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How To Remove Great Stuff From Skin: A Comprehensive Guide

One of the most common ways to take care of cracks and gaps in the house is to spray them with some Great Stuff foam. Once the foam is sprayed, it should cure in a rather short amount of time and stick permanently to almost all surfaces, including your skin. Therefore, it’s probably not a bad idea to figure out how to remove Great Stuff from skin in case your sealing project gets messy.

In this article, you would be introduced to the characteristics of the Great Stuff foam along with the way to remove it safely and effectively. Helpful tips and tricks about the material usages are also listed down below, you should check them out to learn how to handle the foam.  After you get a clear understanding the foam tendencies as well as its applications, you could use the material to good effect without much effort.

Important Note: There are a couple of ways to get wet and dried Great Stuff foam away from your skin. Nonetheless, it’s widely advised that you avoid getting the material on your skin in the first place by wearing suitable protective equipment and clothing. In the usual case, the recommended setup is safety goggles, work gloves and clothes that cover all of your skin.

The Characteristics Of Great Stuff

Great Stuff sealant is a type of polyurethane foam that could expand to fill the shapes of gaps and cracks. Seals that utilize Great Stuff foam are completely airtight and water resistant so they are invulnerable to moisture, allergens, insects,…Because the foam adhere very well to wood, plastic, metal, masonry and other common surfaces, it could be used on a variety of sealing project.

For most of the time, Great Stuff foam would usually become rigid and tack-free within 5 – 10 minutes after being sprayed. After 8 hours, you could start scraping away the excess foam and that should be everything. Thanks to the foam color, it’s quite easy for you to detect its presence. The elasticity of the Great Stuff foam allows it to cope with a certain degree of movement and shifting within the structure without becoming undone.

How To Remove Great Stuff

Prolonged skin contact with Great Stuff foam could lead to issues like irritation, allergic reaction and probably even respiratory sensitization. Seek medical assistance right away if there are severed body reactions to the polyurethane foam.  

When The Foam Is Wet

After being sprayed, the foam should stay wet for a few minutes and this is considered to be the best time to remove the material. If Great Stuff foam gets to your skin, you have to promptly grab a piece of cloth and use it to wipe the sealant off.  Pay utmost attention while you wipe the cloth, you definitely don’t want to spread the foam further by accident.

To deal with the foam residue, you could use polish remover (with acetone), polyglycol-based skin cleanser and corn oil. After that, wash your skin with soap and a lot of water to remove the cleaning agent.  In the case everything goes smoothly, the foam should be no longer on your skin. Nonetheless, if some of the foam remains and become hardened, it’s the time to use other methods.

When The Foam Has Dried

Dried Great Stuff foam could not be removed by solvents and cleanser, you have to mechanically get rid of it For most of the time, pumice stone along with high-quality hand lotions or some petroleum jelly could take care of most of the cured foam. For stubborn foam residues, you should consider using abrasive material like sandpaper to eliminate them. It’s recommended to take thing easy here, you don’t want to cut your skin by mistake.

Great Stuff Application And Usage.

  • Because of the flammable nature of the foam and its vapor, you must not use Great Stuff around heater, furnaces, lighting fixtures and so on. Shut down all nearby ignition sources and open flame while you spray the polyurethane foam.
  • To reduce the accumulation of combustible vapor, you have to increase air circulation by opening all surrounding doors and windows.  In the case you want to spray the Great Stuff foam in a cramped and confined space, it’s advised that you wear a respirator.
  • Each Great Stuff spraying can is designed for one-time use only which mean you have to plan every detail in advance instead of improvising. It only takes around 2 hours after the last spray for the inside foam to seal the can and render it usable.
  • Great Stuff shall expand to fill the hollow space, therefore, you should only fill the gaps and cracks up to 50%. Overfilling would cause the Great Stuff polyurethane foam to expand too much and damage the structural integrity in the process.

2 Easy and Effective Methods to Remove Paint from Plastic

Have you ever painted your walls, and by accident, paint your light switch as well? Plan on changing the color scheme of your miniature soldier collectible? Did your child accidentally splatter paint on your reading glasses? It is a tough job – removing paint from plastic - but sometimes it needs to be done, especially if ruins the aesthetics. A lot of people have this problem, especially miniature figurine hobbyists like me.

There are different ways to remove paint from plastic, from using tools to dissolving it with chemicals. Some chemicals might deform softer kinds of plastic. Tools may scratch the surface of the plastic as well. Being a miniature hobbyist, I have tried scraping off paint, to soaking my figures in brake fluid.

a woman removes old paint in home

Below, I have compiled a list of different ways and methods to remove that unwanted paint from plastic. Some of these may prove to be tedious, but surely, all of the methods will get that paint off. There are many different types of plastic, and the methods below are applicable to most, except of course, plastics that are soft as plastic bags. Also, make sure to follow safety measures when doing the methods below.

Method 1: Using Tools ( Scraping )

What you need:

Any of the following:

  • X-acto / hobby knife
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Razor blade
  • Rags
  • Gloves for protection
  • Vegetable oil (optional)

Exacto knife set

What to do:

Using any of the tools listed above, you can start scraping off the unwanted / excess paint on the surface of the plastic. Make sure you do this lightly, in order not to scratch the surface of the plastic itself. Try scratching starting from an inconspicuous part where scratches on the surface of the plastic won’t be noticeable.

Wipe off the paint residue on the tool you are using and off the surface of the plastic with a slightly damp rag. Wiping the surface of the plastic with the damp rag slightly eases the paint off, and ensures that you are still scraping the paint, and not the plastic surface. You can also use a drop of vegetable oil instead of water to dampen a spot on the rag. Using vegetable oil may loosen up the paint of the plastic.

This method is very slow, but it gets the job done. The sharper the tool, the more effective it is. The scraping method works well with poster paints, water-soluble paints, and especially dried oil paint.

There are some kinds of plastic that are very sensitive to sharp objects, and scratching it would destroy its aesthetics. For these kinds of plastic, you may want to use a stainless steel spoon, or a hard, disposable plastic spoon instead of a sharp tool like a hobby knife. It is also good to have some lights near your work place to ensure precision when scraping off the paint.

Method 2:

Using Chemicals (softening / dissolving)

What you need:

  1. Any of the following (sorted by strength):
    • Denatured / Isopropyl Alcohol
    • All-purpose cleaners like Goo Gone or Simple Green
    • Nail polish remover / acetone
    • Turpentine
    • Any DOT3 Brake Fluid
  2. Rags or Cotton balls or Cotton buds (depending on the size or area of the paint you are removing)
  3. Gloves
  4. Goggles
  5. Face mask
  6. Old newspapers

What to do:

Before handling any of the chemicals, make sure that you will be using extra safety measures – put on your gloves, goggles, and face mask to avoid inhaling the fumes and getting unwanted burns. Work in a well-lighted and well-ventilated area.

Woman removing nail varnish with acetone

There are many other chemicals to remove paint from plastic, but the chemicals listed above are the ones that are the safest, and the ones that are commonly used. Make sure to note that these chemicals are a fire hazard, so avoid putting them near hot surfaces and electric sockets.

Lay out the old newspapers on the floor, to avoid dripping chemicals on it. Make sure you have an extra dry rag in case anything spills or drips.

Wet a small portion of the rag in the chemical you have chosen. You do not want to soak the whole rag, only a small part of it. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the rag to avoid removing paint from anything else, or damaging any other properly painted areas.

Depending on the chemical you have chosen, it may take several passes of wiping it from the surface of the plastic before you see results. Nail polish remover may not be as effective as DOT3 brake fluid, but it is definitely much safer to use.

PRO TIP: If the paint has a direction, for example, a vertical grain, you will want to wipe it with the rag horizontally, and vice versa. Always go against the grain when dissolving paint from plastic. If you don’t see any kind of paint direction, you can do circular movements when wiping it off. This ensures that the chemical remover is distributed evenly and is absorbed properly by the dried paint on the surface of the plastic.

When you start to see the paint peeling or coming off, you will want to wipe it off with a dry rag. You want to use as little of these chemicals as much as possible. Keep your workplace dry, and wipe off excess chemicals. If there is still some paint left after wiping the plastic with your dry rag, do some passes again with the chemicals, until all the excess or unwanted paint is gone from the surface of the plastic.

Softer plastics might deform with stronger chemicals, so make sure you use the weak chemicals first. If the weaker ones like denatured alcohol and acetone don’t work, then you ought to try using the stronger chemicals. These chemicals work well when it comes to acrylic and latex paints. For tougher paints, you might also want to try a combination of softening the paint with chemicals, and then scraping.

DOT3 brake fluid from Amazon

DOT3 brake fluid is used mostly by hobbyists to remove acrylic paint off of their miniature figures. In my own experience of using DOT3 brake fluid in removing paint from plastic, it actually works pretty well, given that it is specifically made for automobiles. It does not melt nor deform the plastic figures, but it might if you have softer kinds of plastic.

Hard plastics (like eyeglass frames or light switches) do not deform when using DOT3 brake fluid or using any of the other chemicals listed above. Keep in mind that DOT3 brake fluid is specially made for automobiles so you must take extra precaution when using it. Same goes for the other chemicals listed above – always take extra care when using them.

Any of the methods listed above will surely get that unwanted paint off the plastic. You can also do combinations of scraping and dissolving for better and faster results. Always take extra care when doing these methods to avoid accidents like burns, cuts, or suffocation. Keep all fire sources away, if possible, and keep these tools and chemicals where children cannot reach them. If you are still not convinced that you can do it yourself, you can always hire a professional, and they will get the job done for you.