CA Glue Safety: Natural Materials

One little-discussed risk around CA glue is the fact that it will cause an exothermic reaction (heat/fire) when it comes into contact with natural materials like cotton, leather, wool, etc. — which includes things like your jeans, T-shirt, paper towels, etc.

The reaction can be fast, and depending on the amount, you could burn yourself or release a smoke that will irritate your lungs.

Please be very careful if you are working in a T-shirt or jeans — the safety data sheets for CA glues will tell you not to wear them while using CA.

I found this the hard way when applying CA with a paper towel, not thinking about what it was made from: I had put some accelerator on my pen body and started to apply the CA and my fingertips got suddenly very hot.

Luckily I did not get burned, and I solved my problem by slipping on a pair of gardening gloves which provided just enough insulation for my fingers given the small amounts of CA I was using — but it caught me by surprise, and I was glad it wasn’t worse.

Since then I have switched to using cut up pieces of something like this item: Non-Stick, Waxed Food-Grade Squares

The glue slides a bit more when using it, but I like not having it soaking through the paper towel or risking the heat/smoke if I’m not careful.

To protect my jeans and other fabric around me, I use a polyethylene sheet cut into appropriate-sized pieces. Here’s an example: HDX 10 ft. x 25 ft. Clear 6 mil Plastic Sheeting


All my “Before you start” with CA glue articles:


None of the information here is certified or warrantied in any way. I am a hobbiest and sharing the best information I’ve learned, but I may be 100% wrong on everything and your safety is always your responsibility and you should verify and confirm information for yourself. Where possible I have included links to serve as a starting point for research for you.

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