I tested out a trick for easily removing wood glue with a non-toxic solution on a vintage dresser, using something I already had in the house. Here’s how it turned out!
This summer we added a new dresser to our master bedroom. It’s a gorgeous vintage piece that I fell in love with a year ago, when I spied it in our favorite vintage shop in New Hampshire.
Ryan and I actually purchased it then, intending to put it in Maple’s nursery. But back pain and pregnancy complications meant we couldn’t return to pick it up until this summer. In the mean time we found a cheaper vintage dresser for her room.
The good dresser was perfect for our master bedroom, since I’d had to move all my clothes into the master when I created the nursery.
When one of the glide rails for a drawer broke on my new dresser, I glued it back in place with lots of wood glue. After it dried, I found that I couldn’t close the drawer because I’d glued the rail at an angle.
Removing wood glue seemed scary and nearly impossible without breaking the dresser. The glue forms a really, really strong bond. I searched online for ways to remove it, and was skeptical when I read that white vinegar would soften the glue.
But vinegar sounded better than removing wood glue with a toxic solvent, so I soaked some paper towels in vinegar and smooshed them around the rail, letting the liquid sit for a few hours.
Then I took a spackling scraper and slowly wedged it under the rail, loosening it bit by bit. The vinegar had succeeded in softening the wood glue. I had to add a little more vinegar to reach the middle of the rail where there was a lot of dried glue, but with patience I succeeded in removing the rail without damaging the wood.
*The wood didn’t sustain any lasting damage from all the vinegar soaking into it, but keep in mind that it was unfinished wood inside the dresser. If you’re removing wood glue on the outside (finished) part of furniture, I think vinegar or any solvent would harm the finish.