glues in many packaging, laminating, and labeling applications. This family of adhesives share a lot of similarities to traditional hot melt adhesives. The decision to use one or the other usually comes down to bond requirements, equipment type and required production speeds. 

With water-based adhesives comes the risk of accidental spillages, and the damage they can cause to clothing and other substrates. In this article we will let you in on our industry secrets of cleaning up adhesive spills and how to keep your equipment running in tip-top shape.


An Overview of Water Based Adhesives

An adhesive, or glue, is a mixture, either in liquid or semi-liquid form that is used to bond one surface to another. Most adhesives are polymer based, and are made from either natural or synthetic sources. Adhesives are also specially formulated for specific applications, depending on the type of adhesive and the industry you are working in.

Water-based adhesives are supplied as pre-mixed solutions, or are formulated as dry powders, which producers and distributors must then mix with water in order to obtain its adhesive properties. These properties are obtained when water is either lost from the glue line by evaporation or is absorbed by the substrate. Because of this, it is important to use at least one permeable substrate when applying water based adhesives.

We carry the top water based adhesives for product assembly, packaging, labeling, edge banding and more. Shop water based adhesives or contact us for volume pricing and ask about free samples for qualifying applications. 

Our Top Selling Water Based Adhesives

Spills Happen - How Do We Clean Them Up?

Equipment drips, adhesives spill and overall things can get messy! Buildup of water-based labeling adhesives can be a nuisance to your operation. With the right cleaning aids and know-how, you can help ease and reduce the cleaning process.

Protective clothing should be worn when using solvent-based adhesives if the user anticipates any risk of spillage, while surfaces should also be covered in a disposable material such as newspaper or clear plastic.

How to Clean Water Based Adhesives Before They Set

So you have an adhesive spill, here's what to do next. Quick! Before the adhesive hardens use the following steps to remove the adhesive and prevent any damage to the affected substrate. While the adhesive is till in liquid form (and the pH is acid side 4.0-6.0) sprinkle powdered borax onto the adhesive spill. You can use any Borax multi-purpose household cleaner that you would find at the department store. After the Borax is applied the adhesive will peel right off of the floor.

Helpful Tips:

    • Act quickly, you will need to apply the borax to the adhesive spill before the adhesive hardens
    • If a residue remains, use a mixture of hot soapy water to clean the surface after the adhesive spill is removed

How to Clean Water Based Adhesives After They Harden

Dissolve water-based glue with warm, soapy water. Dip a sponge in the water, and then scrub the affected area until the glue breaks down. If the soapy water isn't enough, dip the sponge in rubbing alcohol and continue scrubbing. The alcohol breaks down the adhesive, causing the glue to dissolve quickly. Use a metal scraper to scrape the remaining glue off of the surface. Rinse the surface with warm water the wipe with a towel to make sure that all the glue is gone. 

Helpful Tips: 

    • Try to remove the adhesive before it has hardened
    • If the adhesive spillage is on fabric, try applying the solvent on the other side of the glue spot in order to dissolve it from both sides.
    • Don't use a cloth with loose fibers, as these may get stuck to the glue and end up making the mess worse. 

How to Maintain your Water Based Dispensing Equipment

When you look at your rotary labeling equipment, do you notice a lot of adhesive buildup on the pallets? When water-based labeling adhesives build up on your machinery, it can cause issues. Some of these include improper label pick up, transfer of buildup to your label ending up on your bottles, and gumming up of additional parts that come in contact with pallets.

It is helpful to perform preventative maintenance when dispensing equipment is slow or down. Use a spray bottle to wet pallets and re-moisten adhesive buildup. It is recommended to clean the dispensing equipment at least 1 time per shift to ensure optimal operation. 

Questions? We are here to help!

Do you have questions about Water Based adhesives or a particular application? We are happy to help! At Hotmelt.com, our team of experts can recommend a product for your particular project or application. Send us a message to get started!

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About The Hotmelt.com Team

We are a group of adhesive engineers and equipment experts based in Minneapolis, MN. For over 25 years we’ve been helping helping folks all over the world find the right hot melt solution for the job.

Learn more about us or contact us for help with your application.