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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
From a Wall
It’s going to take a bit of work to remove the 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.
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.
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!
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. Let the Mod Podge soften, and then scrape as much off as you can with a butter knife. Add a little liquid 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!
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.
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!