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How To Unharden Super Glue?

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Written by: Jeremy Sanchez


How To Unharden Super Glue?

The method which will help you unharden super glue depends on the type of hardening that took place, such as:

  1. A hardened layer on the surface
  2. The cap hardened to the tube
  3. The whole tube has hardened 

Super Glue is a highly effective adhesive that requires a strong and long-term hold in various projects.

Depending on your project size and super glue tube size, there is a good chance that you won’t use up all or most of your glue. 

After some time (about a year) of usage, super glue may harden in the tube. This could happen much sooner if it has been exposed to a significant amount of moisture. 

This guide will show you exactly how to unharden super glue based on the type of hardening that has happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

Check out my guide on removing super glue from plastic if you need further tips.

A Hardened Layer On The Surface

Sometimes there is only one layer on top of the surface that hardens, and the rest of the super glue remains soft in the tube.

If this is the case, there is a very simple solution to access the remaining glue in the tube that has remained unhardened. 

What you will need: 

  • Screwdriver 

Sometimes, when you grab your super glue for another gluing project, you open the cap, squeeze, and nothing comes out. You look inside, and the whole tube has dried out. 

Before throwing the tube out, thinking there is nothing you can do, check to see whether the whole tube has hardened or if there is only one hardened layer on top of super soft glue within the tube.

But keep in mind that even if the whole super glue tube has hardened, there is one method that can help you unharden it.

The following steps will show you how to check whether there is only one layer hardened on the surface so you can get access and still use the rest of the super glue in the tube:

  1. Take the cap off
  2. If nothing comes out when you squeeze, grab a screwdriver that will fit inside the head of the tube
  3. Carefully press the screwdriver inside the tube to break up the hardened layer
  4. The whole you created will give you access to the soft usable glue
  5. Squeeze the bottle 

After you have broken up the hardened layer, put the cap back on the tube and clean any glue off your screwdriver.

Remember that cleaning the glue off any surface while still wet is much easier and faster than in its dry form.

Our guide on getting super glue off carpet will provide further tips.

The Cap Hardened To The Tube

After every use, it is always a good idea to clean the head of the tube before you put the cap back on.

If there are glue spots on the outside of the tube’s head, the glue will start to dry when you put the cap over it, creating a strong bond between the cap and tube. 

So now, when you want to take the cap off, you can’t because it is glued there. You can try two methods to unharden the super glue so you can take the cap off. 

  • Hot water on tap

Please go into the bathroom or use your kitchen sink to turn on hot water, as hot as possible. Be careful not to cause minor burns to your skin during this process.

Once the hot water flows, place the cap under the running hot water. Again, it would help if you were careful not to accidentally splash this hot water on you. 

You may need to leave the tube under the running hot water for quite a while. But this method should unharden the super glue allowing you to take the cap off. 

Once you manage this, clean the glue off before placing the cap back on. 

  • Hot water in a container 

This is the same idea but a different and safer method. Grab a container that will fit the whole tube in. Make sure that the water level will be higher than the part of the super glue that has hardened. 

Boil water on the stovetop. Place the tube inside the container. Carefully pour the hot water over it. Be careful not to spill any over you accidentally. 

Leave the super glue in hot water until the water drops in temperature. If you are still unable to take the cap off, be patient. You may need to repeat this method a few times. 

Both methods can unharden super glue, whether it is only the cap or the whole hardened capetube. 

If the whole tube has hardened, the container method could be more effective and reduce the water you need to use to unharden super glue.

For more info, my guide on removing super glue from quartz countertops can be of help.


Should you throw your super glue when you grab it out of your closet and see that it has hardened inside its tube? Not. At least not before you try these methods to unharden super glue. 

The hot water method can unharden super glue, regardless if:

  • The cap hardened to the tube
  • The whole tube has hardened 

If there is a hardened layer on the surface of the adhesive, trapping usable and unhardened gue inside the tube, then the screwdriver method will help. 

There is a situation when neither of these methods can soften the super glue.

If the adhesive has fully hardened because it has lost all its moisture, you can’t cause the glue to become soft again. In this case, the only option that remains is throwing it out. 

But, if you implement our prevention tips, it won’t come to this in the future. 

How To Prevent Super Glue From Hardening 

Prevention is always a key step. Prevention will keep your super glue from hardening. It is increasing its shelf life. 

How can you prevent super glue from hardening? By storing it the right way in the first place. 

How to store super glue so it doesn’t harden or dry out? Grab a zip-lock bag. Place the tube inside it, ensuring the cap is secured.

Squeeze out all the air you can, then lock it in. For an added layer of protection against moisture, you can also add a small silica-type gel that will retain moisture that could get in the ziplock bag. 

If you have a vacuum sealer, you may use it to completely seal the tube from any possible moisture. 

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