Close this search box.
Reasons Why You Should Never Lick Envelopes

4 Reasons Why You Should Never Lick Envelopes

Have you ever sealed an envelope with a swift lick and sent it on its way without a second thought? If so, you might want to reconsider. This seemingly harmless act may have hidden health risks that are bad for you.

Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t lick an envelope.

1. There May Be Bacteria on the Surface of the Envelope

The surface of an envelope is not the cleanest place. It’s been handled, shuffled around, and possibly stored in less than ideal conditions.

Imagine a dusty storeroom, teeming with all sorts of critters. Cockroaches, for instance, could have scurried across your envelope, leaving behind a trail of bacteria and possibly even eggs.

Now, picture yourself licking that envelope. Not so appealing anymore, right?

The truth is, you never really know where your envelope has been or what it has come into contact with. Bacteria are everywhere, and some of them can cause diseases. By licking an envelope, you’re potentially introducing these harmful bacteria into your body.

2. Glue May Contain Harmful Chemicals

Here’s another reason to put your tongue away. The glue used to seal envelopes is typically made from gum arabic, a natural substance derived from the sap of acacia trees. Sounds not toxic, right? Well, not all gum adhesives are created equal.

Some manufacturers may add additional chemicals (not food grade) to their glue to improve its performance. These chemicals could be harmful if ingested.

While the amount of glue you consume when licking an envelope might seem negligible, consider this: if you’re someone who deals with a lot of paperwork, those tiny amounts could add up over time.

Moreover, some people may have allergic reactions to the components of the adhesive. Symptoms can range from a mild tingling sensation in the mouth to more severe reactions like swelling or difficulty breathing.

3. The Risk of Paper Cuts

This might seem like a minor concern, but it’s worth mentioning. The edge of an envelope can be surprisingly sharp.

A quick lick could result in a painful paper cut on your tongue. Not only is this unpleasant, but it also opens up a direct route for bacteria and other pathogens to enter your bloodstream.

4. The Unpleasant Taste and Smell

Lastly, let’s address a less serious but equally valid reason – the unpleasant taste and smell of envelope glue. Many people find the flavor of envelope adhesive to be off-putting. It’s a strange mix of bitterness and chemical undertones that doesn’t exactly make for a pleasant experience.

Also, the smell of the glue can be quite strong and linger in your mouth and nose long after you’ve sealed the envelope. This can be particularly bothersome if you’re sensitive to smells or have a keen sense of taste.


So, the next time you’re about to seal an envelope with a lick, pause for a moment. Consider the potential health risks and the unpleasant sensory experience. There are safer and more enjoyable alternatives available, like using a sponge or a glue stick.

These small changes in our habits that can lead to significant improvements in our health and comfort.

More To Explore