Why Use Super Glue?

Close A Cut With Super Glue

Right after duct tape I would have to say that super glue is a man’s best friend (besides your dog that is).

Super glue, or Cyanoacrylate as it is properly named, is an incredibly diverse tool in and of itself.  It is relatively cheap yet versatile.  It is easy to carry with you but quick to deploy.

This substance was actually discovered during WWII when the gun manufacturers were looking for materials to make gun sights.  Then it was rediscovered in the 1950’s for other uses, and the rest is history!

The Story of Super Glue

As an avid backpacker and camper (real backpacking camping and not with a trailer or mobile hotel), I have used super glue to repair tents, backpacks, equipment, and just about everything.  Think about all of its uses: it can repair weapons, electronics, tools, and all kinds of things that might break or fail when you really need them to work.

Now there are a few limitations with super glue.  Once opened the shelf life is probably only a month, but left unopened it can last a year or more.  Make sure you rotate your stock of tubes so you have fresh glue readily available in case of emergency.

First Aid Uses for Super Glue:

As a warning, this is for informational purposes only. You should always seek out medical help when it is needed. 

If you have a cut that needs a quick repair until you can have a medical practitioner stitch you up then super glue might be the answer to your problem and put a quick stop to the bleeding.  Emergency rooms keep a certain type of  “medical adhesive” on hand for occasions just like this!

I first learned about this in a very unfortunate way…my son cut his forehead once when he got into an argument with the refrigerator (yes – he lost) when he was about three years old and the emergency room glued his forehead cut shut instead of using stitches. I couldn't believe how quickly he stopped bleeding, not to mention the fact that I didn't have to worry about him freaking out abou tthe doctor “sewing his head shut.”  It was quick, painless, and we were out the door in no time! (How often do you get to say that about a trip to the ER?)

Studies have shown that medical adhesives take 75% less time to stop bleeding than traditional sutures… in a crisis, this could be an absolute lifesaver!

So how's it done?

Here's a great video that shows you how to quickly and easily seal a wound with super glue:


  • Use super glue instead of bandages with shallow lacerations less than 3/4 of an inch in length, but only bleeding is minimal.
  • Preferably, buy medical-grade superglue like Dermabond or NuSkin. In a pinch, Krazy Glue or regular off-the-shelf super glue should work too
  • Pinch the wound together and use the glue to seal the edges, you’re not looking to fill the wound with glue


  • Don’t overdo it! Use the adhesive sparingly. While superglue does inhibit bacterial growth, it also stops your skin breathing. Use only as much as you need to cover the entire wound in a light layer.
  • Don’t use superglue as the answer for everything. If bleeding is heavy, don’t think more superglue will magically stop.
  • Do not use super glue if you think the cut may already be infected. It won’t help and could make the infection worse. If you even remotely suspect your cut might be infected, go see a professional.
  • Only use super glue on “clean” cuts. (This has nothing to do with sanitary matters!) If the cut is jagged, rough, or torn, stitches are most likely a better option.

I need to remind you that off-the-shelf superglue is not the exact same as a medical adhesive like Dermabond or NuSkin, but they are very similar.  If you can, go ahead and spring for the actual medical adhesive (it's much more flexible and causes less irritation than super glue) but in a survival situation you might not have the option and in that case, it's up to you to decide what's right for you.

One other thing you should have near your super glue supply is some acetone or nail polish remover; that will help you clean up any accidental spills (or in my case accidentally gluing my fingers together..)

So when putting together your bug-out bag or your home survival supplies, remember that a few tubes of super glue might be a lifesaver.

Super glue is incredibly cheap, takes up almost no space, and can you name another tool that can repair you AND your gear at the same time?

Have you ever had to use super glue to close up a wound?  Let me know in the comments below.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

6 Responses to :
Why Use Super Glue?

  1. Rex says:

    If you get superglue in other surfaces that NOT the intended… use the corner of a paper tissue to absorb most of it without getting glued togheter.
    If you need to repair some material that not bind with the glue itself, try adding some fibers, like cotton, creating some kind of ‘fiber-reinforced’ plastic.

  2. Alan McKay says:

    FYI someone stole your content


  3. disqus_tKlEuAw2uq says:

    youtube id=”Enter video ID (eg. USHZZ5bwASU)” width=”620″ height=”360″ site does not ork, does not come up

  4. bill price says:

    add various filings (plastic, bone, metal) to make a (very) quick drying filler material with much more strength than the ca glue itself. even baking powder works, but plastic/bone give much stronger filler.

    stay well; stay safe!

  5. Bob says:

    Well, I watched a yard worker @ the lumber Yard glue his cut closed using of the shelf superglue –
    > for a tough old guy, he did swear a bit and danced a short jig till the burning stopped. I’ll stick with pressure and bandages till I find the medical stuff.

  6. Butch Biggs says:

    I’m 65 years old and have used super glue to fix cuts on fingers, palms and other parts. I’ve used it quite liberly many time on cuts over inch long on the back of my hands. I don’t believe I’ve suffered any ill effects from any applications as I still have full use of all appendages. I do mention this to my Dr when I see him. He asks if its medical kind? To which I tell him it’s 4 for a buck at local “Everything’s a Buck”. No use to buy good stuff which goes bad before I use it again!

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