You don’t have to be a professional to do spray foam insulation. It’s an easy task that every homeowner can deal with. However, if you don’t follow the safety and usage rules, spray foam may end up onto your skin. Removing it, especially if it is cured, is a big challenge. There are not many products that can rid the skin of cured spray foam. In this post we’ll teach you how to get spray foam off hands safely and effectively.
How to remove uncured spray foam
If the spray foam hasn’t cured yet, it’s a chance for you to remove it without much effort. Here is how to do it in a few easy steps:
Use a disposable paper towel to wipe as much spray foam as possible from the skin. Do not use a reusable towel as you will have to throw it away after wiping the spray foam.
Dip a microfiber cloth or a cotton pad in acetone and wipe the wet spray foam off. Use a nail polish if you have it handy as it contains acetone. Perform gentle and repeated motions to loosen the foam. Remember that wet spray foam comes out easily. There is no need to scrub with vigor.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap. To prevent your skin from getting dry, use a moisturizing lotion to restore the oils dissolved in acetone.
How to remove cured spray foam
While removing uncured spray foam is as easy as ABC, dealing with cured foam is a real pain. However, all not is lost if you let spray foam on your skin dry. Here is how to get spray foam off hands if it has hardened.
Scrub the spray foam with pumice stone. The abrasive power of the stone should loosen a significant amount of foam. Do not rub agressively as it may injure your skin and cause pain. Use gentle and repeated streaks until the foam gives up. Then wash your hands with warm water and soap.
Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on the affected area. Carefully slip your hand into a plastic glove so that the layer of petroleum jelly remains intact, and let it sit for one hour.
After one hour, remove the glove and wash your hands with warm water and soap. It should discard the jelly together with the softened foam. Now your hands are clean!
Half-fill a pair of rubber gloves (or one glove if only one hand is affected) with a soapy mixture made of warm water and dish soap.
Clean your hands and gently put the gloves on. Ask someone to help if both hands are stained. Once your hand is inside, wrap tape around the wrist and let soak for 2-3 hours.
When you take off the glove, the foam should be soft and easy to remove. Place your hands under a jet of running water and rub them together to release the pieces of foam. If any foam bites prove stubborn and refuse to come out, scrub them off with pumice stone.
You can also use a commercial solvent to remove hardened spray foam from skin. If you don’t have the needed products at hand or if you don’t want to waste time on foam removal with home remedies, go for a store-bought cleanser. It works faster but you have to follow the usage instructions and safety rules strictly to prevent harmful reactions.
On YouTube, there is a bunch of tutorials with people showing how to remove dried spray foam from the skin. The most interesting suggestions are applying baby powder and rubbing with sanding sponge. There is also an opinion that shaving blade can scrape the cured spray foam off the skin. If you decide to try this method, be extremely careful to prevent injuries.
Tips to protect your skin from spray foam
1. Use gloves and mask
Protective equipment is crucial when doing spray foam insulation. You have to wear gloves to prevent the spray foam from landing on your hands. It doesn’t cause much harm to your skin but it is very difficult to remove. So if you don’t want to spend hours trying to get the foam off your hands, wear protective rubber gloves before proceeding with the insulation. Also, you have to wear a mask. Spray foam particles contain toxins that may harm your body. So you don’t want to inhale them.
2. Don’t let the spray foam cure
If a small amount of spray foam ends up on your skin, you want to remove it immediately, as foam is still wet. In this way, you will expose your skin only to acetone which deals only a light damage to skin by stripping it of some of its naturals oils. If you allow the foam to dry, though, you will have to use way more irritating and painful methods. For example, rubbing the skin with pumice stone whose abrasive surface may cause pain and even scratch the skin if its too sensitive. Keeping hands in soapy water for 3 hours is not a very pleasurable activity either, resulting in wrinkly skin and lost finger plasticity. That being said, your best bet is to remove the spray foam before it starts to cure.
3. Avoid aggressive scrubbing
If you choose to get spray foam off skin with pumice stone or sanding paper, do not scrub with vigor. These tools are abrasive and if you press them hard against the skin, they can injure it. You are much safer using slow and gentle streaks on repeated basis until the foam separates from the skin.
If you wonder how to get spray foam off hands, you will be happy to know that uncured spray foam is very easy to remove. However, you may get in trouble if the foam has dried. Removing cured spray foam is not impossible, but it takes much time and elbow grease. The above-mentioned methods will help you get your hands clean.