How to Remove Patches Easily & Effectively from Clothing & Other Fabrics

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    Patch removal is a method crucial for allowing individuals to replace or repair damaged areas efficiently, keeping their item of clothing looking its best.

    Whether you’re dealing with adhesive or any other types of patch, learning the proper ways to remove them is essential to achieve clean and professional results, allowing you to remain on top of your game.

    Key Takeaways

    Patch removal process

    To remove a patch will depend on three factors. The type, how it was attached to the fabric (iron on or sewed on etc) & the material the fabric is made from.

    What to do with residue after removal?

    To clear any glue residue left behind, apply removal solvent (with a paper towel) on the back to dissolve the residue onto the paper towel. Use a brush to scrub any remaining residue until it’s completely removed.

    Adhesive removal solutions

    Not all fabrics react well to adhesive removals. If you happen to have a iron on patch fixed to polyester, nylon or maybe even silk, then consider a heat source over chemicals for removal!

    You can remove iron on patches without damaging the material by using adhesive removal solutions and scissors accompanied by tweezers to snip away at the thread for sew on patches.

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      Types of Patches Used on Apparel

      Before diving into the removal process, it’s essential to know there are various types of patches commonly encountered. These include but not limited to:

      • Embroidered
      • Iron on
      • sew on
      • Velcro
      • Woven
      • Leather
      • Rubber
      • 3D PVC

      Although the types of patches may vary, the manner in which they are fixed to fabric is either by adhesive or sewn on, or a combination of both!

      Supplies Needed to Remove Patches

      Before you undertake the task of removing a patch from clothing, gathering the right tools in place is vital to ensure a successful removal process without consequential damage. Depending on the patch type, you may require the following items:

      • adhesive remover
      • heat source (iron / hair dryer)
      • acetone
      • vinegar
      • scissors
      • tweezers
      • cleaning supplies
      • lint roller
      • putty knife

      Before the Removal Process

      It’s essential to proceed with caution to avoid damaging the material, because some clothing are sensitive to certain removal solutions (e.g. polyester, nylon, silk).

      The method of removal will depend on the type of patch and how it was attached (i.e iron on or sewn on):

      For Adhesive Patches (iron one): If it’s an iron on patch, use a heat source (hair dryer on low heat) to loosen the glue and gently lift the patch off. Carefully peel off the patch from one corner, applying even pressure to avoid damaging the clothing material. If glue residue remains, apply adhesive remover to a cloth and gently rub the area to loosen and clean the residue.

      For sewn-on patches: Use a seam ripper or small scissors to carefully cut the stitches that attach the patch to the clothing. If needed, use tweezers to remove any remaining threads and lift the patch slowly. If the patch has also been stuck down with glue, then repeat the section above on Adhesive Patches by either using a heat source and/or applying glue remover.

      Let’s now look at the different removal methods:

      Try Nail Polish Remover (with acetone solution)

      You’ll have this product at home. Most ladies will have nail polish remover that contains acetone solution.

      This solution is quite potent and eats through glue, so you do not want to get it in your eyes.

      Before starting, it is important to apply a small amount of acetone on a non visible area of the fabric to make sure it doesn’t stain or damage it.

      • Dab nail polish remover with a cotton ball around the edges of the iron on patch, to eat at the glue.
      • Failing this, use a putty knife to force the edge up to get more access to the glue.
      • Be patient and gently lift the patch as you work the acetone around it.
      • Keep soaking the cotton ball with the solution when needed.
      • Glue residue will remain on fabric after removal. Dab over residue & scrape off.
      • For good measure soak the clothing in water to dilute the acetone.

      The Heat Source Method

      Heat reactivates the glue in its liquid state. In essence heat will loosen the glue making it easier to peel off the patch.

      Two sources of heat that you’ll find at home is an iron and hair dryer. Both methods can work well, but if one doesn’t, then try the other.

      Depending on which method you choose, make sure you apply the heat source to the underside of the patch. The fabric material is thinner so the heat will reach the glue easier and start loosening it.

      The best thing to do is apply the lowest heat setting and test to see if the patch is loosening off. If not, slowly build up the heat until you get the desired results.

      During this process, make sure you keep an eye on the fabric as the last thing you want to do is scorch the fabric.

      The Good Old Vinegar Approach

      Before rushing ahead of yourself, it is white vinegar that you should be considering. Dark vinegar will stain your clothes.

      Although the acid in vinegar is good at loosening glue, do not expect the results to be instantaneous when using such organic solutions.

      • Start off with filling a bucket with equal parts of white vinegar and water.
      • Place your item with the patch in the bucket and let it soak for 24 hours.
      • Check if the iron on patch lifts off. If not, you can add more vinegar in the solution.
      • Once the patch is off, use nail polish remover or Goof Off to remove the residue.

      Warm Bath Soak Technique

      Warm water activates glue and softens it. The approach is not only chemical free but is also environmentally friendly.

      You can use a bucket or your sink and fill it up with warm water. The warmer the better, but again depending on how delicate your fabric is, you might not want to get it too close to boiling.

      A good ball park water temperature will be around 150°F (65°C).

      • Place the item with the patch in the water and let it soak.
      • Use a heavy item to keep the iron on patch submerged in the water.
      • Once the water cools, remove it and refill with warm water again.
      • Let it soak once again until the water cools down once more.
      • Try to slowly peel off the patch.
      • Failing this, try soaking the patch in warm a third time.
      • Remove the left over residue.

      Watch this video: Remove Badge & Residue [04:12 secs]

      Removal Safety Tips

      • When using a heat source, like a hair dryer, avoid overheating the fabric to prevent scorching or damage.
      • Work slowly and carefully lift the patch to avoid damaging the fabric.
      • Always test adhesive remover or solvents on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric to check for any adverse reactions.
      • Use sharp tools, such as seam rippers or scissors, with care to prevent injury.


      In conclusion, if you want to remove patches from clothing, the best way to do it is to use a seam ripper. You can also use a razor blade or a pair of scissors, but a seam ripper is a safest and most effective tool for the job.

      Always be careful when using sharp tools, and take your time so you don’t damage the clothing item.

      So there you have it! Now you know how to remove pilling and lint from clothes without damaging the fabric.

      You can also use these methods to clean your furniture and upholstery. If you found this guide helpful, please share it with your friends and family.

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