Foam sealant removal
December 17, 2005 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Is there any household item that will get foam sealant (the stuff in the can at the hardware store) off your fingers? I tried Lava and it didn't do anything, then I tried vegetable oil and it made it less sticky (except with the bond to my fingers).
posted by hodyoaten to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
Perhaps nail polish remover?
posted by blue mustard at 9:37 AM on December 17, 2005

You'll want something with naptha in it.
posted by odinsdream at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2005

Googone? Just a WAG - never tried it on the sealant stuff...
posted by unixrat at 9:48 AM on December 17, 2005

try using a nail brush and soap
posted by jamie939 at 10:12 AM on December 17, 2005

No. (As far as I know). Before it sets you can use acetone (as mentioned above), but once it sets you're screwed. Basically, you have to either sandpaper it off or otherwise "mechanically abrade" it.

When they say wear gloves with that stuff, they mean it.
posted by true at 10:34 AM on December 17, 2005


Or you could try GoofOff, if for no other reason than the name.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:54 AM on December 17, 2005

Again, get to it before it sets.
I've successfully used grain alcohol to get it out of my hair.
Grain alcohol because I usually don't keep naptha or acetone around the house?
After it sets? Mechanical abrasion. Try a belt sander if you aren't particularly attached to your hands. I've never tried this one because I usually have some high proof crap alcohol lying around.
posted by Seamus at 10:54 AM on December 17, 2005

Out of interest, did you type this with a pencil between your teeth (if your hands are coated I mean)
posted by A189Nut at 11:30 AM on December 17, 2005

washing hands with salt and soap helps a bit (abrasion)
posted by lunkfish at 12:00 PM on December 17, 2005

Yeah, you'll have to wait for it to come off, probably with your skin. That stuff works really really well.
posted by puke & cry at 12:17 PM on December 17, 2005

Supposedly acetone will do it, but in my experience it only worked so well, I was able to get most of it off but basically I had to wait for the skin to die and fall off before it really went a way.

A tiny bit on one of my fingernails stayed until the nail grew out all the way and got trimmed!
posted by delmoi at 1:26 PM on December 17, 2005

Heh. I have the same problem right now. Basically I'm washing with Lava soap about 6x daily, and it's gradually abrading and flaking off. Next time I am definitely using disposable gloves.
posted by dhartung at 1:35 PM on December 17, 2005

Urethane glues and foams are cured by moisture in the air, so the worse thing you can do is try to wash your hands with water before it has cured. It comes off very easily with mineral spirits (paint thinner) before it has cured. After it has cured there is not much you can do. It should wear off in about a week.
posted by JackFlash at 1:35 PM on December 17, 2005

No chemicals ended up working for me when this happened. Took about a week to come completely off of skin, another week to get off of the corners of my nails.
posted by darksquirrel at 2:31 PM on December 17, 2005

I've used this stuff a lot and I've generally had to just let the it wear off (on those occasions where it smeared into my skin and hardened..unavoidable sometimes..). after doing that a couple of times, now I won't even open a can of it without a pair of latex gloves on. also, (OT perhaps but it may help another canned-foam user) I like to buy a couple of feet of clear rubber hose of a diameter small enough to slip/jam over the end of the applicator tube. this allows me to get into some really remote/tight spots which would be impossible just using the short tube each can comes with. in the end, this helps to reduce the awful mess this stuff can cause. one last thing, when a gob lands someplace i dont want it to, i avoid the instinct to clean it up right-that-second and let it harden for a couple hours, then i just tear off the "enlarged mass" and sand off the small bit which remains.
posted by The_Auditor at 2:42 PM on December 17, 2005

i was just using some "Great Stuff" earlier today. I usually just go for a week or so with a hard black clump on my finger but this time I tried scrubbing with some "Goop Orange Scent Hand Cleaner - Lanolin and Glycerin" quite soon after I got it on my fingers and it came right off.

With this stuff you're supposed to scrub with it before getting your hands wet at all so that's probably key. Then wash it all off with soap.

Probably won't help much if you've already let it harden though.

Contents: Isoparafins, Water, Fatty Acid, Surfactants, Glycerine, Lanolin
posted by jacobsee at 10:19 PM on December 17, 2005

Finally, an Ask question I have personal experience with! There is one thing I have found that will soften and remove dried expansion foam. Go to the plumbing section and get a can of 'Purple Primer' - it's a solvent cocktail that you use to clean/soften PVC pipe before using the standard PVC cement. It's nasty stuff, I wouldn't want to use it on my hands everyday, and you probably want to do it outside- dab the solvent on, let it sit for 30 seconds or so, and then you can wipe it off with paper towels. One note- it will stain your hands purple, but that will fade with a few vigorous scrubbings (and it is definitely faster than waiting for the foam to wear off). Best of luck!
posted by gadavis at 8:40 PM on December 18, 2005

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