Is Hot Glue Toxic? (Everything You Need to Know)

Hot glue can be toxic depending on how it’s being used. When correctly used, hot glue doesn’t release toxic fumes and will not irritate your respiratory airways or cause any harm.

There’s no clear evidence that hot glue is toxic when used under recommended guidelines (temperature and heat). Likewise, there’s no clear report on what concentrations of hot glue fumes can be inhaled within safe limits.

In this article, we will answer a host of other hot glue questions and look at how toxic they may be to different animals.

is hot glue toxic


What Makes Hot Glue Toxic?

As we have already stated, hot glue is not toxic within the recommended temperature and heating. But when overheated, the fumes become toxic and can potentially cause harm.

Overheating hot glue above recommended temperature to the tune of 20°c to 40°c will cause the adhesive to dissolve, releasing toxic organic substances.

To prevent this, you want to turn off your heat gun within 40 minutes if it’s not being used in order to keep the temperature within normal limits.

Some heat guns also come with an automatic temperature regulator, which is a good way to avoid overheating hot glue.

Is Hot Glue Toxic When Eaten?

Even though hot glues are made of hydrocarbons and polymers ( polymer resin and polystyrenes), they will not result in a case of emergency when swallowed.

Hot glue will not pose a potentially life-threatening situation because your body will not process the polymers if you swallow it. However, the dosage ingested will determine whether you will end up with a major or minor stomach ache. 

Therefore, it is advised that you do not eat or swallow hot glue, no matter how good it smells. While it may not be life-threatening, it can potentially cause discomfort to your mouth and stomach.

So if you find your kids eating hot glues, take it away from them. And if you have mistakenly swallowed a lot of hot glues and start feeling irritation in your mouth, see a physician.

Is Hot Glue Toxic When Dry?

When dry, hot glue is not toxic. But this does not mean you should eat dry, hot glue simply because it’s not toxic when dry.

Even though dry hot glue may not irritate your mouth, it can cause stomach aches. And if you swallow a lot of them, you could predispose yourself to intestinal obstruction, which can potentially come with a lot of discomforts ranging from nausea and vomiting to constipation and acute stomach pain. 

Therefore, you want to the adhesive within recommended guidelines and for what it’s prescribed for. And when it dries, leave it alone.

Is Hot Glue Toxic In Water?

Hot glue is usually not toxic in water under normal conditions. However, pouring the glue into the water when it’s hot and in liquid form may cause it to release toxic fumes and harm aquatic plants or animals. Or worse still, it can poison your water and cause health problems for you when you drink it.

So if you are looking to work on an aquarium with hot glues, then you have to do so with a heat gun. 

This will enable you to apply the hot glue correctly and do so within recommended temperature limits. Thereby avoiding overheating, which can potentially cause toxic fumes to be released into the water.

Even though you can use hot glue to work on your aquariums and drinking containers, only return the aquatic animals (or plants) when the hot glue is dried up.

If you pour in water when the hot glue is not dried up, this may cause part of the glue to melt into the water and cause harm.

is hot glue toxic

Is Hot Glue Toxic To Animals?

If you are using hot glue the correct way (within normal temperature limits and heating), then it should be safe for your pets. Otherwise, they can be affected by the fumes just as humans. So, it’s best to use a heat gun when using the glue around them.

In case your pet mistakenly swallows the glue, it might experience some minor discomfort for a short time, but it should be fine. Give the animal a lot of fluid (water) to flush off the glue from its system. But if the symptoms persists, see a veterinary doctor.

Is Hot Glue Toxic to Hamsters?

Hot glue can harm hamsters if they eat it.

So if you are working on a hamsters’ cage, you need to ensure that your hamsters do not have access to where you are applying the hot glue. This is because plastic-based hot glue can kill hamsters. The death usually results from stomach pain caused by difficulty in pooping and constipation.

Therefore, if you are making hamster toys with hot glues, you should make sure that the glues have dried clear before allowing your hamsters to play with the toy.

Is Hot Glue Toxic To Dogs?

Using hot glue around your dogs in the correct manner will not pose any harm to the dogs.

However, don’t keep liquid hot glue in areas where the dogs can access it. Swallowing hot glues would predispose them to life-threatening conditions, and you do not want that.

If the dog swallows hot glue, it may begin to vomit and develop diarrhea. In this case, you should refer it to a veterinary doctor to administer Astro vomit, along with other medications, until they fully recover.

Is Hot Glue Toxic To Cats?

Hot glue should be safe for cats as long as its not ingested. So, use a hot glue gun when repairing your cat trees to avoid overheating and exposing your cats to hot glue fumes.

Meanwhile, if your cat swallows hot glue, you want to get an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. This is because the glue can irritate its mouth and throat and cause vomiting.

General the effect should be minor, and your cat should be fine after a while. But you want to make sure your cat is physically examined and managed by a qualified veterinary doctor to avoid complications.

Is Hot Glue Toxic To Reptiles?

Hot glue, when dried, is harmless to reptiles. Hence if you are working on your terrarium, you should use a hot glue gun and allow the glue to completely cure before letting the reptiles come near the area.

When cured, hot glue bond is tough and will not melt no matter the heat in the terrarium. So hot glues should work quite well for all enclosures in your terrarium.

Is Hot Glue Toxic To Rabbits?

Hot glue is safe to use around rabbits as long as you use it correctly.

However, knowing how much rabbits love to play with their teeth, it becomes pertinent to take exceptional care when selecting toys for your rabbit or when using hot glue to build rabbit cages.

Some hot glue like Elmer’s glue should not pose an emergency when ingested by rabbits in low amounts, but consuming it in large amounts, might cause intestinal obstruction in the rabbit, which could be life-threatening.

Is Hot Glue Toxic To Birds?

Even though hot glue fumes may be toxic to birds, hot glue itself is not toxic to birds provided they (i.e. the birds) don’t swallow it. So you should follow proper guidelines when working on birds’ cages with hot glue.

Also, don’t put your birds in harm’s way by overheating hot glue and causing it to release toxic fumes.

Final Words: Is Hot Glue Toxic?

Hot glues are used in many industries and homes in making a wide range of crafts and DIY projects, and only a few people have complained of irritation from hot glue in the past. This usually arise from people who have underlying respiratory problems and people who are not using them according to recommended guidelines.

Thus, as with many other industrial glue types, taking care is necessary when using hot glue.

Having said that, hot glue is great for many tasks. It dries quickly and offers quite a strong bond strength for a wide variety of projects.