How To Remove Spray Foam Insulation From Skin (2021 Guide)

Do you want to learn how to remove spray foam insulation from your skin or hands?

Spray foam is a great product to air seal small areas or to insulate entire homes. But sooner or later, you will likely get some spray foam on your skin.

In this guide, I will go over...

  • A few ways to remove spray foam before it has dried on your skin
  • How to remove spray foam after it has dried on your skin.

Let's get started with this guide!

how to remove spray foam insulation from skin guide

Introduction

Nothing is worse than getting spray foam on your skin. It feels like some type of alien creature has latched onto you. Fortunately, there a few methods that you can try to remove spray foam.

How To Remove Wet Spray Foam Insulation?

If the spray foam hasn't dried yet, you should first carefully wipe it off using a cloth as fast as possible.

One substance that people swear by in removing pre-dried foam is acetone or nail polish remover. If the foam has dried, nail polish remover will help dissolve the spray foam insulation from your skin.

If you don't have acetone, you can also use WD-40, Goof Off, lacquer thinner, or even a gasoline in a pinch. For any of these substances, it is preferable to wash your hands with it outside or in a well ventilated area.

After you have removed as much spray foam as possible, you should immediately wash your hands with soap and water. And since these substances are pretty rough on the skin, it is a good idea to use some high quality lotion as a last step.

Read Also: What Are The Best Spray Foam Insulation Kits?

Two-In-One Cleaning Solution

Another great option to remove spray foam (pre-dried) is to use Great Stuff Dispensing Gun Cleaner.

If you are doing a big spray foam job, Great Stuff Cleaner is a great tool to keep your spray foam gun and nozzles clean. But this cleaner also works great to remove spray foam insulation from your skin before it has cured.

How To Remove Dried Spray Foam Insulation?

If for some reason you weren't able to remove spray foam from your skin before it has cured, there are a few ways to remove dried foam.

Probably the easiest method is to get a washable emery board (nail filer) or pumice stone. This method also works great for superglue that dries onto the skin.

Under the sink, simply keep your hands wet, and with a wet emery board, gently rub the spray foam insulation off of your skin. You can also add a little soap to make it easier.

If you don't have a washable emery board or a pumice stone, you can also use medium to fine sand paper. Just make sure to keep the sand paper wet as you gently rub your skin.

The nice thing about this strategy is your aren't relying on harsh chemicals or solvents to remove the dried expanding foam (which can take a long time). You are physically removing the actual spray foam from your skin rather than dissolving it.

Read Also: What Are The Best Spray Foam Insulation Kits?

Petroleum Jelly

Some homeowners swear by this method. You simply slather on petroleum jelly onto your hands and over the dried spray foam. Then you put your hands into some rubber gloves and allow it to soak onto your skin for a few hours.

An alternative method is to soak your hands in plain hot water until your skin becomes soft. After your hands have soaked in water or petroleum jelly for a while, the dried spray foam should come off much easier.

I would first try to simply remove the foam with regular soap and water. If that doesn't completely remove the foam, I would still use an emery board, pumice stone, or sand paper to finish the job.

Just remember to keep the emery board and your hands wet when removing the cured foam.

how to remove spray foam insulation from skin

Always Wear Gloves & Masks

Always wear gloves when you use spray foam insulation products (or superglue).

In addition to gloves, homeowners should wear a suitable mask to prevent inhalation of spray foam vapors. Spray foam insulation produces isocyanate vapors and aerosols which can be hazardous to your body.

Especially for large spray foam jobs, you want to use heavy duty rubber gloves rather than cheap disposable gloves. The cheap disposable gloves can easily break, and expose your skin to spray foam.

Read Also: What Are The Best Spray Foam Insulation Kits?

Final Thoughts

Spray foam is a great product to air seal and insulate certain areas of the home, especially irregularly shaped areas.

But similar to superglue, if this stuff gets on your skin, it can be a nightmare to take it off. Always take proper precautions when dealing with spray foam, and using heavy duty rubber gloves is highly recommended. If expanding foam does get on your skin, immediately wipe it off with a cloth.

After any loose foam is removed, you can start dissolving any foam residue with acetone, WD-40, Goof Off, lacquer thinner, or similar substance.

If the spray foam insulation has dried on your skin, the best method is to remove it with a wet emery board or wet sand paper. Make sure your hands are wet during this process as well, and be gentle.

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

I am a licensed home inspector in two U.S. states and the founder of Home Inspector Secrets. After performing hundreds of inspections, and seeing thousands of house defects, I realized people would love to have an online resource dedicated to home maintenance. I write detailed home guides and product reviews sprinkled with inspection tips. You can read my bio here.

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Home Inspector Secrets is an online resource for owners, buyers, and sellers to understand all aspects of home maintenance. We have detailed home guides, product reviews, inspection advice, and much more.