When using a hot glue gun during your next craft project or home improvement task, make sure you and your children stay safe with these glue gun safety tips. There are different safety measures to be taken depending on what kind of glue gun you will be using, but the goal is always to prevent electric shock, skin burns and eye injuries.
Before you begin
The first and most important step to safely using your glue gun is to read the instructions and warnings provided by your glue gun’s manufacturer in or on the original packaging.
A careful inspection of the glue gun should be your next step. Before plugging it in, check to make sure the gun isn’t broken, or too worn. Look for frayed electrical cord or any cracks in the gun or nozzle. If you find these signs of excessive wear, do not use the glue gun. Plug the gun in and check to see if the on/off button (if your gun has one) is working correctly.
Remember that glue guns called “warm” or “low melt” guns can still be dangerous and result in burns or electrical shocks.
Carefully choose the kind of gun you need for your project – if you don’t need a high heat gun, opt for one of the “warm” or “low melt” options to reduce (but not eliminate) your chances of injury.
Prepping your workspace
Keep in mind the people (or pets!) who may be coming in contact with your workspace while you’re working. Make sure your glue gun is placed a safe distance from the reach of children, animals or the inadvertent reach of other adults. Be sure that you don’t use an extension cord with your glue gun and that you don’t leave the power cord hanging where it could be snagged or pulled by children or passers-by. Choose a work area near a power outlet so that you don’t need an extension cord. It’s also important to choose a workspace that’s indoors (never outdoors) and far from sinks, faucets or any kind of water source.
All surfaces in your workspace should be made of, or covered with, non-flammable material. A good option for this is ceramic tile. Place a square of tile, or aluminum foil in the place where you will set down your glue gun when not using, to catch any unintentional drips.
Clear away any loose papers or other materials that could catch fire.
Place a bowl of ice water near your workspace – but NOT near your glue gun – while your working. If you accidentally get glue on your skin, dip the burned area in the cold water.
Some of the most common injuries people experience with glue guns are skin burns, electrical shock and eye injuries. Wearing protection can help eliminate these injuries. Wear safety goggles/glasses to protect against eye injuries. Wear a surgical or dust mask over your nose and mouth if you’re using a type of glue (usually industrial) that gives off fumes. Gloves can be worn to protect against burns, but make sure you use the right kind of gloves. Rubber or plastic gloves can melt, which can potentially lead to an even more serious injury if hot glue comes in contact with them. Leather and canvas are better options. Long sleeve shirts, closed-toe shoes and long pants if you’re sitting down working. Finally, tie back any long hair while working with hot glue guns.
While you’re working
Most importantly, do not touch the hot nozzle or hot glue when working with your glue gun.
Never point the gun in the direction of another person.
Do not leave your glue gun plugged in and unattended – this can be a fire hazard and be dangerous for pets, children or other people who may come in contact with the hot appliance.
When not using the gun, make sure to set it down upright on its metal rack, instead of lying on its side.
If you’re using a dual-temp glue gun, you can change the temperature of the glue depending on what materials you’re using. If you need a stronger bond with materials like ceramics, leather, metal or wood, use a higher heat, but if you’re using more fragile materials like paper, flimsy fabric or lace, leave it on a lower heat setting.
Only use glue sticks that are recommended for your particular glue gun.
Keep your glue gun out of direct sunlight or any moist conditions to reduce the risk of electrical shock or fire.
Don’t pull glue sticks out from the glue gun once the gun is plugged in and glue has begun to melt. Always keep feeding glue through the gun before inserting a new stick in behind it.
Children and glue guns
Keep glue guns out of the reach of children and read safety precautions provided by the glue gun manufacturer. Some low temperature guns are suitable for older children, but only with adult supervision.
When you’re finished
Always unplug the gun when you’re finished with your project or when you need to change the nozzle on your glue gun. With most glue guns, the gun is on and hot whenever it is plugged in, so never leave it plugged in and unattended.
In case of a burn
If you get hot glue on your skin, hold the burned area in ice water. If there is a serious burn, contact a medical professional immediately. Medical attention should also be sought if glue makes contact with eyes.