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How to Clean a Hot Glue Gun?

how to clean a hot glue gun featured


Do you regularly use a hot glue gun? It could be that you are an avid crafter or you just need an adhesive that is easy to use and provides a strong bond. If you are, then you probably know all too well how often a glue gun gets clogged up and unusable. Most of the time, it happens after just a couple of weeks of use.

However, if you know how to clean a hot glue gun, not only will you be saving a lot of money but you can also ensure that your hot glue gun can last a lot longer. You can now stop treating your hot glue guns like they were disposable and start taking better care of them.

Step-by-Step Guide

Using Aluminum Foil

use aluminum foil to clean

This is the most basic way how to clean a hot glue gun inside and out. As you can tell, you will not need any special tools or materials. All the things you need are already in your home.

What to prepare:

  • A piece of aluminum foil – A 5-inch square should be enough.
  • Heat-resistant work gloves
  • Dirty glue gun

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Let the glue gun heat up to operational temperature

Plug in your glue gun and allow it to heat up. This will soften the hardened glue, which makes it easier to remove. Alternatively, you can just clean your hot glue gun as soon as you finish using it. Once the hot glue gun gets hot enough, unplug it.

Step 2 – Ball up the aluminum foil

Wear your heat-resistant gloves. Then grab the piece of aluminum foil and crumple it into a small ball. You do not have to make the aluminum ball tight. It is actually better if you make the foil ball a bit loose.

Step 3 – Use the foil ball to scrub the tip

While the hot glue gun is still quite hot, use the foil ball to scrub off the residual hot glue on the tip of the glue gun. The glue should still be quite soft so the foil ball should be able to pick it up easily. Twist the ball several times to give the glue enough space to stick to.

Step 4 – Clean the body

Once you remove all of the glue on the tip, you can proceed to clean the body of the hot glue gun. At this point, the glue might not be quite as hot, but it should still be soft enough that you can remove it easily from the body of the gun.

If the first foil ball is already full of glue, you can use a new foil ball. If you think the glue is getting harder to remove, plug the hot glue gun again and then wait for a minute or so. Once the glue’s hot enough again, you can proceed to scrub it off.

Unclogging the Tip

unclogging the tip

If you start noticing that the glue is not flowing out as smoothly as it did before or if it is not coming out at all, the tip might be clogged. Here is how to clean a clogged hot glue gun.

What to prepare:

  • A regular pin or needle
  • Heat-resistant work gloves

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Heat the glue gun

Although you can do this with the glue gun cool, it will still be much easier and quicker to unclog when the gun is at operating temperature. Plug the glue gun and leave it to heat up for around 5 minutes and then unplug it.

Step 2 – Stick the pin inside the nozzle

Put on your heat-resistant gloves and then carefully poke the opening of the nozzle with the pin. If the glue inside has warmed up enough, you can easily pull out the clog using the pin. Otherwise, you will need to wiggle the pin inside the nozzle to loosen the clogged glue.

It is even better if you have a rather large sewing needle. Turn the needle around and insert the eye of the needle inside the nozzle. Because this side of the needle is wider, it will be easier to scrape out the glue residue inside the glue gun’s nozzle.

Step 3 – Point the glue gun down

Plug the glue gun back into the power outlet and let it heat back to operating temperature. Prop up the stand of the glue gun and allow the remaining glue inside the nozzle to drip out of the gun. Wipe the tip of the nozzle with an aluminum foil ball to get rid of any residue.

Tips for Keeping Your Hot Glue Gun Clean

tips for keeping your hot glue gun clean

Never tilt your glue gun upward – Whenever you are using your hot glue gun, you should never tilt the nozzle upward. This will cause the molten glue to run back into the glue gun and get inside the glue gun’s plastic casing. This may also cause the glue to get into the heating element, which will break the glue gun entirely.

Always wipe down the glue gun after every use – The glue will only truly become problematic once it dries up and gets stuck on the glue gun. This is why you always need to clean the nozzle and any glue that may have dripped on the body immediately after every use.

This might seem like a chore but doing this will make sure that your hot glue gun will serve you for many more years to come.


If you know how to clean a hot glue gun, not only will you be ensuring that your tool is always in prime working condition but you will also be preventing it from turning into a fire hazard.

Cleaning a hot glue gun may seem like a huge chore but it is not that difficult at all and you do not need any special tools at all. However, since you will be working with heated objects, you should take the necessary precautions to keep yourself from getting burned.

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