How to Remove Mod Podge

***Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a commission.*** The full title of this post should be… “How to Remove Mod Podge from the Projects You Messed Up Because You Didn’t Read a Tutorial about How to Mod Podge before You Started Mod Podging“.  Remember this:

Mirror Fail

and this:




Yes, I have had some Mod Podge woes, but, like the true Taurus I am, I’m not going to give up.  My bull headedness will not allow it.  I wanted to try fixing the mirror first because it’s a more significant piece of decor than the tray.

As I thought about this project, I stalled on working on it again because I had recurring flashbacks of removing wallpaper every time I thought about scraping off the podged on paper.  I have quite a bit of experience with removing wallpaper.  If you don’t believe me, check out my House Tour before and after pictures.  8 rooms of wallpaper, people. It’s not something I’m interested in reliving.

By the way, in the interest of saving some other wallpaper remover some time and energy, the best method I found was water, time and a scraper.  Spray down the walls with water, a pretty good soaking.  Let it sink in.  This part is key.  Impatience is not your friend here.  When the water has had a chance to penetrate the paper and glue, go to work with the scraper.  As much as I hated taking down wallpaper, there are few things in life that are more satisfying than scraping off a huge chunk of wallpaper.

Back to the Mod Podge removal.  I ran a little kitchen experiment to see what might be the best way to remove the paper and glue.

 Here are the contenders:

Plain Water

Vinegar and Water

Glass Cleaner

Water and Dish Detergent

Nail Polish Remover

The plain water did an ok job.  It definitely loosened up the glue and paper and I could peel pieces off:

Water Mod Podge RemovalNothing to write home about, but doable if it’s all you have on hand to do the job.

Next I tried a vinegar and water mixture.  This had a slightly better result with larger pieces of paper coming off in one tug.

Vinegar Mod Podge Removal

The next player in my mod podge game was a can of window glass cleaner I picked up on a whim at Home Depot. It’s not a particularly good window glass cleaner, so I didn’t mind using a fair amount of it in this experiment.  I got still bigger chunks of paper to come off with the glass cleaner and now I was starting to have fun.

Glass Cleaner Mod Podge Removal

On to the Dish Soap and Water.  This was probably about equal to the Glass Cleaner.  Definitely somewhat satisfying to pull nice long pieces of paper off in one swoop.  This did seem to leave behind more of the Mod Podge residue than either the vinegar or the glass cleaner, however.

Dish Soap Mod Podge Removal


The clear winner when it comes to sheer size of pieces of paper and gunk removed was the nail polish remover.  I was nearly giddy as I ripped off large, long chunks of paper.  It took a good bit of the residue up as well.  The only downfall to this one is the stinky nail polish remover smell.  I should also note that I was not working on a wood surface.  I would not recommend this for anything that has wood under whatever you Mod Podged.

Nail Polish Remover Mod Podge Removal


My overall choice, however, would be the dish soap and water combo. 1. It is safe on almost any material.  2. It doesn’t smell yucky 2. It’s something you can find in pretty much every sink area in North America.

Once I had removed those large pieces, I went in with an exacto scraper and picked off pieces of paper that were left behind.  I then went back and wiped it down a few times with the glass cleaner.  The glass cleaner is a foam consistency and stuck to the sides of the frame while I cleaned.

I am now left with a nearly back to normal, giant 1980’s frame.  Yes, my plan is to try the whole thing again, this time with INSTRUCTIONS and different paper.  Can’t wait to share the after, good or bad!

How to Remove Mod Podge When Your Project is a Fail



23 Thoughts on “How to Remove Mod Podge

  1. Actually, I want to remove only the modge podge, not the paper. I think I’ll try using a q tip and some nail polish remover since the area is rather narrow. Thanks for the tips!!

  2. do you know how to remove modge podge and glitter because it is all over my computer?

    • Undercoverdiyer on February 24, 2016 at 10:24 am said:

      Oh dear Nicola! I’ve never had to remove it from a computer so I’m not sure what would work for that. Maybe just leave it and enjoy the glitter?

  3. But how would you remove mod podge from a canvas? I have a little area I wanted to try mod podging sand onto but I don’t like it now and can’t get the crap off lol.

    • Undercoverdiyer on May 21, 2016 at 3:56 pm said:

      Hi Amy, That I’m not sure of… I do think anything I tried would probably leave a stain on the canvas… Let me know how it turns out and I’d love to see what you’re working on!

  4. mandy cat on May 27, 2016 at 6:42 pm said:

    Three times over the last 15 years, I’ve shaken my fist at Heaven and sworn “As God is my witness, I will never strip wallpaper again.” But if this turns out not to be true (again) I will use the same technique I discovered last time: using my handheld Shark steamer. It doesn’t work as well as the wallpaper steamers you can rent. But it can be hefted by an old lady climbing around where she really has no business being, like standing on a bathroom countertop. I was wondering if that steamer would be useful in removing discourage from less porus surfaces like a mirror or wood.

    • Undercoverdiyer on May 31, 2016 at 6:25 pm said:

      Hi Mandy! I feel you on the woes of taking down wallpaper. Every wall of my house (except for the one with panelling!) was covered with wallpaper and I removed all of it. Not a fun job. We even had wallpaper on the ceiling of one of our bathrooms. I think that the steamer might be a bit of overkill for removing mod podge. It really does come off fairly easily with any of the three solutions in my post. Happy un-Mod Podging!

      • Shawnell on August 14, 2016 at 6:21 am said:

        In a tid bit late on this post. But thank you for the advice. I love to mod lodge, but man when you mess up it’s almost tragic. On the other hand since you have such great experience with wallpaper, what is the best way to remove it? I have all wallpaper and panaling in my house. I HATE IT !! Thanks, and any helpful tips would be much appreciated

        • Undercoverdiyer on August 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm said:

          Oh, I’m so glad you asked! You need three things to remove wallpaper. Water, a paint scraper and PATIENCE! I’m not exaggerating when I say I took done an entire house of wallpapered walls (and one ceiling!). I tried steaming, I tried fabric softener, I tried the chemicals you can buy at the hardware store. They all worked, but by the time I finished the house, I realized that all you REALLY need to do is get the wallpaper good and wet (with just water alone, or any other concoction you prefer as long as it involves water) and then wait. Let the water do it’s thing and break down the glue on the back of the wallpaper. If you go to scrape and it’s not giving easily, wet it some more and wait some more. Water is the most destructive force on the planet as long as you give it enough time to work it’s magic. The best way to wet the wall, by the way, is to use one of those five gallon sprayers you can get at the hardware store. Don’t mess around with a small spray bottle. You’ll go bonkers if you have a large area to remove. Do be careful with the sprayer around outlets. You’ll want to cover them up so that you don’t get any water near the electricity. As for the paneling, I do have one room with it and I painted over it and I even (gasp!) wallpapered over one wall of panelling and several years later, both treatments have held up great. Check out my House Tour for before and after pictures. Happy wallpaper removing!!

  5. Virginia Ricklic on July 28, 2016 at 8:08 am said:

    I have also removed tons of wallpaper before but have found an easier way to dissolve the glue and remove it. Mix some fabric softener with hot water and spray on. Let it sit a little while to work into the glue. It really works good and smells good too. Especially the Downey fabric softener. Also many paint and hardware stores sell wallpaper remover I think you also mix with water and spray on but I can’t remember the name of it. I wonder if it would work on removing the modpodge too? Growing up in a house with a coal furnace we repapered every spring. Later my sister had the house after we grew up and we used this method to scrape off the many years of paper. Good luck and thanks for your tips on the modpodge.

    • Undercoverdiyer on August 15, 2016 at 9:25 pm said:

      Hi Virginia! I did use fabric softener on some of the walls of the house. I remember liking that it was such a pleasant scent to work with! I think it would probably work very nicely on mod podge as well. I find fabric softener to be pricey for wallpaper removal, but in small doses on a mod podge project, it would probably be great!

  6. Linda W on August 1, 2016 at 12:42 pm said:

    Thank you for this post. Instead of redoing a 10×12 plaque, I was able to remove the two letters that shifted while I was decoupage and didn’t notice until I went to put on a second coat. Easy removal with dish soap and water

  7. I mod podged some lace on top of a table . It left some white spots on the lace, how can I get them off.

    • Undercoverdiyer on September 21, 2016 at 9:36 pm said:

      Hi Debra! Hmm, that’s a good question. I’m not sure how well the lace would hold up to any of the methods I tried. Maybe try calling Mod Podge? Let me know if you get a good answer!

  8. Meylin Alvarez on January 5, 2017 at 9:16 pm said:

    I reeently decided to add glitter to the bottoms of some old heels but it did not turn out too well. Is there anything I can do to remove the midge lodge and glitter easily?

    • Undercoverdiyer on January 11, 2017 at 10:03 pm said:

      Hi Meylin! I would try water and dish soap. Neither should be too harmful to the bottom of the shoe. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out!

  9. So glad for this post. I collected seashells from all over the world and then I modpodged them to a big mirror. They looked good for a while but is now out of style, but I don’t want to give up my shells. Some of them are really great and hard to come by and I use shells regularly for electroplated jewelry and art projects. So I am going to use your post suggestions to see if I can get the Modge Podge off the shells so I can reuse them. I will let you know how it goes.

  10. Hi, I have been modge-podging pictures onto wood, and every once in a while one of them dries with a big ripple. They lay flat at the beginning, and seem like they’re going to be ok, then sometime during the drying process a ripple comes up. I’d like to find out how to prevent that, but if not, then how to get the picture back off without damaging it. I have tried using a spray adhesive first, then modge-podging, and also using the mod-podge as the “glue”. both methods have sometimes resulted in ripples. thanks!

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