How to Revive Elmer’s Glue? And Can It Still Be Used?

Elmer’s glue is a common household item as it’s used in repairs and various craft projects. Like most kinds of glue, it’s prone to dry out inside its container.

Luckily, there are some ways you can revive it so you won’t always have to throw away the bottle to buy a new one.

So, can you revive dried Elmer’s Glue, and if so, how to revive elmer’s glue? You can revive dried Elmer’s glue by submerging the bottle in freshly boiled water for about 10 minutes. You can also add a few drops of paint thinner to the glue to make it softer. However, keep in mind that reviving dried Elmer’s Glue doesn’t always mean it will retain its adhesive properties.

Keep reading to learn more about Elmer’s glue, how to prevent it from drying out and how to revive it if it does.

What You Need to Know About Elmer’s Glue

Elmer’s glue is a kind of synthetic glue made from polyvinyl acetate polymers combined with water and other chemicals like ethanol and acetone. It is also known as PVA glue or white glue.

This kind of glue can be used for various applications and projects as it can form bonds with lots of surfaces including wood, metal, ceramic, foam, and different kinds of paper.

Can Elmer’s Glue Dry Out?

Elmer’s glue can dry out if its container is left open for a long time.

It typically comes in a liquid form inside the container because the water in its composition acts as a solvent. Once the glue is applied to a surface, it will be exposed to air and the water will evaporate causing the PVA polymers to dry and bond tightly with the surface.

So, if the container is left open for a long time, the will be exposed to more air and lose its moisture causing it to dry out before it’s applied to a surface.

How to Prevent Elmer’s Glue from Drying Out?

There are some ways you can prevent Elmer’s glue from drying out while it’s still inside the container.

The best way is to keep the glue bottle sealed tightly when you’re not using it. This will prevent the glue from getting exposed to too much air or cause the water to evaporate which means the glue will remain in a runny liquid form inside the container until you apply it to a surface.

If you do not have a bottle cap to seal the bottle, you can use clear tape or another adhesive sealant to cover the opening of the bottle.

It’s also recommended to store unused and sealed tubes glue bottles in a cool, dry location and to use up opened and frequently used glue bottles first before opening new ones.

How to Revive Dried Elmer’s Glue?

If your bottle of Elmer’s Glue died out, don’t be quick to throw it away as there are some methods you can use to revive it.

Let’s take a look at those methods:

Apply Heat

If all of the glue is dried inside the bottle, you can revive it by exposing it to heat to soften the glue.

The best way to do this is to pour boiled water into a wide container, submerge the Elmer’s bottle completely, and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes.

Wait until the bottle is cool to touch and press on it firmly to squeeze the softened glue out. If the glue does not become soft enough the first time you heat it, you can give it a few more tries until you reach the desired consistency.

Use Paint Thinner

If heating the glue does not revive it or soften it enough, you can try adding a few drops of paint thinner to the bottle to make the glue runnier.

However, keep in mind that using too much of the paint thinner might weaken the adhesive properties of the glue.

Poke A Hole in The Cap

Sometimes only the surface layer of the glue dries out inside the container and not all of it. It will form a thin hard layer that seals the container and prevents the rest of the liquid glue from flowing out.

In that case, you can easily fix the issue by poking a hole through the cap using any pointed tool to break that thin hard layer and get the rest of the glow to flow out again.

Can You Still Use Dried Out Elmer’s Glue?

You cannot use dried out Elmer’s glue for binding surfaces together.

Although you can revive dried out Elmer’s glue and get it back to liquid form, it will not always be effective when applied to a surface as it might not retain its adhesive properties and won’t be able to form bonds.

However, there might be some use for the glue other than binding two surfaces together such as simple crafts that don’t require strong adhesion.

Related Questions

Does Elmer’s Glue Expire?

Elmer’s does expire. It lasts an average of 8 to 12 months depending on multiple factors including how often the glue is used or exposed to air as well as the conditions it’s stored in. To make the glue last longer it’s recommended to seal the bottle and store it in a dry cool location.

How to Soften Dried Glue on a Surface?

To soften dried glue on a surface, you can apply a cloth soaked in hot water on the surface for about 10 minutes. Once the glue is soft enough, you easily wipe the surface with a dry cloth. If the hot water does not penetrate the glue, you can also apply acetone, or rubbing alcohol instead.

Helpful Resources 

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