Super glue is an effective adhesive that is commonly used to repair broken items.
If you need to repair kitchen utensils and food-related items such as cutting boards, wooden spoons, and other items, you might wonder about the safety of using super glue for such repairs.
Is super glue food safe? No, super glue is not-food safe; it contains the toxic ingredient cyanoacrylate. However, there are some strong, food-safe adhesives without cyanoacrylate which you can use to repair kitchen items.
We will find out why super glue is not food-safe in this article and also go over some food-safe glue alternatives that you can use on kitchen items.
First, let’s learn more about the type of glue that is referred to as super glue.
What is Super Glue?
Super glue, or cyanoacrylate adhesive, is a strong, fast-bonding adhesive that can bond to almost any surface and material. They’re commonly used for quick home repairs such as fixing cracks and broken items. They’re very easy to use and offer high resistance to moisture and temperature.
Super glue forms a really strong, long lasting bond when fully cured. It also sets in just a few seconds and requires just a few drops to create an extremely rigid bond. Super glue can be used with metal, wood, plastic, glass, stone, ceramic, paper, and many other common items.
Super glue was discovered in 1942 by Harry Coover Jr. It began to be produced commercially by Loctite in 1958. It quickly grew in popularity and is now manufactured by other popular brands including Gorilla, Elmer’s, Infinity Bond, and Permabond.
How Does Super Glue Work?
The major ingredient in super glue, which is responsible for its bonding properties, is cyanoacrylate. Cyanoacrylate is an acrylic monomer that cures to a plastic state when it comes into contact with hydroxyl ions in moisture in a process known as anionic polymerization.
Super glue, therefore, only requires water molecules to bond. As a result, it can bond to virtually every surface as long as moisture is present. Since moisture is always present in the air, super glue can be used on almost any surface.
Super glue products generally have a very short bonding time. A side effect of this, though, is that you have less time to get things aligned properly.
While this may be inconveniencing in some cases, it can be very beneficial if you’re working in a cramped space or on surfaces that are hard to reach. Short bonding times could mean having to stay in an uncomfortable position for much shorter than otherwise.
Since super glue bonds with the aid of moisture, the bonding process tends to be faster in environments with higher humidity. Since they also do not require mixing with any other substance to harden, you don’t have to worry about mixing precise combinations of different ingredients to get a solid bond.
Different kinds of super glue are designed for different surfaces. For example, some super glue products feature a gel-like substance which works great for surfaces like wood.
Plastic surfaces tend to give adhesives a tough time due to their low porosity and smooth texture. However, super glues designed for plastic materials overcome these challenges and produce reliable bonds.
Thus, it is a good idea to read the label on a super glue product you’re planning to purchase to see what surfaces it works best on. If you can’t tell whether a glue you’re looking at is super glue, check the ingredient labels. If it doesn’t contain cyanoacrylate, then it’s not super glue.
Tips For Working With Super Glue
When working with cyanoacrylate glue, there are certain things you’ll want to keep in mind.
- First, if you’ve ever used superglue before, you can attest to how easily it bonds to anything, including the human skin. As a result, you may end up inadvertently gluing your fingers together instead of your broken item. An easy way to prevent this from happening is to wear gloves before working with super glues. In fact, it’s a good practice to wear gloves when dealing with any type of glue to avoid problems.
- Another important thing to do before you begin applying super glue is surface preparation. Contaminants like dirt or oil on the surface you’re working with can adversely affect the bonding strength and drying time of the super glue product. Thus, you should endeavor to get the surface clean and dry before applying glue. This will allow the glue to bond easily with the material.
- If you are working on a complex bonding surface, you might want to mask or cover the surrounding surfaces before applying the glue. This will help to prevent any issues that might otherwise arise during application.
- Super glues have a short shelf life of about a year from the manufacture date if unopened and just a month on they’ve been opened. This is due to its reaction with moisture. Thus, to store super glue in a way that maximizes its shelf life, the container has to be as airtight as possible. Clean up any excess adhesive at the opening of the tube and try to squeeze out any excess air. Make sure to close the lid tightly as well. You can also store superglue in the freezer as the polymerization reaction does not occur below the freezing point of water.
- Cured super glue can be removed from a surface through mechanical means, which involves scraping it away with a tool, or by using chemical solvents to dissolve it. If you get superglue on your skin, you can remove it with the aid of acetone.
Is Super Glue Food-Safe?
Super glue is generally not food-safe.
Cyanoacrylate, which is the main ingredient in superglues, is a toxic chemical that should not come in contact with food. As a result, super glue products are not FDA-approved for either direct or indirect food contact, and thus, are not considered to be food-safe.
So if you’re looking to quickly repair a kitchen utensil that will come in contact with food, super glue is not the best option, despite its strengths.
To keep yourself and others safe, you’ll need to get a food safe adhesive that doesn’t contain cyanoacrylate. Fortunately, there are numerous non-toxic glue products that you can use instead of super glue.
What Are Some Food-Safe Glue Alternatives to Super Glue?
The most common type of food-safe glue is an epoxy glue. This type of glue forms bonds that are as strong as cyanoacrylate glues without being toxic.
Epoxy glues are generally made from materials that are considered to be food-safe by the FDA. Epoxy glues are also produced by most of the popular brands that manufacture super glues such as Gorilla and Elmer’s, among others.
Two-part epoxy glues consist of a resin and a hardener which must be mixed together before application. These glues are able to resist moisture, solvents, oil, and can be used in a wide variety of environments. They also have good shear strength and high tensile strength.
1. Gorilla 2-Part Epoxy
If you’re looking for a food-safe super glue alternative to use for your kitchen repairs, check out the Gorilla 2-Part Epoxy glue product.
It’s an affordable, high-quality two-part epoxy glue that works great for repairs. The glue creates a durable bond between a variety of surfaces and also works well for gap-filling.
The Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy, 5 Minute Set glue dries clear, sets in just 5 minutes, and features an easy-to-use syringe which keeps the epoxy resin and the hardener separate.
It can withstand moderate exposure to water. The product comes in at a really great price and has a ton of positive reviews from satisfied users.
2. Instant Krazy Glue Advanced Gel
Another excellent food safe epoxy glue is the Krazy Glue Advanced Gel product. This glue works on wood, metal, rubber, glass, leather, plastic, and ceramic.
It features an advanced gel formula that creates a long-lasting, shock-resistant bond. The glue is completely non-toxic and is made from FDA-approved food-safe ingredients. It’s easy to use, effective, and versatile alternative to super glue.
3. Rhino Glue Pro Kit
The Rhino Glue Pro-Kit is another superb food-safe option. This glue bonds virtually everything and does so very quickly. The product is available in a number of sizes and styles. Plus, it dries clear.
The Rhino Glue Pro Kit contains one Rhino Glue 40 gram product, one Rhino Glue Gel 15 gram product, and one Rhino Glue 10 gram Brush On Glue product in the package. Thus, you get a total of 65 grams of Rhino Glue for a very affordable price.
As you can see, there are a number of great food safe glue alternatives to cyanoacrylate glue that work just as well.
While some of these options may not set or cure as fast as super glue, they get the job done while being safe for use with kitchen utensils. So be sure to check these out when you need to fix a chopping board or other food-related items.