Tips for Working with Epoxy
Before getting into the ins and outs of epoxy removal, let’s cover a few ground rules. Following them will make cleanup as easy as possible.
- Wear gloves while working with epoxy. This can reduce the chances of needing to use any of the following removal tricks.
- Wash epoxy off your skin as quickly as you can. It’s much easier to remove this material if it hasn’t cured yet.
- Seek emergency medical attention if epoxy gets in your eyes.
- Start with the gentlest approaches to epoxy removal before using stronger products.
- After getting rid of the epoxy, be kind to your skin. Applying soothing hand lotion can help tame any redness or irritation.
Now that the basics have been covered, let’s jump into your options from removing epoxy from your skin.
How to Get Epoxy off Hands
As soon as you notice epoxy on your skin, head to the sink to work on removing it. Soap and warm water are some of the best — and most convenient — tools you have for tackling this problem.
Use warm water and give your sudsy hands a good rub. That might be enough to lift the epoxy away from your skin. If you need some additional friction, scrub lightly with a soapy washcloth.
If soap and water aren’t doing the trick on their own, you may need to add a product to boost the cleaning power. There are several different options you can try. Many of them are household products that you may already have on hand.
Do you have a bottle of vinegar in your kitchen? You can use it to loosen the epoxy from your skin. Pour a splash of vinegar onto a rag. A paper towel or a cotton ball would work too.
Rub the rag over the epoxy. The acid should help soften it. Then, with a bit of soap and water, you may be able to peel it gently from your skin.
Baking Soda Paste
Friction can be useful when it comes to getting epoxy off your hands. You can make a gritty paste that will increase the friction as you rub.
Start with dry hands. Pour a scoop of baking soda into them. Follow it up with a squirt of dish soap. Rub your hands together so that the two ingredients combine into a thick paste. As you scrub, the epoxy should loosen so that you can wash it away.
If you don’t have any baking soda on hand, perhaps you have sugar. You can use it to make a sweet scrub for your hands.
In a container, mix four parts sugar with one part cooking oil. Stir the ingredients thoroughly. Scoop a dollop into your hands, and massage it against the epoxy-covered spot. The sugar’s grit may help loosen the bond between your skin and the epoxy.
Sugar scrubs are great for softening rough skin, so store any leftovers to use for an at-home spa experience.
Nail polish remover is often made of acetone. If you need something stronger than vinegar or a homemade scrub, you can try acetone instead.
Pour nail polish remover on a paper towel or a cotton ball. Go back and forth over the epoxy with the acetone-soaked material. Use soap and water to rinse your hands.
Nail polish remover is safe for contact with your skin, of course, but you’ll still need to take some precautions with this method. For one thing, use the remover only in a well-ventilated space. Also, be sure to keep it away from open fire since it’s flammable.
Mechanics often use citrus-based degreasers, also known as citrus-based waterless hand cleansers, to cut through the grease on their hands. These products can be useful for ridding your hands of epoxy, too.
Apply a small bit of the cleanser to the affected area and rub it in. Alternatively, you can put the cleanser on a cloth and rub that over the epoxy spot. Use water to help rinse away the cleanser and the loosened epoxy.
Yes, this tip might require a trip to the store if you don’t keep citrus-based degreasers on hand. But if that’s what it takes to get rid of your epoxy problem, it will be worth the trip.
Ideas to Avoid
You might be tempted to use paint thinner or methylene chloride stripper on your hands to quickly remove epoxy paint or adhesive. While those products are useful for removing epoxy from surfaces, they’re not designed for use on human skin. Applying them directly to your hands could be unsafe.
Instead, stick with the methods suggested above. With soap, water and a few household products, you should be able to get your hands clean in no time!
Learn more: How to clean epoxy floor