Is Hot Glue Toxic?

Glue is an adhesive substance normally found in liquid form and is one of the most effective ways of attaching objects or materials together. One such form of glue that is widely used and is an excellent material for crafting is hot glue.

Hot glue can be used both in an industrial setting and at home which makes it an excellent and versatile option when it comes to adhesives. Many things can be repaired around the house with the help of a hot glue gun starting from broken toys to broken glass. Hot glue cures and dries off at a quick rate which means that it will not take much time to repair broken items as the delay time is reduced. This makes hot glue a very useful tool but it is of high importance to know whether this glue is toxic or not. So let’s find out!

Key Takeaways

  • Hot glue is made with the help of thermoplastic and many additives such as wax, mobilizers, and tackifiers giving hot glue its adhesive properties.
  • Hot glue is used to fix and repair broken items but if precaution is not taken when working with hot glue will result in serious injuries to the skin.
  • Hot glue is not toxic when used following the recommended guidelines such as proper temperature and heat.

What Makes an Object Toxic?

What makes an object to be toxic

A substance is said to be toxic if it is poisonous or poses any health concerns. There are usually concerns with the use of chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin. Products used on a daily basis like gasoline, alcohol, fuel oil, pesticides, and household cleaners can be toxic as well. But the toxicity of these products depends on which conditions they are being used in. Chemicals entering or making contact with your body and causing harm are called toxic chemicals. Certain dangerous chemicals exist as they have the ability to react, burn or explode when used with other chemicals. There is a slight difference between a chemical being toxic and it being dangerous. For example, gasoline can cause skin burns and alongside its vapors can explode so gasoline is both toxic and hazardous. This is why it is possible for a chemical to be toxic, hazardous, or both.

Composition Of Hot Glue

Composition of hot glue

Hot glue is made using a type of plastic that can be heated as well as melted but without burning it. This plastic is known as thermoplastic and it can be found in 3D printers. For the production of hot glue sticks, the most commonly used thermoplastics are Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and Polyamides (PA). Other polymers are used as well such as polyamide, polyesters, polyethylene, and polyolefin.

In order to make hot glue, this thermoplastic is mixed with additives such as wax, mobilizers, and tackifiers. By using these additives the hot glue is getting its adhesive properties. The use of different polymers in the production of glues gives them different properties but it depends on the molecule type and how long its chain is.

Under Which Conditions Is Hot Glue Toxic

Hot glue has different forms such as when it is dry or when mixed with water. It can be toxic in dry or wet conditions so let’s find out more about it!

under-which-conditions-is-hot-glue-toxic (needs editing)
Under which conditions is hot glue toxic


Hot glue is not known to be toxic when it is dry. Even so, hot glue should not be eaten or put inside the mouth as it can cause irritation and stomach aches. If for some reason you end up swallowing a lot of hot glue, then it will cause intestinal obstruction. This intestinal obstruction can cause numerous discomforts starting from nausea, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain. Thus it is important to use adhesives following the recommended guidelines and the purpose it has been set for.  It is best to leave the hot glue on its own once dries to avoid any issues.


Hot glue is not typically toxic under wet conditions. But if hot glue is poured inside water while it is still hot and in liquid form will result in the release of toxic fumes. This is a major cause of concern as it can cause the water to be poisoned. By drinking this water, you are making yourself susceptible to health issues. The best practice when using hot glue on an aquarium is by using a heat gun.

The use of a heat gun will allow you to correctly apply the hot glue without crossing the temperature limits that have been set. By doing so not only the issue of overheating is being avoided but the release of toxic fumes into the water is being prevented too. Since aquariums contain aquatic plants and animals so take them out of the aquarium when you are using hot glue and only return them once the hot glue dries off. Pouring water before the hot glue is properly dried up might result in the glue melting into the water which can potentially be harmful.

Is It Risky To Use Hot Glue?

Is it risky to use hot glue

The use of glue is mainly to join and fix items that have been broken. Serious injuries might happen to the skin if precaution is not taken while using hot glue. There are many people who use hot glue but are not aware of the risks. When using hot glue, it is important to take into account the materials you are joining together and where the glue will be set. If it is not used properly then there is a possibility of suffering from serious injuries. Hot glue is an excellent option for fixing broken items but there are some hot glue types that are harmful. Cyanoacrylate is a popular hot glue type that can cause skin and eye burns if it makes contact with your skin or goes inside your eyes and can cause everlasting damage when it enters the bloodstream. There is a possibility that children might put hot glue inside their mouth or apply it on their skin so they are at an even higher risk. So it is essential to use hot glue safely and put it out of range for children to avoid any unfortunate incidents from happening.

Can Hot Glue Be Used On Any Surface?

Can hot glue be used on any surface

There are a few surfaces on which hot glue shouldn’t be applied. It is best to use hot glue on surfaces that are rough like wood or even cupboard as hot glue works best on these types of surfaces. This is because the adhesive properties of hot glue work excellently with the grip these surfaces provide which makes getting a strong bond achievable. It is also possible to apply hot glue on woven fabrics or any textural surfaces. Hot glue shouldn’t be applied on smooth surfaces like vinyl, wax, metal greasy, or silicon. This is because these surfaces don’t allow hot glue to grip and stay in place.

Should Hot Glue Be Avoided?

Hot glue should only be avoided by certain types of individuals. If you are someone who has a chemical sensitivity problem, then you should not use hot glue. This is because hot glue causes reactions in people who have chemical sensitivity. The symptoms start to arise within six hours of being exposed to the solvent and cause issues like vomiting, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, headaches, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms can be experienced by children as well so it is best to put away the hot glue and look for medical help immediately. If you are someone whose skin is sensitive to heat or chemicals, then avoid putting anything inside your mouth while working with hot glue.

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When Does Hot Glue Become Toxic?

When does hot glue become toxic

No conclusive evidence has been found to deem hot glue to be toxic when used following the recommended guidelines such as proper temperature and heat. In a similar vein, conclusive reports regarding the concentrations of hot glue fumes that can be inhaled safely haven’t been made either. Hot glue is nontoxic when used within the recommended temperature and heat. But it does become dangerous when it is overheated as the fumes become toxic and have the potential to cause harm. The recommended temperature up to which hot glue can be used is between 20 to 40 degrees Celcius. Hot glue should not be overheated as the adhesive will start to dissolve and release toxic organic substances in the process. The heat gun should be turned off within 40 minutes of not using it to prevent overheating. There are a few heat guns that have an automatic temperature regulator and this is a great way to avoid the issue of hot glue from getting overheated.


1. Where should hot glue not be used?

Hot glue should not be used when working with rough surfaces but it shouldn’t be used with smooth surfaces as these surfaces don’t provide the grip which hot glue requires.

2. How to safely use hot glue?

When using hot glue, it is of high importance to wear gloves and eye protection in order to prevent burns and causing irritation to the eyes.

3. Is hot glue a safe food adhesive?

Hot glue is a safe food adhesive as numerous types of hot glue have been FDA-approved for food coming in direct or indirect contact.

Final Thoughts

Hot glue should be used in a space that is properly ventilated otherwise it releases fumes that are toxic. These toxic fumes pose can adversely affect your health by causing health problems like nausea and headaches. Hot glue fumes are even more dangerous as they are flammable. So be mindful of using hot glue away from open flame or heat sources like a turned-on light bulb as it can cause a fire. If you end up consuming hot glue then your digestive system will be affected causing stomach irritations, ulcers, vomiting, and diarrhea. This means that even though hot glue is not toxic but it should be used carefully to ensure the safety of you and your family.

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Todd Smith is a trained ecologist with five years of experience in environmental conservation and sustainability. He has a deep passion for promoting sustainable practices and has developed a thorough understanding of the natural world and its complex interconnections.

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