Can You Use Expired Glue? [Shelf Life of All Glues Explained Simply]

Glue does not last forever. It can dry out or just lose its stickiness when it’s past its expiration date. However, that does not always mean you need to throw out the expired bottle and buy a new bottle.

So, can you use expired glue? You cannot use expired glue on surfaces as it will lose its adhesiveness and won’t bond effectively when applied. However, you might be able to use it for other crafts such as making slime. It’s generally recommended to use the glue before it expires and to discard any expired glue bottles properly.

Keep reading to learn more about how long glue can last before it expires, how to make it last longer, and some of the ways you can make use of expired glue.

Does Glue Expire?

expired spilled glue to answer can you use expired glue

Like any other product, glue does expire. On average, an opened glue bottle can last from 6 to 12 months under normal conditions.

However, the shelf life of any kind of glue depends on multiple factors such as:

  • The kind of glue and the chemicals it is made of
  • The conditions the glue is stored in.
  • How often the glue is used or exposed to air

What’s The Shelf Life of Different Kinds of Glue?

There are different kinds of glue that are made of different chemicals which can affect how long the glue will last.

Take a look at the following table to learn the average shelf life of the most common kinds of household glues:

Glue KindBase ChemicalsAverage Shelf Life
White Glue
Elmer’s Glue
PVA1 to 2 Years (sealed)
8 months to 1 Year (opened)
Super Glue
Crazy Glue
Cyanoacrylate1 Year (sealed)
6 to 8 months (opened)
Gorilla GluePolyurethane1 to 2 Years (sealed)
1 Year (opened)

You will also notice that unopened and unused glue bottles tend to last longer than opened and frequently used bottles. You may notice that glue sticks are not on this table, and you can learn if glue sticks expire here.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Glue?

Since glue is essential in most projects, you need to learn how to make it last longer.

Here are some tips that would help you extend the shelf life of your glue:

  • Always keep the glue bottle sealed tightly when you’re not using it to reduce the glue’s exposure to air and prevent it from drying. If you lost the bottle cap, you can use clear tape or another adhesive sealant to cover the opening of the bottle.
  • Make sure to store unused and sealed tubes glue bottles in a cool, dry location where they will not be exposed to moisture, direct sunlight, or any excessive heat.
  • Try to use up your opened and frequently used glue bottles first before opening a new bottle. It’s best to save any unopened bottles for later use.

Can You Still Use Expired Glue?

You cannot use expired glue for bonding surfaces together. That is because when the glue is past its expiration date, it will lose most of its adhesive properties and will not be able to effectively form a bond when applied to any surface.

It’s generally recommended to use the glue before it expires and to discard any expired glue bottles properly. However, there might be some use for expired glue other than binding two surfaces together such as simple children’s crafts that wouldn’t require strong adhesion.

How to Make Use of Expired Glue?

Although you won’t be able to use expired glue to bond surfaces together, you can still make use of it in simple crafts and one of the best ways to do that is to make slime.

Slime is a gooey substance made of glue that children like to play with and form into different shapes. It doesn’t stick to surfaces so it doesn’t need the glue to have strong adhesive properties.

To make slime with glue that has expired, here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Mix half a cup of the glue with half a cup of water
  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the mixture and stir until you reach a thick consistency.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring or glitter to the mixture to make the slime more fun

Related Questions

Can You Use Moldy Glue?

You cannot use moldy glue as it will not be able to bond with the surface. Mold also cause you some health problems as it produces allergens, irritants, and in some cases, toxic substances. So, it’s highly recommended to discard glue bottles with mold growth in them

Can You Revive Expire Glue?

You cannot revive expired glue and make it usable again. Once the glue has expired, it will lose its adhesive properties and will not be able to form a bond when applied to any surface. If the glue dried out, you might be able to soften it with heat but it will not be sticky again.

You can learn more about making dried glue wet again here.

Helpful Resources 

Adhesives Shelf Life

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