Can you eat glue?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat glue?” with an in-depth analysis of glue, the components and different types of glue, and the taste of glue.

Read on to know the potential side effects of swallowing glue. 

Can you eat glue?

No, you can not eat glue. No single type of glue is edible, whether it is a glue stick, white glue, or carpenter’s glue unless it is meat glue added to shrimp noodles and cutlets. And still, you will see quite a few people, particularly children, eating glue as their favourite syrup.

Even though non-toxic glue will not harm your child, If your child swallows a bit of white glue, they may feel mild stomach pain, but there is no need for concern.

But, in case your child is consuming glue for a long time and that too in larger quantities, that is when you need to worry as it can cause obstruction of the intestinal tract.

Components of glue 

Glue is composed of water with a small quantity of polyvinyl acetate, a chemical the molecules of which slide against each other when moist but set firm when dry. This is how they attach everything together. The paste is very similar to glue but is made up of starch (for instance, flour) combined with water.

Most glues made nowadays are obtained from petroleum or natural raw materials, unlike the glue made in the past from animal collagen. 

Popular glues such as Elmer’s or Gorilla Glue are not manufactured from animals and have synthetic and natural components. 

While, in the past, glues have been obtained from horses, it is rarely the case now as they are just not as widespread as they used to be, and there are more reliable alternatives now.

The taste of glue

Every glue has a different taste, based on the components it is made up of, but most glues have a waxy pool-water type of flavour with a mild yet unique taste. 

Different types of glue

Animal Based Glue

Animals have long been used to produce glue, but it is now more practical and often more economical to produce and handle synthetic glues.

The principal component of animal-based glue is collagen.

Collagen is an important building block for ligaments, bones, muscles, tendons, and also skin, for us humans and also animals, all of which will release collagen when boiled and broken down.

Nowadays, if in case the glue is produced from animals, it is essentially obtained from the residual parts of cattle and pigs, after all their useful meat is harvested.

Synthetic Glue

As mentioned before, most glues made nowadays are synthetically produced without the use of animal components.

Most synthetic glues are produced from a mixture of a few elements, for instance, acetone, polyvinyl acetate (PVA), ethanol, and water.

While these are the most basic components found in glue these days, some more additives are also added to extend the shelf life of the product.

The risks associated with swallowing glue

The risks associated with swallowing glue totally depend upon the quantity and the type of glue ingested. 

If your child has consumed some amount of Elmer’s glue, you do not have to worry about the long term gastrointestinal disturbance. Take a deep breath, as anyone who likes to try Elmer’s glue sometimes, is just as fit as any other person.

In case your child has ingested super glue, the possible side effects could include irritation of the mucous membranes, keeping in mind how fast it polymerizes in moist environments, for example, the oesophagus tube. 

However, in many adverse cases, super glue lodges immediately inside the trachea, also referred to as the windpipe, which connects the larynx, ultimately joining the lungs.

What happens after that is pretty dangerous, the air passage can get compromised which can lead to breathing difficulties to the more alarming symptoms of choking, which in medical terms is referred to as asphyxiation.

Can you eat Elmer’s glue?

Elmer’s glue is a generally safe and non-toxic type of glue but that does not mean it is safe for consumption, as it is indigestible. Even if the glue is non-toxic, it can still make you ill leading to digestive problems particularly, when an excessive amount is consumed.

Can you eat Super glue?

Super glue is a strong glue that is composed of cyanoacrylate which is a toxic chemical. Hence, it is not considered safe to consume. Ingesting super glue is way more threatening than consuming Elmer’s glue as the bond that forms is more powerful and usually waterproof.

Super glue is also more difficult to handle in general due to its sound adhesive strength.


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat glue?” with an in-depth analysis of glue, the components and types of glue, and the taste of glue. We have also described the potential side effects of swallowing glue. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.