4 Tips to Speed Up Super Glue Drying Time

hands applying superglue to shoe

When you're holding pieces of something together and waiting for the super glue to dry, time actually seems to move so much slower than it ever has in the entire history of the world. If you've ever worked with super glue, you know that speeding up super glue drying time is the only way to craft, repair, and DIY.

What Is Super Glue?

There are many different types of glues on the market, but super glue is well-known to anyone with even a passing interest in DIY. This strong stuff is an all-purpose sealant that can be used to repair kitchen items, fix tiles, and re-seal wallpaper, the uses go on and on and on.

Super glue is a very useful item for repairing broken mugs, lamps, and all sorts of objects around the house. Actually, it was taken from the medical field.

Super glue was initially used to close up wounds quickly, such as in combat situations. It was widely used by soldiers during World War I for just this purpose.

Medical-grade superglue is still in use, though superglue is now best known for its DIYing powers.

Superglue can be used on many different materials and items, including wood, metal, rubber, paper, and fabrics.

The Varying Lengths of Super Glue Dry Time

When it's on your skin, super glue seems to dry immediately. When you're trying to fix your favorite mug or put something back together after dropping it, super glue takes about five thousand minutes to dry...at least, that's how it feels.

There are ways to speed up the process. Super glue is a chemical compound and when it dries, it's having a chemical reaction.

With some everyday science tricks, you can learn how to speed up that chemical reaction and force super glue dry time to behave the way you want it to.

Drying It With Science

Instead of sitting there and holding something together while it dries and ending up in a time void where every second takes about a year to pass, try some simple tricks to speed up super glue drying time.

Super Glue Is Temperature Sensitive

The next time you're doing a super glue project, get out a hair dryer. Apply heat to the glued area with the hairdryer on a low setting.

Don't hold the hair dryer in place. Move it around a bit so you're not overheating the item you're working on.

Temperature agitates the molecules in the glue and causes them to move faster, forcing these molecules to bond to each other more quickly.

This same rule applies to storing your unused glue. Heat can cause the glue inside the tube to harden and become unusable, so store your glue in a cool place.

Super Glue Needs Air Flow

Work on your project near a table fan or standing fan or mini fan. Turn on the fan once you're done applying glue.

Get your glued item right in the flow of the air so the fan is blowing directly on it. The oxygen being pushed onto the seam causes the superglue to bond more quickly.

Having a fan nearby when you're working with super glue, or any chemical compound, is a very smart idea. The fumes from chemical compounds can make you feel sick to your stomach, give you a headache, or cause some other physical pains or breathing difficulty.

Clamping and Bracing Are Options

You don't have to rely on science or on altering the environment around the glue to get it dry quickly. You can let it dry at its own pace and still not sit there holding pieces together while an entire era of time passes you by.

You can clamp pieces together. Use a clamp to hold everything in place around your super glue project, and this way, you won't have to hold it, and you can let the glue do its own thing while drying.

Remember not to set any glued part of your project down on a surface, as this can cause it to dry stuck to that surface. Otherwise, set the glued project with a clamp and go do something else for a bit.

The bonus of using this method is that when you clamp your pieces together firmly, there is less chance for the two parts to move while drying and end up in an offset position.

If your glue does dry weirdly, it’s not a big deal. You can fix superglue accidents.

When something dries offset or the finished project looks messy, apply acetone with a cotton swab and remove this gunk.

Add An Accelerant

Create your own chemical reaction by introducing another element into your super glue routine: baking soda.

Apply the glue, put your item together, and sprinkle baking power on it. The baking soda will cause the glue to dry and harden almost instantly.

And yes, the combination of super glue and baking soda does bond almost instantly, so work with extreme caution and make sure you're getting glue only where you want to get glue. This trick greatly reduces super glue dry time if you're looking for a fast solution.

Don't forget that you've got acetone if you do make any mistakes with your glue. If you’re sort of clumsy, maybe have someone nearby who can help you apply acetone to your own skin if you end up gluing yourself to yourself or to something else.

Just Add Alcohol

It's usually not a solution to a problem, but with super glue, you should add alcohol. Of course, in this case, you'll be using standard rubbing alcohol and not the stuff you put in a cocktail.

Add a little rubbing alcohol to a spray bottle. When you're gluing an item together, spray alcohol on one side and apply the glue to the other.

Press the pieces together, and they will dry very quickly, bonding in under a minute.

Speeding Up Super Glue Drying Time

Instead of holding items together and waiting for an eternity to pass before the glue is dry, apply some simple science and use easy tricks to speed up the super glue drying time. Super glue has a chemical reaction with air itself and begins to dry as soon as it interacts with the environment outside of its tube.

However, it’s possible to manipulate that chemical reaction and make it happen even faster and speed up super glue dry time. Use heat, air, and other tricks so you don’t have to spend way too long trying to hold pieces of something broken together on your own.

Super Glue Drying Times FAQ

What is the best way to dry superglue?

The best method for making superglue dry faster is the method that works best for you. If you want super glue to dry almost instantly, use baking soda.

If you prefer to work with less mess and a dry time that's just a little bit slower than near-instant, a hair dryer or a table fan both work extremely well to dry the super glue within a minute or two.

What makes superglue harden fast?

If you're looking for the absolute fastest way to get super glue to dry, use the baking soda method of sprinkling a little bit of the baking soda on top of the glue. This dries the glue so quickly, you want to be cautious and be sure you're getting glue only where you want it to be.

How long does it take for superglue to fully dry?

How long does super glue take to dry, actually?

Depending on the method you use, superglue takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes to dry. It will take as little as 30 seconds if you use super glue and baking soda or alcohol, a few minutes if you use hot or cool air, and about 10 minutes if you let super glue naturally dry on its own.

However, there is a difference between glue that has dried and glue that has cured. When glue is dry, all the liquid components of the glue have dried and bonded together.

When glue has cured, it has completely crystallized, and a strong bond has been formed.

According to glue manufacturers, it takes about 24 hours for superglue to fully cure. However, you may find slightly varying lengths of time if you look to see how long does super glue take to dry for a specific brand of glue.

Does blowing on superglue help it dry?

Blowing your own air on glued areas with your mouth can make the glue dry a little faster, though it's more effective to use a fan that can blow air with more pressure and consistency.

What can you spray on super glue to make it dry faster?

Spraying alcohol on one half of the project and adding the glue to the other can make superglue dry more quickly. A sprinkle of baking soda on a glued item can make the glue dry almost immediately.

Why does baking soda make superglue dry faster?

Baking soda and superglue are both chemical compounds. When specific chemicals are mixed together, a reaction can occur.

When bicarbonate molecules in baking soda meet the cyanoacrylate in super glue, the molecules in both compounds bond together very quickly.

Does water speed up superglue?

Water reacts with super glue. This is why super glue dries more quickly in humidity because the moisture in the air speeds up the drying time.

This seems to go against basic common sense, as water seems like it should dilute the glue and make it take longer to dry. super glue is a reactive chemical compound and this is why it begins to dry the moment it is exposed to air.

The same reaction occurs when superglue comes into contact with water, causing the glue to dry almost immediately.

When a little water is added to super glue, the glue instantly dries because of the reaction it has to the water.

The chemical reaction super glue has with water that makes it dry will also cause the glue to turn white, so be aware of that. This is known as bloom.

Does UV light make superglue dry faster?

A UV light can make superglue dry faster, the same way it can make nail polish dry faster.

Will a heat gun make superglue dry faster?

Applying heat from a hair dryer can make superglue dry more quickly, so what about a heat gun? While this might sound like a good idea at first, it's not.

Heat guns get very hot very quickly, and they give off quite a lot of heat. A heat gun can burn wood, melt plastic, and they will even burn metal.

Using a heat gun could actually cause damage to the thing you're supergluing, so this is not a good trick to use.

Does rubbing alcohol cure superglue?

The liquid in rubbing alcohol can make superglue dry more quickly because of the chemical reaction it creates. However, this does not necessarily make the glue cure more quickly.

No matter which tricks you use to dry the glue, you will still want to wait a full 24 hours to allow the glue to fully cure before using your object again. Once the glue has cured, the glue’s bond is as strong as it’s going to be and your project is complete.

Speeding up the dry time will make your craft projects go only a few minutes faster, but it will feel like you’re saving a lot of time, and it will allow you to keep moving through the project more quickly so you can go onto the next steps or move on to the next project on your list.

If you’re going to do any DIY stuff around your home, you will need to use a lot of superglue. With drying tips and a little knowledge of the science of super glue, you can craft and repair items like an adhesive expert.

What happens if you freeze glue?

Glue can dry within just a few minutes. However, it often takes longer than this for glue to fully cure.

Glue is cured when it completely hardens. If glue is exposed to cold temperatures before this happens, the curing process will be interrupted and the glue's bond will be affected.

Freezing glue actually results in a weaker bond rather than quicker dry time, so it's not a good idea. Scientifically, the cold temperatures disrupt the natural chemical process o the glue.

What is the fastest setting glue?

Many glues are designed to set fast, which means they're formulated to dry quickly. Superglue is known for being a fast-drying glue, especially compared to other types.

Any glue that is marketed for being fast-setting or quick-drying will bond quickly.

What does super glue not stick to?

Super glue is known to crafters as a bit of a super tool. It's even used in emergencies to quickly close up flesh wounds in human skin, which makes it pretty remarkable.

However, superglue does not bond easily with certain types of plastic, particularly polypropylene and polyethylene. These plastics are commonly used for food containers, kitchen items, plastic bottles, and plastic bags.

What glue sets the hardest?

If you want to create an extremely tough bond, epoxy adhesives are a strong choice. Epoxy-based glues are made to have a lot of tensile strength, meaning they bond firmly.

What is the weakest glue?

Some glues, like superglue, are made to create a very strong bond. Other glues are not meant to bond so fiercely.

Hot glue, while a favorite for DIYers, can be removed pretty easily. Cosmetic glues, such as eyelash glue and wig glue, are also designed to have a bond that can easily be broken.

Further Reading

4 Tips for Quickly Drying Silicone Adhesives

5 Tips for Removing Cyanoacrylate Adhesives

7 Tips for Making Wood Glue Dry Faster

8 Tips for Using Super Glue

An Adhesive for Every Purpose: Choose the Right One the First Time

How to Remove Super Glue

How to Remove Super Glue from Plastic

Using Wood Glue With Metal and Wood