Getting epoxy off skin

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by DogCavalry, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. DogCavalry
    Joined: Sep 2019
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    So, this is a thing for me every day. Surgical gloves last 10 minutes. Dishwashing gloves last an hour. Heavier gloves last a day. And there's alway epoxy on me somewhere. I'd been washing it off with acetone, but I just discovered that canola oil works just as well. Funny that. What do the people who are smarter than I am use?
     
  2. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Vinegar.

    But I only use thickster gloves.

    You will probably regret skin contact.

    After say 30 exposures from degloving, I got a poison ivy like reaction on the wrist.
     
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  3. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    Thickster gloves? Thicker gloves?
     
  4. antonkov
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    antonkov Junior Member

    For a long list of epoxy benefits, it has one main drawback, which is toxicity and it has a cumulative effect like a dose of radiation. This may not be an issue on a short project but for something taking years it could be a deal-breaker. Once one develops an epoxy allergy, any new exposure makes a bigger deal than before and usually it is too late to change the project chemistry. It should not be on the skin, if you are trying different detergents or solvents, you are going the wrong path.
    I use 9mil nitrile gloves from Harbour Freight (Grease Monkey), they last one work stage, which, if planned well, takes an hour or two.
     
  5. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    Yeah. I'm at Watson gloves now.
     
  6. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    DogCavalry likes this.
  7. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    I'll see if I can find them. Watson gloves closed. Damn. Got a bundle of heavy gloves for petrochemicals.
     
  8. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    -Liquid glove skin coating to protect from pinhole or outer glove failure
    -Wrist bands/cuffs protection during degloving
    -Chemical resistant gloves
     
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  9. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    I use nitrile gloves, but like you I always seem to get some epoxy on my fingers. I usually use straight acetone but I have also found that my wife's fingernail polish remover works well and contains far less acetone, and has other ingredients that make it a lot easier on your skin. It's really good for small spots of epoxy on fingers.
     
  10. cracked_ribs
    Joined: Nov 2018
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    cracked_ribs Junior Member

    What, like permanently or just today?

    I once took them a bunch of elk skin and had them do up some ropers for me; best gloves I ever had.
     
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  11. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    Just their big store. BC head office had a big store attached. Closed.
     
  12. latestarter
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    latestarter Senior Member

    The advice I have read over the years following expert opinion is to never use solvents on the skin, it actually helps get epoxy into your system.
    What was recommended is to scoop as much as possible off, then wash in warm soapy water.
    Vinegar was safer than acetone for cleaning things.

    Just found this on West System site.
    Cleaning Up and Removing marine grade WEST SYSTEM Epoxy https://www.westsystem.com/instruction-2/epoxy-basics/clean-up-removing/

    Removing Epoxy from Your Clothes
    Removing epoxy resin alone

    Resin should be removed with a rather aggressive solvent, such as one that is MIBK (methyl isobutyl ketone) based. Acetone or lacquer thinner also work but are extremely flammable. Never use solvent directly on your skin. Remove clothing first before treating a spot of resin with solvent. Thoroughly wipe the spot with a paper towel dampened with solvent, then wash with hot, soapy water. Be advised, solvents can permanently change the color of some fabrics and melt others.

    Removing epoxy hardener alone

    Epoxy hardener is the more hazardous of the two epoxy components but is easier to remove. Hardener by itself is best cleaned of with hot, soapy water. Solvents are not effective on these spots. When removing hardener you must take necessary precautions to it keep off of your skin. Using a solvent, even something as “mild” as vinegar, to remove hardener can actually drive it into your skin. Stick to soap and water.

    Removing mixed epoxy resin and hardener

    Believe me, if you allow mixed epoxy to cure, it will. The spot will eventually crack and then you’ll have a hole in your pants. When you get mixed epoxy on fabric, get at it immediately. First, place a piece of plywood behind the stained area, apply a dab of waterless skin cleanser to the spot, and scrape with a coin. Repeat four or five times. Then scrub with dish soap and a stiff fingernail brush. If there is still epoxy in the fabric, it will usually show up as a white spot. Repeat this procedure until the spot disappears, then rinse thoroughly. Be careful, as this approach can produce wear spots in some fabrics.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
  13. container
    Joined: May 2019
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    container Junior Member

    white vinegar works as well as acetone but without all the attacking your nervous system business
     
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  14. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    Less attacking is good.
     

  15. leaky
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    leaky Senior Member

    Vinegar followed by soap and water, the sooner the better.

    If you look around Ebay, Amazon, or Ocean State Job Lot (here the issue is aholes like me buy the whole lot of XL's) you can find simple non hood tyvec suits for about $2. Sometimes you need to buy 25 at a time. That keeps the stuff generally off you.

    Other options, old button up shirts work great at protecting arms and wrists.

    Generally the more experience you get the cleaner you are while working but some jobs (ie tabbing in under a V berth) just suck.

    I can use it OK but my sensitivity to epoxy is to the point I need a respirator 100% of the time around it otherwise my head and chest feel funny for hours after, I can distinctly smell it and can distinguish West System from say System III. In the beginning I thought it all had no smell. It may not seem so but it is a lot worse than working with styrene products, keep that in mind.
     
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