Spray foam can be a Godsend, be it expanding foam, or spray foam insulation, and if you’ve ever had a gap or a crack to fill, I’m sure you’re familiar with how handy a can of great stuff or their competitor’s products can be. It’s one of the most convenient options out there for filling a space, but it can also be one of the messiest.
How do you remove spray foam from your hands?
If it’s still wet, you can easily remove spray foam from your hands with a solvent. We recommend a common solvent below. If it’s dry, you can soak your hands in warm water and scrub with a pumice stone.
There are two optimal times to remove the pesky polyurethane foam from the skin–those either being as soon as it gets on your skin while it’s still wet or waiting to remove it until after it cures. Either of these methods will work, but it really comes down to what materials you have in your area when the foam first contacts your skin.
The first method that I am going to cover is removing the foam while it’s still wet. This is the best method of removal as it gets the spray foam completely off in a few seconds and it uses that little blue can that seems to fix everything–that’s right, WD-40.
Removing Spray Foam With Solvents
This is the best method when it comes to removing spray foam from your skin. Not only does it save you from having to potentially painfully peel the dried foam from your skin, but it gets the wet foam completely off in seconds, allowing you to save time and get back to work.
First off, I always recommend wearing gloves when you use spray foam, but if it happens to slip your mind and you find your hands covered in the sticky goop, here’s what you do.
- Grab a can of WD-40 and a shop rag, making sure not to track the spray foam around your shop in the process.
- Generously spray the spot(s) that have wet spray foam on them.
- Take your shop rag and wipe the spots making sure to rotate and fold the rag to prevent spreading already removed foam.
- Repeat as necessary.
If you don’t have any WD-40 lying around you can supplement it in this method with acetone, or nail polish remover.
The next method of removal is not the most ideal, but it works, and if you don’t have the items to perform the above-listed method, I guess it’s your only choice. So if you don’t wear gloves, and you don’t have WD-40 or nail polish remover, what do you do?
This is a longer approach to getting spray foam off your skin but the first thing you are going to want to do is to wait for it to dry. If you try to wipe it off with a dry rag, what you will end up doing is just smearing it all over your skin, covering more area, and making it more difficult to remove in the end.
Removing Cured Foam From Your Skin
Once the spray foam is completely cured you can start the steps to remove it from your skin with warm water and soap.
- Wash your hands and soak the area in warm water and soap to soften both your skin and the cured spray foam. Some say petroleum jelly works to soften up the cured foam as well but I find it to be a messy alternative.
- Rub your hands together then try and peel the spray foam from your skin. This may cause some discomfort by way of hair-pulling.
- Repeat these steps until the foam is all gone. You can use a pumice stone or other abrasive tools paired with soap and water to rub the spray foam from your hands.
As I said, this is not the most ideal way to get the job done, but sometimes it’s your only option. It’s important to remember to be gentle while scrubbing your skin as this can remove skin and cause discomfort.
It is important to take precautions when working with spray foam, but if an accident happens and it finds its way onto your skin there’s no reason to panic. You can remove it while it’s wet, with some WD-40 or nail polish remover–or you can wait for it to cure and remove it.
Next time you find yourself needing to fill a space with a can of spray foam make sure you take the time to locate some gloves and wear them because if you don’t you could find yourself in a sticky situation.