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How to Soften Gorilla Glue That Has Hardened in the Bottle

How to Soften Gorilla Glue That Has Hardened in the Bottle

Gorilla Glue is a powerful way to put two things together, and it’s especially useful in working with wood. It’s also pretty expensive, especially compared to other kinds of fast-bonding powerful adhesives. You may buy a little bottle of it, use it once, and put it aside for half a year or more. Then, when you pull it out, it’s hard enough that you could chuck it through your window.

What could you do to soften the glue inside the bottle without having to throw it – and the money you paid for it – into the garbage? Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can try to soften the glue so you can keep using it.

Poke a hole in it

If you’re really lucky, only the surface of the glue has hardened. You can get at the usable glue by poking a hole in the cap of hardened glue with a screwdriver or a wooden dowel and salvage some of the fluid inside. If this happens, move down to the section on prevention for tips on how to preserve the glue you’ve just rescued from an untimely demise.

If this doesn’t work, there’s one thing you can try, but…

No guarantees

Lots of people insist that once it’s hardened, there’s no way of saving Gorilla Glue. It’s lost its moisture, which means it’s gone through the adhesive stage and is permanently set. We included a short section at the bottom on how to prevent this from happening again.

The hot water method

Get a pan full of water that’s so hot that it’s uncomfortable to touch with your hand. If you can’t get that water from the tap, heat the pan over a burner until it’s just below boiling. Submerge the entire bottle of Gorilla Glue in the hot water for several minutes. This may loosen the glue enough for you to use it.

On the other hand, a very frequent cause of Gorilla Glue hardening is that it loses its moisture and thus is set inside the bottle. If that happens, just go to the hobby store, get a new bottle, and follow our tips on how to not let it happen again.

boiling water on kettle


One primary cause of Gorilla Glue hardening is that it loses moisture through its cap. If that’s the case, you can just pitch the bottle and start over with a new one. But there are things you can do to prevent your glue from turning into cement in the future.

You can store it in a zippered plastic sandwich bag. The reason this is likely to work is that the caps on Gorilla Glue bottles are notoriously prone to failure. Sealing it in a sandwich bag creates a more effective seal to keep air out and moisture in.

You can also store it in your freezer. As air gets cold, it contracts, which leaves less room for moisture. The air in your freezer is below the freezing point, which, compared to room temperature, is bone-dry. This is especially the case during humid summer days or if you live in one of our nation’s finer swamps.

In fact, if you want to maximize the lifespan of your Gorilla Glue, combine these two tips. Over the course of four or five years, you might even save yourself tens of dollars.

SEE ALSO: how to easily get Gorilla glue off your fingers


No one wants to waste money, especially when it’s spent buying something as handy and powerful as Gorilla Glue. But if you don’t use it very often, odds are high that it could harden while in storage. If that happens to you, the first trick is to poke at the hardened surface with a stick or a screwdriver. Perhaps it isn’t all hardened, after all. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to submerge the bottle in a pan of very warm water.

Header image credit: Mike Mozart, Flickr

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