How Long Does Rubber Cement Take To Dry?

When it comes to handicrafts or home repairs, rubber cement has a number of applications! If you need a mess-free, fast-drying adhesive to help you with your crafts, this tool is for you! But the real question is, how long does rubber cement take to dry? We've done the research and have the answers for you!

Rubber cement takes about 5 minutes to dry right after application, but it depends upon how thick your application is. A thin layer will dry within 2-5 minutes, but a thicker application will take about 15 minutes or longer.

If you must redo it, don't worry, rubber cement is water-soluble and can be easily removed for reapplication. There's a section down below that addresses this concern!

Now that you know how convenient rubber cement is in its drying time, here are a couple more details you need to know before using one!

A cap and brush from a jar of rubber cement - How Long Does Rubber Cement Take To Dry

How Long Does Rubber Cement Take To Dry?

Rubber cement is a versatile glue that can be really helpful when you need to fix something quickly and easily. You can either choose to temporarily or permanently bond things together, depending on your application.

If you want the glue to bind two surfaces together for an extended period, apply thick adhesive on both sides. But if you wish to temporarily bind the two materials together, spread the rubber cement on one side only. 

After application, do not touch or bend the material. Let it rest so the adhesive can adhere well and stick for a long time. While this generally takes 5 minutes, it may take up to 15 minutes for a thick coat of the adhesive.

Before purchasing rubber cement, you may want to have your ID on hand to verify that you're 18 or older. Some stores check IDs for rubber cement and other products because the solvents added to the adhesive can be abused.

Is rubber cement waterproof?

Rubber cement is moderately water-resistant, but it is not waterproof. It can withstand a certain amount of water on its surface for a short time. 

This is because rubber cement is water-soluble, and while it can make two surfaces stay intact for a period of time, it won't last forever. 

Are contact cement and rubber cement the same thing?

Male glue sniffer on floor with tube of contact cement

Contact cement and rubber cement have similar properties, but they are not the same.

They are both strong adhesives that adhere well to many materials. But their main difference is that contact cement works well with heavy materials such as metal and concrete.  On the other hand, rubber cement is excellent for bonding lightweight materials like paper. We recommend using this for future handicraft projects!

It's also important to note that contact cement is more efficient for bonding two surfaces together for an extended period of time. Rubber cement is mostly for temporary bonding. 

Here are some key differences between the two:

  • Water resistance: Rubber cement is more resistant to water than contact cement.
  • Temperature Tolerance: Contact cement is more heat resistant than rubber cement.
  • Strength: Contact cement is more durable and stronger than rubber cement.
  • Uses: Contact cement is most commonly used in industrial applications, whereas rubber cement is more widely used in home repairs.

Can you remove rubber cement?

Jar of Elmers Rubber Cement

Rubber cement is removable! If you accidentally smear yourself or another material with rubber cement, you can deal with it in three simple steps:

Step 1: Apply Petroleum Jelly

Before you scrape the excess cement off, apply some petroleum jelly to the affected area and leave it on for at least 5 minutes. This softens it up and makes it easier to peel it off quickly.

Step 2: Scrape It Off

Now that the rubber cement is soft, you can scrape it off safely. 

Step 3: Wash Away

To ensure that there's nothing left, wash the residual rubber cement away with warm water and soap. Or you can also opt to wash it in the laundry if some spots are resistant to regular soap.

Is rubber cement safe on the skin?

Rubber cement is made of solvents such as heptane, acetone, toluene, and elastic polymers – things that you should avoid being in contact with your skin for a prolonged period of time. 

But it is safe to say that rubber cement can only cause minor skin irritations and nothing more. It's still better to use a pair of gloves to protect your skin from the adhesive. You can also follow the three steps mentioned above to remove rubber cement on your skin safely!

Is rubber cement toxic?

Rubber cement on its own is non-toxic and is composed of naturally occurring ingredients. Rubber cement is only toxic if used as an inhaler and if ingested - which is why you need to provide an ID proving your age is above 18.

You should avoid inhaling rubber cement because it can damage the airways and lungs. Prolonged exposure will cause long-term damage to the brain. 

Ingesting rubber cement can also be dangerous for your health, especially in large quantities - it can damage your vital organs. If this happens, immediately seek medical help. 

Does rubber cement dry hard?

Unlike many adhesives, rubber cement remains flexible once dried. This is why it's an excellent adhesive for lightweight materials such as rubber!

applying rubber adhesive to the shoe, shoe repair

How to repair shoe soles with rubber cement

Rubber cement is a flexible adhesive even if it dries, so rest assured that you can walk comfortably in your shoes after repairing them with some rubber cement! Here's how you do it:

  • Step 1: Clean the damaged shoe and wear gloves before applying rubber cement.
  • Step 2: Apply a thick coat of rubber cement to the part that needs fixing. Do this about 2-3 times.
  • Step 3: Press the shoe and the sole together. Make sure that you're applying pressure so everything stays intact. 
  • Step 4: Put a heavy object on top of the shoe and let it dry overnight. Please wait until the next day, and voila, it's fixed!

Final Thoughts

A cap and brush from a jar of rubber cement.

Rubber cement is a convenient tool that gets the job done conveniently and mess-free. It takes no longer than 15 minutes to dry and can stick surfaces together for a long time. 

It's certainly a relief to know that such a tool exists – something that can repair and build things for you at home!

We hope you learned something new in this post, and we're happy to be of help to your rubber cement queries!

If you found this article helpful, check out these great posts:

Can You Use Gorilla Glue on Metal? [And How]

How to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress [4 Steps to Follow]

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