How Long Does Rubber Cement Take To Dry And How Can You Remove It?

Blog, Construction, Residential

When you talk about adhesives used in home construction, rubber cement comes to mind. It is one of the most used because of its ability to form a temporary or permanent bond. But how quickly does this bond form, or how long does rubber cement take to dry?

The exact time it takes for rubber cement to dry depends on the thickness of the cement layer. Also, the surface on which the rubber cement is used can play a huge role in how long it takes to dry.

In this article, I will write about rubber cement, its benefits, how long it takes to dry, and how to remove contact cement after it dries. I will also address other questions related to rubber cement and its drying time. So, keep reading to find out.

What is rubber cement?

Rubber cement is an adhesive made of rubber. It is widely used for various types of domestic tasks, ranging from repairing things to other kinds of DIY projects. Rubber cement can form either a temporary or permanent bond between two surfaces. For permanent bonds, rubber cement is applied to both surfaces. While for temporary bonds it is applied to only one surface.

Rubber cement contains compounds like Acetone, Heptane, Isopropyl, alcohol, Paradichlorobenzene, and Trichloroethane. Some of these substances are harmful; some are abused, so you must present an ID to the store owner before you purchase.

What are the benefits of rubber cement?

Rubber cement has numerous benefits that make it so common in different households. Some of the benefits are;

  • It is inexpensive
  • Can form a temporary or permanent bond
  • It dries fast 
  • Used for domestic projects
  • It can be removed easily

Is rubber cement the same as contact cement?

Although these two adhesives share similar properties, they are different. Some of the differences between these two adhesives are;

  • Usage: Rubber cement is used for domestic projects and works best on lightweight materials like paper. Contact cement, on the other hand, is used for greater-weight materials, such as metal, plastics, etc.
  • Strength: Contact cement is more durable than rubber cement. This is why contact cement is used for industrial projects, and rubber cement is used mostly for domestic projects.
  • Temperature tolerance: Regarding temperature, contact cement is more heat resistant than rubber cement. Rubber cement is likely to melt due to heat.

How long does it take rubber cement to dry?

One of the main benefits of using rubber cement is the drying time. A thin rubber cement layer takes 2 – 5 minutes to dry. A thick layer may take anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes

Also, the kind of surface may play a huge role in how long rubber cement dries. For example, using rubber cement on paper surfaces will take 3 – 4 minutes. At the same time, using rubber cement on tires may take as long as 15 minutes until it dries.

Can you remove rubber cement?

Occasionally, an accident occurs, and one can smear rubber cement on another surface. The good news is that rubber cement is removable; follow the steps below.

Step 1: Apply petroleum jelly to the surface

Petroleum jelly works wonders against rubber cement. It helps soften it so it can be peeled off easily without ruining the surface. Apply the petroleum jelly on the affected surface and leave it for at least 5 minutes before entering step 2.

Step 2: Scrape or peel it off 

After the rubber cement softens, you can scrape or peel off the rubber cement from the surface. If any residue remains, you can wash it away with warm water and soap.

Is rubber cement safe to work with?

Rubber cement is non-toxic, and one can work with it freely. However, you must refrain from inhaling directly or ingesting rubber cement. It contains solvents such as heptane, acetone, and toluene. Breathing in large amounts or ingesting these solvents is highly dangerous (especially for kids). This is why sellers will not sell without first confirming the customer’s age.

Is rubber cement safe on the skin?

The major damage that comes with rubber cement is if it is inhaled or ingested. However, if rubber cement does come in contact with your skin for a long time, it can lead to minor skin irritation.  For this reason, it is best to use gloves when working with rubber cement to protect your skin.


Does rubber cement dry hard?

Rubber cement dries quickly and hard yet is still flexible.

Is rubber cement permanent?

Rubber cement can be either permanent or temporary, depending on its application. If applied on both surfaces, it forms a permanent bond, but if applied on only one surface, the bond will be temporary.

How do you know if rubber cement is dry?

Try pulling away the two surfaces gently; if there is no legginess, the surface is dry.


Rubber cement is a great tool for DIY projects or other domestic crafts. It takes less than 5 minutes to dry if applied lightly. When applied in large amounts, it takes less than 15 minutes. But you must note that as useful as rubber cement is, you should handle it cautiously. It contains substances that are harmful when inhaled in excess or ingested.

For this reason, one must be careful when using rubber cement. Do not apply directly on your skin, inhale, or ingest. Additionally, keep away from the reach of kids.

You might also find this article about concrete poisoning interesting.

Thanks for reading this article.

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Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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