30

It seems like every time I open a tube of super/Krazy/cyanoacrylate glue, I get one use out of it, and the next time I go to use it months later, the nozzle is clogged with dry glue (or worse, the entire tube has hardened. I put it back into its sealed canister, but it doesn't seem to matter.

What's the best way to store super glue to increase its longevity in the tube? Does it matter if I store the tube nozzle down, nozzle up, or nozzle sideways? Should I let it sit with the pin in or not? (I assume not, or at least not all the way in; otherwise if the glue dries up around the pin, the pin won't be long enough to puncture the dried glue around it.) Should I glue something to the tip of the tube to try to seal it?

24

The component "super glue" is made of is cyanoacrylate which polymerizes in the presence of water. This actually is the opposite of drying out. The humidity of air already brings a sufficient amount of water for cyanoacrylate to polymerize.

Therefore the best place to store it is a dry to very dry place:

  • This could be a refrigerator or even a freezer. To avoid condensation on taking it out of the fridge or freezer (freezing will delay or even stop polymerization) we need to pack it in an air-tight container, envelope or bag and let it reach room temperature before we open the package.

  • To further make the stroage environment dry we can add a silicate bag or salt to the storage container (e.g. from the manufacturer's package of an electronic device).

  • Another possibility to prevent humidity to enter the opened package is storing in a vacuum sealed bag (as it may be used for food packaging).

  • When using and before closing we may also take care to not let humidity or air come into the tube to prevent polymerization at the outlet (commented by user 2619).

Safety note

Cyanoacrylate is very harmful when ingested. When storing in a fridge or a freezer keep it away from food, use an extra box, and most importantly make sure your children keep away from the fridge.

  • If it's so toxic, does that mean it shouldn't be used to seal cuts on the skin? (Edit: Never mind, I see that the wikipedia page has "Skin injuries" and "Toxicity" sections.) – jamesdlin Jan 31 '15 at 19:42
  • 2
    Given that air is humid, it's probably a good #4 bullet to squeeze the excess air out of a tube before closing it. – Bob Stein Feb 5 '15 at 17:51
  • @BobStein-VisiBone: good point - I included that :) – Takkat Feb 5 '15 at 19:22
  • This is certainly a very complete answer and I give you the +1 but it seems like overkill. I don't want to worry about bagging and boxing my glue with silica gel and in the freezer and then having to let it thaw before I can use it. I just squeeze out all the air I can - until it's almost coming out the tip - and then put the cap on tight. It's what Gorilla Glue suggests and it's always worked for my purposes. – Engineer Toast Feb 6 '15 at 13:27
6

The simplest way to store it is using a screw top jar (like a jam or jelly jar) and some silica Gel. That's the bagged stuff that comes with electronics and so on. Designed to suck all of the moisture out of the air.

I keep my super glues for modelling for at least 12 months this way.

Hope this helps you out.

4

I've had good luck by putting petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on a pin or nail and sticking that in the bottle before putting the cap on or creating a ring of the same on the edge of the container. Petroleum jelly is oil based and oil and water don't mix. The jelly creates a seal that keeps moisture-laden air from seeping in and hardening the glue in the spout. Buying super glue in tiny tubes can help too. The tiny tubes don't seem to allow as much air in and you can just use what you need.

  • Ooh, that sounds like a good idea! I'll have to try that. – jamesdlin Jun 8 '16 at 22:22
3

I presently practice medicine, however before I became a doctor I worked as a sales manager for a medical manufacture that used cyanoacrylate to bind tissue instead of suture, just like they used to do on the battlefields of Vietnam. I have stored cyanoacrylate for over 20 years in a freezer and still was able to use the material just as it was brand-new. Cyanoacrylate will freeze at -80°C, Since water is the catalyst for cyanoacrylate to harden, the freezer provides a low moisture content ensuring the integrity of the cyanoacrylate for long periods of time. The one caution is to keep the dispenser opening free of cyanoacrylate to prevent clogging. Most manufacturers provide a cap with a pin that inserts into the dispenser opening.

0
  • Store the tube nozzle up.
  • If the nozzle gets clogged, you can drill through the clot using a cordless drill with a small drill bit. While you're drilling, make sure not to compress the tube.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.