It’s so frustrating when plastic breaks and you need to either join two pieces together or stick one kind of plastic to another. We’ve all had the experience where we need to glue a tiny but vitally important plastic piece back in place, but all we have on hand is one kind of glue. Normally the classic one. You might wonder if you can use Gorilla Glue on plastic or if you’ll need to go to buy a special glue.
Gorilla Glue may be suitable as an adhesive depending on the plastic type. The company also makes specialized glue products for plastics, super glue, and their original brand Gorilla Glue. However, the original Gorilla Glue is unsuitable for rubber, polypropylene, or polyethylene plastics.
The usual glues we keep for use around the house are original Gorilla Glue and their superglue. Recently I had a small, fiddly piece of plastic break off one of my plastic character models and wanted to reconnect it to the base. I didn’t want to go to the hardware store and buy a new tube of expensive glue if I could use my Gorilla Glue, so I researched to see if you can use Gorilla Glue on plastic.
Can You Use Gorilla Glue On Plastic?
Gorilla Glue has a vast range of adhesives designed for different tasks and surfaces, but most of us have a bottle of good old Original somewhere in the house. This glue is 100% waterproof and temperature resistant. It’s made from a polyurethane formula that is activated by water.
According to the manufacturers, it can be used on ‘virtually anything,’ which makes it sound like it’s pretty good for plastic. However, there are some caveats.
Original Gorilla Glue is not very good at sticking together rubber items or plastics with a high rubber or oil content – so definitely not great for soft plastics. In general, Gorilla Glue can’t permeate the plastic surface and create a chemical bond; the adhesive between plastics won’t be strong enough to hold.
It also isn’t recommended for use on polypropylene or polyethylene plastics. What are those, you might ask?
What is Polypropylene Plastic?
Polypropylene is a thermoplastic often used in consumer packaging, especially for cleaning agents and first-aid products. Thanks to its high resistance, it is also used in electronic components. It’s a ubiquitous plastic in the household, used for everything from toys, outdoor furniture, shampoo bottles, and food containers.
As you can see, this makes a lot of household plastics on which standard Gorilla Glue will be less effective. However, Gorilla Glue Super Glue can work on polypropylene plastic, but it’s not recommended, and the bond will not hold for long. The super glue bonds might hold longer for more minor repairs.
What is Polyethylene Plastic?
Another polymer that’s pretty common around the house and is one of the most common plastics in use today. You’ll find it in plastic bags and containers like plastic bottles.
You’ll want to try Gorilla Glue’s epoxy if you want to repair high-density polyethylene such as the type used in buckets and detergent bottles. You can use epoxy or plastic cement for other high-density polyethylene products like toys and bottles.
If you use super glue, it will usually hold temporarily. Gorilla Super Glue sets very fast – hardening in just 45 seconds – and some users have found it works perfectly well on plastics.
Is Gorilla Glue Safe on Plastic?
While Gorilla Super Glue can safely be used on plastic, it’s unlikely to form a permanent bond, and depending on the plastic, some fixes may last only a little longer than others. It’s usually a better option for gluing plastic than the original Gorilla Glue.
However, when using Gorilla Glue or Super Glue, the best idea is to wear plastic disposable gloves, as the glue can be very annoying and difficult to remove if it sticks to your skin.
Never ingest any glue, including Gorilla Glue or Super Glue, so never put glue near your eyes or mouth. Work on your repairs in an area with good ventilation, as the fumes from the original Gorilla Glue can be harmful.
Does Gorilla Glue Damage Plastic?
Gorilla Glue does not penetrate or change the chemical nature of plastic, so it is safe to use and will not damage the plastic. Unfortunately, the bond is unlikely to be permanent, so you are better off using epoxy for permanent repairs on most plastics.
To make the bond more permanent, it helps to use sandpaper to roughen the plastic surface to give the glue a more porous surface to bond. In this case, the plastic surface will be marked. Dried glue may need to be sanded or chiseled off, which can ruin the plastic.
How Long Does Gorilla Glue Take To Dry On Plastic?
Once you have applied the Gorilla Glue and joined the plastic pieces together, the glue will not hold immediately as it needs to harden and set.
Gorilla glue is applied to a clean, dry surface. The other surface is moistened, pressed against the dry surface, and clamped or held to give the glue time to dry.
It takes an initial one to two hours for the Gorilla Glue to create a sticky bond, but it can still be broken at this point. For the glue to completely dry out and cure, you should leave it for at least another 24 hours.
How Long Does Gorilla Glue Hold On Plastic?
How long Gorilla Glue will hold plastic together will depend on several factors. How you prepared the surfaces before bonding, how well you allowed them to cure, and the kind of forces and weather the join area experiences will all affect the lasting time.
A Gorilla Glue bond will not stand up well to a hard blow or strong shear forces, and it is water resistant, not waterproof, so constant dampness will weaken the bond. However, some people have found that the plastic items they repaired with Gorilla Glue still held firm five years later.
Gorilla Glue requires moisture to set, which is why you dampen the one connecting surface before joining the surfaces together. If you don’t do this, and if there is no moisture in the air, Gorilla Glue will not set correctly, and the join will be weak and not hold.
Conversely, moisture in the air can cause Gorilla Glue to set inside the bottle and make it useless, so always recap it tightly after use.
Gorilla Glue is not the ideal glue for joining plastics, though it can be a decent temporary measure if the surfaces are appropriately prepared. If you are gluing small plastic sections together, the bond is more likely to last longer than on large areas.
If you need to glue larger sections of plastic together and need a more permanent bonding solution, then you may prefer to use Gorilla Glue two-part epoxy to create a stronger bond on your plastic.