OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effect of evaporation of primer components on the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of primer-adhesive mixtures. METHODS: The UTSs of 1:3 by weight primer-adhesive mixtures and of the pure adhesives (controls) were measured after 0-, 2-, 5-min and 24-h storage in a 37 degrees C oven for the three-step etch&rinse adhesive OptiBond FL (Kerr) and the two-step self-etch adhesive Clearfil SE (Kuraray). RESULTS: Evaporation of primer components increased with time for both adhesives investigated. OptiBond FL showed a higher evaporation of primer components than Clearfil SE at the 2-, 5-min and 24-h storage time. As compared to the pure adhesive, the UTS of the primer-adhesive mixture was lower after 0- and 2-min storage for OptiBond FL and after 0-, 2- and 5-min storage for Clearfil SE. The UTS of OptiBond FL was higher than that of Clearfil SE at the 0- and 2-min storage time, though there was no difference at the 5-min and 24-h storage time. SIGNIFICANCE: The degree of evaporation of primer components depended largely on the primer solvents employed. The significant decrease in UTS of adhesive resin when mixed with primer must be attributed to incomplete evaporation of primer components. Complete evaporation of solvents is hard to achieve, even by thorough air drying.