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What's the best liquid for adhesive removal?

This is a question for the old and wise repair people with lots of experience who tried lots of tools and found the best one. Not for those who try one thing that seems to work and think that’s the best.

Every time I get a MacBook Pro Retina (A1398 or A1502) I sigh because of the tedious task of removing the adhesive. It’s easy to remove the battery, but the left-over adhesive takes 3 rounds of isopropyl + “curing time” then some violent scraping until it comes off.

There must be something that is more effective than Isopropyl for this right?

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Isopropyl alcohol has its place, its just not an effective adhesive remover or even a softener to lift the old battery out.

I use ethanol alcohol with a hypo so I can control the amount of solvent along the edge of the battery to remove it. You don’t want to go too far! A little goes a long way.

To clean the adhesive off I use Goo Gone or Goof Off. You still need to clean the surfaces again to remove the film as leaving any trace will interfere with the fresh batteries adhesive.

Here’s a comparison of the two Goo Gone Vs Goof Off - Buyers Guide

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Interesting products! I'm leaning towards Goo Gone but would need something to clean the oil it leaves behind. By the way, how does ethanol differ from isopropyl in this regard?


Different solvents are more or less reactive to adhesive.

Let me put it is way... Water is often classified as the Universal Solvent in Chemistry but it also has its limitations!

Isopropyl alcohol is classified as a mild solvent and ethanol is much more reactive a solvent to adhesives and can also melt some plastics (which is why you need to be careful with it). Many chemist regard it the true universal solvent! Ethanol - Solvent.

Some solvents can be dangerous from a health standpoint Ethanol is a safe solvent in small quantities. I use reagent quality 95% which is not denatured.

Best to find someone with good chemistry knowledge who you can spend some time with, who can explain this more fully.


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