Monday, March 19, 2018

Yup, It Works!

Recently I was working with some West System epoxy (this was on a car project, not a boat project, but no matter).

Nobody who has worked with epoxy has ever, ever come out of the project with clean hands.  Come on, admit it.  Your hands were sticky when you were done.

In the past I've used a variety of solvents to clean off the mess.  Most worked, but most were also harsh. 

I had read in the past that vinegar (a 5% solution of acetic acid in water) was effective as an epoxy hand-cleaner.  But I never believed it.  Come on, a water-based solvent effective on an organic sticky mess?  Ha!

Well, the joke's on me. 

Universal goodness
I tried it, and it worked!  And by "worked", I mean that it literally washed away the black sticky, partially cured mess on my fingers and hands.  As effectively as if it had been maple syrup...  no!  More effectively!

(Of course, once the epoxy is fully cured, it is cross-linked.  That is, the entire bulk of the epoxy is essentially a single molecule of unimaginable molecular weight.  No solvent can dissolve it, tho some may infiltrate and swell it, weakening it.)


Deb said...

They keep a gallon jug of vinegar in the sink here at the shop just for that purpose. Much better than acetone!!

SV Kintala

Rick said...

I started using vinegar a couple years ago because I had heard it would cut uncured epoxy. I was looking to save some wear and tear on my hands and skin. I found that it actually seemed that leave my hands softer and moister after washing them in vinegar. So much better than they felt after using acetone.

Drew Frye said...

Yup, one of the main epoxy tricks. I hate vinegar on a salad, but it is always in the epoxy kit. If it is a long project, take a break every hour to wash your arms and wipe down the working area.

I read something scholarly that concluded that it could increase skin absorption and risk of becoming sensitized, so wear gloves and try to keep the epoxy off your hands.

A few more epoxy tips here:

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