No matter what crafty world you belong to, odds are you are going to use some form of glue for your projects. From sewing to woodworking to scrapbooking, each of these crafts uses its own type of glue.
Glue is one of many things that people use in their daily lives without much understanding of the potential dangers it may pose. We began using Elmer’s glue in elementary school and evolved to other types of glue as we learned new skills.
What people often forget is that high-level adhesives such as super glue are made with a variety of chemicals that can potentially be dangerous if not used properly.
So, is glue flammable? Certain types of glue, such as super glue and Gorilla glue, are flammable. Their flammability is high when the glue is wet but reduces significantly after the glue cures. Most water-based and PVA-type glues are not flammable.
Anything can catch fire if exposed to a high enough heat for a long period of time, but an item is only considered flammable if it easily catches fire and burns quickly upon immediate exposure to flame or ambient heat.
In this article, we’ll review the most commonly used types of glue and their level of flammability.
Is Glue Flammable When Wet?
The types of glue that are flammable are generally more flammable when wet.
Because the glue is still in its liquid form when wet, the chemicals are still active. Until they’ve had time to dry and cure, they’re susceptible to flame and heat.
Wet super glue gives off fumes as it cures, and those fumes are highly flammable. So not only is the wet glue flammable, but the air is mixed with flammable fumes. This is why most super glue brands state that you must use it in a well-ventilated area away from open flames or heat.
It’s highly recommended to use super glue outside, but if you’re only using a small dab of super glue to repair one little object, you will be fine to use it inside.
Super glue also tends to have an exothermic reaction as it cures, meaning the glue itself creates heat in the drying process. This is another reason to keep wet super glue away from open flames or heat.
Is Glue Flammable When Dry?
After the glue has had time to fully dry and cure, it’s usually safe and no longer flammable. The chemicals have hardened and are not susceptible to the effects of flames and heat.
Keep in mind that everything is flammable if exposed to a high level of heat or flame for a long enough period of time. Although super glue is no longer flammable when dry, it will still catch fire if you hold a flame to it long enough.
The principle here is that it won’t easily combust into flames upon a quick and immediate exposure to heat or flame.
Are Different Types Of Glue More Flammable Than Others?
Yes, the different types of glue will vary in flammability. Because they’re made using different ingredients, some types of glue will be inherently more flammable than others. For example, water-based glues will not be flammable. This encompasses most craft glues used for paper and simple adhesion.
To read more about each type of glue, check out our list below that details each type of commonly used glue and whether it’s flammable or not.
1. Super Glue
Super glue is flammable. There are different types and brands of super glue available, but most of them are flammable.
We recommend treating all super glue, regardless of brand or strength, as flammable for best safety precaution. As we mentioned above, super glue is at its most flammable state when wet.
When working with super glue, it’s best to set your project up so you can apply the super glue and allow it to cure outside.
The outdoors really provide the best ventilation possible and helps the flammable fumes disperse so they’re not sitting in a room ready to combust. Aside from the danger of flammability, the fumes that super glue emits are also not good for you to breathe in.
Working with super glue in small doses is fine, but if you’re consistently working with super glue in large amounts, you may want to consider a breathing mask even while working outside.
Once super glue has dried completely and finished the curing process, it is safe and no longer poses a danger of catching on fire.
2. Gorilla Glue
The original Gorilla glue formula is highly flammable and should be used with caution. Gorilla glue is a specific brand name for a line of super glue products. As with regular super glue, Gorilla glue is flammable when wet.
The same rules that we mentioned for super glue will apply to Gorilla glue. It’s best to use Gorilla glue outside to allow for proper ventilation. Keep it outside even after application to let it cure fully in the same well-ventilated spot.
This may not always be possible depending on the weather and time of year you use the glue. So if you have to use Gorilla glue indoors, be sure to have several fans running and an open window if you can.
Once Gorilla glue has had the proper time to dry fully, it is no longer flammable and is safe to keep around the house.
3. Fabric Glue
Fabric glue is flammable when wet. Although you’re not likely to be working with fabrics near an open flame or high heat source, it’s still a good idea to consider your surroundings before using fabric glue.
One way to reduce risk of danger is to not smoke while applying or in the room with fabric glue as it cures. A lit cigarette is considered to be a flame source and will ignite the fabric glue if you’re not careful.
Once the fabric glue has had time to dry completely, it is no longer flammable. So using fabric glue on your clothes or fabric projects is still safe, since the danger of flammability will pass by the time you’re wearing the clothes.
4. PVA Glue
PVA glue is generally not flammable and safe to use whether wet or dry. You can use PVA glue safely indoors with a normal amount of ventilation with no problem.
PVA glue refers to a group of glue types made using polyvinyl acetate. This PVA glue group includes glues such as wood glue and school glue.
This does not mean that wood glue and school glue are the same thing. Rather, it indicates that each of these types of glue are made using that same polyvinyl acetate component, which is a synthetic resin.
Although most PVA glues are not flammable, there may be specific brands or type of PVA glues that come with their own warning. Be sure to read the label of your glue for any safety warnings that may warn against flammability with your product.
5. Hot Glue
Given that the name of this type of glue is “hot glue,” it’s a good indication that this glue is not flammable.
Hot glue is made as a solid bar of glue intended to be melted with a hot glue gun that uses high heat to melt it. Since this glue is designed to be used with heat, you can guess that hot glue is not flammable.
This applies to hot glue when it’s wet or dry. Regardless of the state of hot glue, it is generally not flammable and can be used safely.
The only specific safety precaution to keep in mind when using hot glue is to be careful with your fingers on the hot glue gun tip. That metal tip does get incredibly hot and can burn you, so don’t touch the tip of a hot glue gun that’s on or was recently used.
6. Elmer’s Glue
Elmer’s glue is the brand that’s most often used in school classrooms. Most people are familiar with the plain white Elmer’s glue, but there are other types of glue too.
The only type of Elmer’s glue that can be flammable is its clear glue. Although not flammable when wet, the clear Elmer’s glue is flammable when dried.
This is opposite to the other flammable glues on the list. Since Elmer’s glue is water-based, the water in the wet glue prevents it from being flammable. However, once dried, the water is no longer helping prevent combustion and the glue is susceptible to open flame.
Generally, people who use Elmer’s glue are sticking with their popular white glue or glue sticks. These are fine and you should feel safe while using them. To avoid potential flames, simply avoid using the clear Elmer’s glue.
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