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Remove Mod Podge with These Guaranteed Methods!

Whether you’re refinishing a furniture piece or cleaning up a spill, learn how to remove Mod Podge from surfaces including wood, fabric, and more!

how to remove mod podge

It’s happened to the best of us. One minute you’re living your best life in your craft room, and the next minute you have Mod Podge on your favorite pair of yoga pants. Oopsie. If it dries, Mod Podge is not easy to remove.

That’s not the only reason you might want to remove Mod Podge, though. Maybe you went to the Goodwill recently and found a lovely furniture piece you want to re-do. The only problem is the thick layer of 70s-style scrapbook paper on top with a substantial helping of Mod Podge.

In both of these scenarios, you need to remove Mod Podge.

No matter what the situation, I’m here to help! I want to go through the various ways to remove Mod Podge below; they are organized by problem area.

How to Remove Mod Podge

Scroll down to the appropriate surface below to learn how to remove Mod Podge from it. I find that all Mod Podge formulas remove the same way; I would use the methods below regardless of whether I used Gloss or Dishwasher Safe.

DIY glass plates made with Mod Podge

How to Remove Mod Podge From Glass or Ceramic

If you catch yourself with a Mod Podge spill on glass or ceramic when it’s still wet, you can simply wipe it off with a wet rag. Rinse out the rag to make sure it doesn’t dry, causing you further problems!

To be honest, I just use my finger to remove a little Mod Podge and/or acrylic paint from any ultra smooth surface (like glass or ceramic) while it’s still wet. Then I just rinse my finger off in the sink. No big deal.

If the Mod Podge happens to be dry, you can remove it from glass with a razor blade or scraper. If you find it’s difficult to remove, spritz with some water and let it get a little soggy.

If there’s paper involved, you’ll definitely want to spritz with some water and remove as much of the paper as you can. You might need to add more water to re-activate the Mod Podge and loosen it up. Warmer water is better.

Once you remove the Mod Podge, you can spray the glass as normal to clean (with a glass cleaner). Mod Podge won’t remove the finish/coating from glass.

How to remove mod podge from wood

How to Remove Mod Podge From Wood

Mod Podge bonds pretty solidly to wood, but there are ways to remove it, if you really try. If the surface of the wood is painted, you have to know that there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to lose the paint job. You might have to sand the surface and start over. But that’s better than throwing a surface in the garbage!

Start by removing as much of the paper and fabric off of the surface as possible. If you can’t remove anything, that’s fine too. Move onto the next step.

Use a spray bottle to apply warm water to the Mod Podged area, and then put a damp washcloth over the top. The washcloth should be made pretty damp with warm water. Leave for several minutes – about 30 to 60.

Pick the washcloth off of the surface and remove as much paper or material as you can. If only a portion of the paper comes off, repeat the water process again. You should be able to scrape off the rest of the Mod Podge.

IF that doesn’t work – maybe it’s a piece of furniture with several layers – you can use wallpaper paste remover or paint stripper. In that case, you are definitely going to lose the paint or stain on the surface. That’s really your only option in some cases; Mod Podge is pretty strong!

How to remove mod podge from canvas

From Canvas

I’m almost embarrassed to say how many times I’ve removed Mod Podge from canvas. It’s all due to slip ups, though you might want to use this method just to change things up.

All you need to do is heat up some water as hot as you can get it, and use a sponge to apply it to the fabric or paper on the canvas. Leave it to sit for several minutes as it reactivates the Mod Podge.

Peel off as much of the fabric or paper as you can, and then apply more water as needed. You want the Mod Podge to be somewhat milky in color, then you can scrape it away.

If you can’t remove all of the adhesive, you can lightly sand it down – just be careful not to sand through canvas. You can get it pretty close to perfect! After that you can paint the canvas or decoupage over the area again

Decoupage your bathroom wall with pattern pieces

From a Wall

Removing Mod Podge from a wall is going to be very similar to removing wallpaper, according to many of my readers. The recommendation is to use wallpaper remover spray along with a scraper.

It’s going to take a bit of work to remove the dried Mod Podge, and you might have to do some patching/painting/sanding. But it can be done. It’s something I always advise readers on when they ask me about Mod Podging a wall. You just have to be okay with the work if you ever have to remove it.

How to remove mod podge from fabric

From Fabric

There are two scenarios in which you need to remove Mod Podge from fabric: when it’s wet and then after it’s dry. The #1 thing to remember is if you find Mod Podge on your clothes, don’t throw them in the dryer.

If you missed a spot and threw your clothes into the dryer, I’ll share with you how to remove Mod Podge anyway . . . but really, try to avoid the dryer with any Mod Podge spills.

When Wet

Sometimes you drop Mod Podge on your clothing and catch it right away, when it’s still wet. For those instances, I keep a gentle Brush Cleaner on hand.

I remove the excess Mod Podge from the fabric right away, and then add water and a little brush cleaner to the area. Then I scrub. I leave the area wet until I can wash it.

Wash normally – regular cycle, regular detergent. Check to make sure the area is Mod Podge free before throwing the item in the dryer.

In lieu of brush cleaner, which I know not a lot of people have, you can use dishwashing liquid or mild hand soap. This especially comes in handy when you aren’t at home and you can’t push your clothes in the wash right away!

Soaking a piece of fabric stained with Mod Podge in hot water

When Dry

If the Mod Podged dried on the fabric, you’ve got a few options. They’re all going to involve a little elbow grease. Here are the three things I’d try.

First, you can try soaking the fabric/clothing in really hot water. The hottest water possible. Let the Mod Podge soften, and then scrape as much off as you can with a butter knife. Add a little liquid or dish soap and scrub with a brush to remove as much as possible.

Option two involves petroleum jelly, also known as Vaseline. To use this method, scrape off any excess Mod Podge that you can. Work the Vaseline into the stain, and then remove that with dishwashing liquid. Use hot water to rinse, and repeat if necessary.

Your third course of action is to use hand sanitizer (which actually works on paint, too!). The ethanol in the hand sanitizer is a solvent, and dissolves the Mod Podge. You’re going to have to scrub a bit, but it should help!

Paintbrush loaded with Mod Podge

From Dried Paint Brushes

The preference is to keep your paint brushes in water, especially if you can’t wash them right away. But we’ve all slipped up and left our brushes out a little too long, right? Some of us may have even let them dry on the craft table accidentally :0

In those cases, soak the brushes in hot water and soap for several minutes to loosen the Podge. Remove as much as you can and try again.

If it’s not working, try paint thinner. And if that doesn’t work, you might have to trash your brush :/

I’m not as inclined to work too hard to remove Mod Podge from foam brushes (if it’s dried), to be honest. It’s hard to do it, even with soaking. But I mostly use soft-bristled brushes, since they work better for me with Mod Podge and I don’t like throwing things away.

DIY Fabric Covered Sneakers

From Shoes

Removing Mod Podging from shoes is a tricky one – and in no way guaranteed to work. Ripping fabric from shoes might damage or tear the shoes in some way. If you choose to Mod Podge shoes, you may also be choosing to alter them permanently.

If you want to give it a try, my favorite method for removing Mod Podge from shoes is to use steam. If you have a steamer, or an easy way to steam clothing, that’s going to help. It will help loosen the Mod Podge so you can separate paper or fabric from fabric.

Another option, and less preferred, is to soak the shoes in warm water. This will loosen the Mod Podge, enabling either paper or fabric to be removed (if it’s possible).


What are your best tips for removing Mod Podge? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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This decoupage soap is easy to make for a gift idea or wedding favor. The Mod Podge keeps the design from washing off when you suds up!
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Decoupage Soap Craft with Mod Podge

Kathy Casey

Saturday 1st of February 2020

Help please. I have been transferring photos onto wood boards with no problems until now, this time 2 of my photos on my 3rd board have purple splotches on the faces.what did I do wrong please? I have removed one of the pics and i know I will have to the 2nd one. but before i redo, i want to know what i did wrong.

Amy

Saturday 1st of February 2020

Hi Kathy! Sending you an email.

"CC"

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

I used the wrong mod podge on a puzzle, is there any way to get it off?

Amy

Saturday 1st of February 2020

Hi CC! Unfortunately there is not. If the finish is an issue, you can just paint the new Mod Podge over the top. For example, you can paint Gloss Mod Podge over Matte. You can also use a spray to change the finish as well.

GW Smith

Friday 12th of July 2019

How to remove or transform Mod Podge which I shook and now has tiny bubbles and is mostly milky white? I want it clear! I can't use a scraper or acetone or any kind of chemical remover or scraping because I don't want to damage the resin surface underneath. I've tried alcohol but nothing happens. I wish they would say on the bottle "Do not shake".

Amy

Friday 12th of July 2019

You can put water on it and let it soak - it shouldn't affect the resin if it's real resin. Then you should be able to pick it off. Even shaking Mod Podge doesn't make it dry milky white. I shake my bottles all the time. Was water added? It sounds like it may have reacted with the resin somehow?

Michelle

Monday 17th of June 2019

I have a question. I used Modge Podge photo transfer medium to transfer photos onto a pillowcase (first-time here and put a layer over the pictureafter applying and placing face down. The pictures transferred ..but there's mod podgeall over. but it got in between the pictures on the pillowcase all over I let it drive the 24 hours and it's everywhere should I toss it and start over or is there a way to get it off

Amy

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

Hi Michelle! It's nearly impossible to get off when it's dry. I have this disclaimer in another post "Make sure to keep a damp rag nearby to clean up any oozy extra transfer medium (like you see on the bottom edge of the plywood in the picture) as when it dries it dries pretty hard and it tough to get rid of." I'd start over to be honest!

FLO SHEPHERD

Friday 31st of May 2019

Dear Amy, As a fairly new crafter, I have found your presentations to be extremely helpful. I started out with doing CREATIVE GLASS BLOCKS, which I have worked into a small business for myself called Creative Designs by Flo. I still have trouble at times with using mod podge on the blocks, with pictures, napkins etc. But now I am trying to expand my business to doing designs or mod podging on wood for coasters, wall hangings etc. Much like the wooden flat frames etc. we see today in the stores. Please, any advice in how to stain the wood not with actual stains but with paints, I guess by doing a WASH is what I really mean, and then putting lettering and pictures on it would be greatly appreciated. So what I'm really asking is could you include in your presentations some of these ideas I would greatly appreciate it. Thank You Flo

Amy

Saturday 1st of June 2019

Hi Flo! Your business sounds really fun! I think you would really enjoy our Facebook group - Getting Crafty with Mod Podge. If you search on Facebook, you'll find the group and then be able to join and ask all sorts of questions. I need to do an article about washing wood. Speaking of that, here's a product that's really easy to use that I think will meet your needs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNBzjGtcQR8

Stay tuned for more!