When epoxy resin gets on your skin or hands, it's important to wash it off sooner rather than later. Although epoxy resin is not a strong chemical, it is considered a mild irritant. For people with a heightened sensitivity to it, the effects can be more concerning.
In this article, we'll provide 4 different methods to remove epoxy resin from your skin or hands.
How to Wash Epoxy Off Your Skin
The first thing to understand is that you should never use a solvent-based cleaner or something highly acidic like vinegar to clean away resin. The reason for this is that these chemicals can destabilize resin that hasn't cured, which actually makes the problem worse by causing the epoxy to be readily absorbed by your skin.
Method #1: Warm Water and Mild Hand/Dish Soap
Your first option, and the most likely to be present in your vicinity, is to simply use warm water and a mild hand soap or dish soap.
Uncured epoxy isn't particularly tough. It's still in its liquid form at this stage, and can be washed away pretty easily with the soap. You just don't want to use a strong soap (which is normally bad for skin regardless), because it can make the epoxy break down and be partially absorbed by your skin.
You can use a little more force by soaking some of the water with a disposable cloth and wiping it away with that. The cloth should pick up any epoxy that isn't sliding off already.
It's best to do your cleaning away from a drain. Ideally you can put the water in a bowl or bucket and wash it away like that, as epoxy should not be poured into plumbing systems.
Method #2: An Orange Hand Cleaner
Your second option is an orange hand cleaner. These are strong, non-solvent cleaners that will almost certainly get the job done. But most people don't keep them around, so this is usually something you'd have to plan in advance.
Once you have it, you're good to go. It can come in handy anytime you have an issue.
Method #3: A Sugar Scrub
Sugar scrubs are simple concoctions made from sugar and a bit of oil. This combination creates a soft abrasive that can dislodge residue from skin and allow you to clear it away.
To make a sugar scrub, gather:
- 2 tablespoons of sugar or brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons of a carrier oil, such as canola, peanut, or olive oil
Then, do the following:
- Mix the ingredients together.
- For 20 to 30 seconds, rub the mixture onto your skin in circular motions. This will loosen/dislodge it.
- Rinse your skin off, then examine it closely. If there's resin still on there, repeat the process until it's gone.
If, after 3 full attempts, any resin still remains on your skin/hands, your best bet is to obtain an orange cleaner, either from a local store, or an online store with fast shipping if local options aren't available.
Method #4: A Salt Scrub
Next up is the option to use a salt scrub. This is more abrasive than a sugar scrub, meaning you'll have a better chance of removal, but anyone with sensitive skin may experience some redness or a rash due to the abrasiveness,
To make a salt scrub, gather:
- 3 tablespoons of sea salt or coarse salt (preferably not table salt)
- 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil, such as canola, peanut, or olive oil
Then, do the following:
- Combine the two ingredients in a small container/dish and mix them together. Use a spoon, fork—whatever utensil you have at hand that seems suitable.
- Rub the mixture onto your skin where the resin is, and make circular motions. After 20 to 30 seconds of this, take a look and see if any resin is still stuck. If so, repeat this step until it isn't.
- If, after several attempts, the resin is still there, you should try to get the orange hand cleaner as soon as possible. This may still be able to help remove it even if the salt scrub couldn't.
Methods You Shouldn't Use
There are a few methods that may seem logical but carry with them risks not worth taking. Below is a list:
- Solvent-based cleaners for skin
- Vinegar, and vinegar-based cleaners
- Disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizers
- Other solvents not intended for skin use
The reason for not using these items is that they're actually too good at dissolving the epoxy. When the epoxy is dissolved, your skin is more likely to absorb the chemicals in it, and that can cause problems.
Always use a proper method for cleaning liquid epoxy off of your skin to ensure no health risks.
How to Prevent Skin Contact When Using Epoxy Resin
You can avoid the issue of skin contact with resin through a couple of simple steps. Here's how:
- Wear a pair of gloves: This one might seem obvious, but it really does work. A pair of quality nitrile gloves will protect your hands from epoxy resin when you're working with it.
- Wear something with long sleeves: If you're worried that you might get resin on your arms, just wear something long-sleeves that you don't mind getting dirty (epoxy is very difficult to clean out of clothing).
- Keep your work area well organized: It's always a good idea to organize your workspace before you start your project. Place items where they can be reached but aren't at risk of being spilled or knocked over.
Mistakes Happen. Stay Prepared.
Everyone has an unfortunate incident at some point. Before you use epoxy resin, it's wise to make sure you're prepared for accidents.
Try to get some orange hand cleaner to keep around your work area. If you have soap and water at hand, that is also a good option. And finally, store your epoxy in a non-humid location when you're not using it.
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