Cleaning Off the Goop
March 8, 2004 6:08 AM   Subscribe

Possibly unanswerable question: I was working with this and I didn't wash it off fast enough with the right stuff. It's a polyurethane based gunk and I can't get it off my hands. Any tips on cleaning nasty, oil based, sticky, slippery goop off my hands now that it has dried? BTW, the truck looks great with it applied. :)
posted by ajpresto to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Try some of this family of cleaners, available in your local Home Despot.
posted by tomierna at 6:13 AM on March 8, 2004

Isopropyl may not remove all of the stuff at once, but it's a start. Turpentine's another option.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:43 AM on March 8, 2004

I'm thinking you're really going to regret not wearing gloves.

The other week I had a slow leak in a tire. Used some of that goop-injecting crud that seals slow leaks. Got it on my hands. Had crunchy nasty peeling itchy skin for about three weeks. Probably end up with finger cancer next. Ugh.

For many hand-cleaning tasks, I've found that citrus-based pumice cleaners do the trick really well.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:31 AM on March 8, 2004

Peanut butter really works - the oil acts as a mild solvent and the peanuts act as grit. Put a big dollop on your hands and keep working it. Wash the resulting mess off with soap and water. Rinse, lather, repeat.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:36 AM on March 8, 2004

I tried goof-off once when I got latex paint on my car... absolutely useless. Someone recommended something called "mother's" or something like that, but other than that I'm stumped. I was told that latex paint, requiring a porous surface, would eventually just come off an enamel-surface car paint, but a year later no luck. So if anyone has extensive solvent knowledge, let me know as well if there's anything that gets latex paint of car enamel without killing the finish.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:47 AM on March 8, 2004

Oh, and the actual question: ajpresto: I wouldn't recommend using anything to clean your hands that's non-organic. Likely a chemical mixing like that on your skin could be acidic and actually scar your hands.

The body produces natural oils, which by far are the best natural substance to remove whatever's stuck on them. If you're going nuts and need to use something, either peanut oil or a citrus-based cleanser. But for the love of your own flesh do NOT use a chemical solvent to clean your skin. I've got a permanent scar on my arm that serves as a lesson from this mistake. You could scar yourself permanently, if whatever's on your hands hasn't done that already.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:51 AM on March 8, 2004

Xq: I should think you can scrape it off with a plastic scraper.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:29 AM on March 8, 2004

I agree with XQUZZYPHYR: stay away from solvents. I work in a chem lab all day with fuels, solvents and the like. Oil-based solvents (thinners, varsol, diesel, kerosene, pet. ethers, acetone, even alcohols) are all terrible for your skin. May of these will cause "burns", damaging your skin. Even those that don't will dry out your skin causing at worst cracked skin (with weeping sores to follow) to flaking and chapping that will last for weeks. Solvents are bad news for skin. Use nitrile gloves (the green ones) if you work with petroleum- or oil-based materials. If you spill some on your hands wash with plenty of soap and water as soon as you can.

For cleaners in the labs, we use pumice hand cleaner cream, available in any hardware or auto parts store. If that doesn't take it off, you're best simply waiting for the skin to come off: one to three weeks.
posted by bonehead at 11:57 AM on March 8, 2004

So this explains why washing soaking my hands in mineral spirits on a mission trip to wash oil-based paint off my hands burned like a mad mo'fo'. Then, again, once the burning subsided from washing off the paint, nobody was left with scars or anything like that.
posted by jmd82 at 1:22 PM on March 8, 2004

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