Help, how do I get 'Great Stuff' foam off my hands?

jb_njMarch 9, 2008

Not sure if this is the right group to post this in, but I am desperate...

I made the mistake of getting "Great Stuff" expanding foam all over my hands and I cannot get it off. Has anyone removed this stuff?

I tried peeling it, but my skin comes off with it. I also tried nail polish remover (acetone) with no effect.

I am starting a new job in a few days I really do not want to show up looking like I have a diseased, mutated hand.

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If you still have the container, see what it recommends, and/or call the company (most have an 800 number somewhere on the containers).

1 Like    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 6:23AM
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I cant believe that acetone wont take it off. Handi-foam also makes a cleaner that works great but might be hard for you to find. Try some paint thinner.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 9:39AM
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There is a cleaner made to remove this stuff. Unfortunately, middle aged memory has set in and I can't remember the name of it. The caulk section of the paint department at Lowe's has it. I tried doing a search online without finding it.

I also have good luck removing stuff with pumice mechanic's hand cleaners like GoJo or Fast Orange. If you have that around, I'd try it first.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 12:03PM
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from the Great Stuff website (the same link you posted). Go to the directions for use tab.

"CLEAN UP: On solid surfaces, uncured foam dissolves with acetone. For skin and solid surfaces, cured foam must be mechanically removed or allowed to wear off in time."

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 9:44PM
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Try this "Foam Sealant Remover" great....available at the bigboxstores......

Here is a link that might be useful: Motsenbecker's Lift Off

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 6:46AM
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Sandpaper should work.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 9:57AM
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acetone(finger nail polish remover) works ONLY if teh GS has not dried. once dry, peel or allowing to wear off is the only thing you can do. next time wear gloves!

BTW, i have used gas to get it off my hands many times, but some people have a worse reaction to the gas on their skin than if they just left it on. if you attempt this, do so outside with no possible ignition sources nearby! the guys at work still give me a hard time about doing this, especially since i am the safety director!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 12:11PM
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that was the stuff I was trying to find. Thanks.

from another AbNorm-al woodworker :0)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 9:13PM
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Thanks for all the ideas. It took about 24 hours, but the foam started to peel off by itself and I peeled the rest off.

They REALLY mean it when they say wear gloves on the bottle. Lesson learned, phew.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 9:36PM
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Not only wear gloves, but make sure you have a cap on, too, if you are working overhead or at any level where you'd get your hair in it! It definitely does not come out of hair and doesn't wear off--you have to cut it out.

I treated one section of a stairwell, and leaned over to get a closer look at another crack when I bumped the fresh foam with the top of my head. The acetone didn't work to get it out of my hair even though I got to it before it set up. I ended up with a *really* short hair cut for a while.....

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 4:36PM
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You don't get it off. As the skin cells slough off, so goes the, Great Stuff. Just have patience.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 6:49PM
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I know this thread is quite old and without searching to see if there was a newer one, just wanted to chime in about getting this stuff on your hands.

First, if your looking up this question it means, like me, you must have not read the instructions to wear gloves! Never thought I would get it on my hands, was only going to fill a small hole but the can was defective and came out the bottom of the applicator tube.

Needless to say, it got all over one hand and some on the other. Trying to wash my hands made matters even worse, or stickier, that is. I tried putting acetone on my hand, just burned a bit, but did nothing to get the sticky off my hands, of course, soap didn't help either, nor did TSP or WD-40. Thank goodness I didn't stoop to trying gasoline like some guy said to try!

I ended up calling DOW and was told there really isn't much that can be done other than wait a few days. To try using a pumice stone, a rough washcloth and in time, it would start wearing off (along with maybe a layer of skin) I'm getting ready to drive 12 1/2 hours - my hands would be stuck to the steering wheel more ways than one!

Then the DOW rep did say one person had mentioned that Krud Kutter had helped, but she didn't know which type of KK was used. I so happened to have bought a bottle of KK for Red Clay in the house! I tried it, after 2-3 applications, the sticky was gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, if you happen to find yourself with this goo on your hands, if you have KK of any kind around, give it a try. And remember, next time, read instructions AND wear gloves!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:54PM
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Acetone before it cures, tincture of time after it cures.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 4:20PM
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I happened to get this on my hands by complete accident: I wasn't even the person using it!

Acetone doesn't work when it's wet or dry. Rubbing Alcohol and Goof Off/Goo Gone have no effect either. In fact, I tried all three in order to remove "Great Stuff" and they caused a 2nd degree chemical burn on my hands = NOT FUN!

Since I'm unable to "mechanically" remove "Great Stuff" due to these 2nd degree burns, I used baby powder to reduce the stickiness and this was quite effective in reducing stickiness. Now, I just have to wait for the first couple layers of skin to slough off.

Basically, the "Great Stuff" fuses to the first and second layers of skin. "Mechanically" removing "Great Stuff" means removing the first few layers of the epidermis.

The BEST thing to do is just wait, and to wear latex gloves the next time "Great Stuff" is used.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 12:07AM
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"Acetone doesn't work when it's wet or dry. "

Acetone works when the curing reaction has not proceeded very far.
Fresh foam will dissolve, but even after a few minutes the curing reaction has started and it is no longer soluble in anything.

I keep a metal pan handy full of acetone to dip paper towels in or even dunk hands if needed.

You have to get it off RIGHT AWAY, or wait for it to finish curing and wear off.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 9:25AM
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ALL PURPOSE FLOUR!!!! i poured all purpose flour on my hands becuase i was recomended to put sand on the hands to make it not sticky i didnt have any sand so i used my hands hand the flour on them and the more i rub the flour off in in little rolls the less sticky my hand became and now its completely off.. ALLL PUUURRRRRRPPPOOSSSEE FLLOURRR

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 8:00PM
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after trying soap, acetone, and gasoline I found this forum. Flour seemed like a crazy idea but it worked amazingly. Flour and some friction is all it takes. Great suggestion Spencer!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 7:10PM
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Flour only works before curing.

Once it cures mechanical removal is the only option.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 9:29AM
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related question: you know how they give you the little screw on tube thingy that the stuff squirts out of? You know how you may only use a portion of the can and still have a lot left over? Well how the heck to do clean the plastic tube thingy so its not all clogged up the next time you need it? If its so impossible to clean, you'd think you could buy replacement tube thingies instead of buying the whole can again. Maybe I have stumbled onto the next big multi-million dollar idea. I can sell replacement tube thingies!

Seriously.........anyone know how to get around this?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:33PM
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"Well how the heck to do clean the plastic tube thingy so its not all clogged up the next time you need it?"

As soon as you stop using the can turn it upside down and spray trhe tube clear, then unscrew the attachemnt and tube and throw it in a shallow pan of acetone.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and let it sit for a while (about one hour).

Uncured foam wil dissolve.
Anything that has started to cure will not.

Hilte brand foam lasts longer in partially used cans if you clear the dispensor mechanism and use acetone.

Great Stuff dies in the can, used or unused, in a few months.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 8:24AM
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That's a question I ran up against last time I used spray foam - what to do with the rest of the can. It's a pain to dispose of (have to take to the hazmat depot) if left unused. So I sprayed it out onto newspaper in rows (that mostly expanded into a sheet) and let dry. I've used that a few times when I need to cut some hard foam to fit something. If I were organized enough I'd make a form in advance and line it with something the foam won't stick to, but the newspaper can be mostly torn away.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 3:41PM
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As an auto mechanic we use this stuff all the time to suppress noise complaints. Carburetor/throttle body cleaner removes it before it fully cures. It only takes a little to remove it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 5:28PM
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RE: Clearing the tube... GStuff doesn't adhere to most plastics, including the kind the applicator tube is made of.

Thus a good rodding with a coat hanger or similar stiff wire should do the trick... do it from the "muzzle", back towards the sharp angle at the "breech" end that attaches to can. Such mechanical clearing will save propellant for the next usage, and/or avoid using nasty acetone.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 12:52AM
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"nasty acetone"

The purity of the acetone makes it far safer than many other solvents, like paint thinner (AKA 'Stoddard solvent').

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 8:31AM
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Although I have made this mistake before many years ago I just did it again. I had this stuff all over my hands and one arm. It took a number of tries and a lot of scrubbing but both Krud Kutter and cooking flour seemed to work well. This combination along with some manual picking it off with your fingernails will prove successful.

Here is what worked for me. Spray your hands with Krud Kutter and scrub as hard as you can tolerate with a strong brush or a scotch brite pad. Then rinse and dry your hands. Immediately cover your hands in flour and rub to create friction. The stuff will come off as you rub and create friction. Rinse again. I found that this alternating process of the suggestions in other posts worked the best. Obviously thinner sections will come off easier than thick sections. I also must add that this is not the easiest thing to do. You will have pretty sore hands afterwards. Also, you must take some time to sit and pick this stuff off as best you can. Do this in conjustion with the Krud Kutter and flour. Take 20 or 30 minutes, sit down and pick off sections of it with your finger nails. It will be tough to get it all off this way but you will be able to make a great dent in it. Then when you do the Krud Kutter and flour it will be more effective. Don't skip this as it will really accelerate the process.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 12:23PM
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I picked up some Great Stuff at HD this weekend and the kid working there pointed out these Great Stuff Wipes they have now for cleanup. I bought a pack and they work fantastically on both Great Stuff and on Silicone caulk. No weird smell, easy on the hands, and it just wiped right off. I was very excited.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 3:40PM
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Read the MSDS and see what is on the wipes.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 7:41PM
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I have got the same problem, can't get it off my hands. I will NEVER use Great Stuff again. I used another product called Daptex and thought I would give great stuff a try. I guess it works, but what a mess. It is also very difficult to cut and remove afterwards in corners etc. I highly recommend trying DAPTEX, take a look, i believe there is some youtube videos on it.

If you do use Great Stuff, use gloves, eyewear and a hat!! Very disappointed.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 9:45AM
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Elmer's glue (vinyl acetate) with a blowing agent.

It is probably not rigid enough to cut easily like polyiso foam.

there are also lower expanding polyiso foams for use around windows and doors.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 1:16PM
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I got the Great Stuff Foam Sealant all over my hands and ended up picking it all off like dead skin, which took about 6 continuous hours. Then, I went to Lowes and found Motsenbocker's Lift Off- Caulk, Silcone, and Foam Sealant Remover in the paint section. Ask the paint section help desk. Also, I found using plastic bags gets it off your hands really easily. The foam sealant sticks to the plastic bag more than your hands.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 7:09AM
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"Motsenbocker's Lift Off- Caulk"

I would hat e to see what their "proprietary ingredient" is if it can attack and break down cured polyiso foam.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 9:14AM
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The link to the MSD for the whatchamacallit stuff.
I notice it has some acetone in it, is water-soluble, and has a pH of about 12. pure Lye has a pH of 14. Still would not to see it applied directly to skin without being very diluted, like 3:1.

Here is a link that might be useful: Motsenbocker's Lift Off MSD (PDF)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 3:16PM
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"This product also contains trade secret ingredients."

"When using the product, wear rubber gloves and eye protection such as splash proof glasses."

Makes it pretty tough to remove stuff from your hands.

It may contain potassium hydroxide (lye is sodium hydroxide).

Potassium hydroxide is also used in depilatories, and while less damaging then lye is not to be played with.
It will damage your cornea about as fast as you realize you got some in your eye.
Can you say corneal transplant?

The MSDS is telling you NOT to put it on your skin.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 3:39PM
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I used Neutrgena shampoo anti-reidue fomula and a little srubbing it came off in 5-10 min. My foam had been on my hands for hours and dried and this worked

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:16PM
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I used Neutrogena shampoo anti-residue formula it can off in 5-10 min.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:30PM
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De-Solv-it and sandpaper work like a charm.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 12:11PM
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After getting a lot of this on my hands I tried the following:
Day One: used Dawn dishwashing liquid, WD-40, Olive Oil, AJAX powder (the blue one), Acetone and Alcohol 71%.
None of these worked and I tried these right after I got the Great Stuff on my hands. My Hands were covered and were blue now from the Ajax!!!

Day 2: Soaked in 91% alcohol for 10 minutes and a pumice stone as the Great Stuff website said. I used that large pumice stone for over 3 hours to rub off the Great Stuff but that worked very little. I then tried used shaving cream the old fashioned kind. That seemed to loosen it and I tried the pumice stone again but it does little. So I began peeling it cause the shaving cream did loosen it.I used shea butter hand soap every time I washed my hands and that also was slowly loosening it through the day.
Day 3: Kept using shea butter hand soap I noticed when showering It was scrubbing off because of the shea butter and shaving cream treatments.A shower scrungie is good for peeling it off people.
Since I used the shaving cream and shea butter soap with the shower scrungie, Great Stuff has been peeling away.
Good luck!! I had a chance on going on a date the day after this happened but I'm glad the chic couldn't go out. MY hands are still blue and 25% covered and flaking...NOT COOL, LOL. Shaving cream for 10 minutes at a time and shea butter all day in between worked for me. Lesson learned,good luck my friends!!!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 1:37PM
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I don't know for sure but, a call to poison control might have a remedy. Chemicals have to be listed with them as well as how to deal with them. Worth a try......

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:56AM
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It might be helpful to read the instructions first. Great Stuff (and similar spray foam products) sticks to about everything including skin and doesn't come off except with time. Wear disposable gloves. Eye protection is a good idea too. This isn't rocket science people.

1 Like    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:31AM
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Gloves are good. Acetone until it sets, and on and in the applicator/tube if you want to use the can again.

Acetone on the hands, if you WEREN'T wearing gloves, and then - this is the secret:

GOJO or Fast orange or any of those awesome orange oil pumice type mechanic's cleaners. They remove a lot. Take a shower whilst anticipating cold beer/hot coffee, use body wash. More is removed and I think the continued exposure to warm water and steam helps.

Gojo again, after you're dressed. Drink coffee/beer on the porch, pick away at the loose stuff.

After that, it's just a little remaining, enough to make you look like you work for a living.

Not recommended for hand models, unless you're selling GOJO.

Note to producer: Shoot "after shot" FIRST.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 2:45AM
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Simple Answer... Peanut Butter. Cover the area with it and keep working it in at a fast pace... you will feel it warm up because of the oils in the peanut butter. The enzymes in the peanut oil get into your skin too and will break it down. It might leave specs of it on your hand (the parts that already cured)... but the stickiness and most if not all of the great stuff should be gone. Also works great for sap/pitch and just about anything sticky... just make sure to work it and let it stay on your hands for a good 10mins. Then wash off with warm water.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 8:22PM
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IF peanut butter works, butter probably does, too.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:27PM
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None of it work on the cured stuff.

Once poly-iso foam cures it is not soluble in anything you would want on your skin.

Tincture of time (and use gloves to avoid it in the first place).

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:18PM
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On another website, somebody said they had success dissolving dried-on "Great Stuff" using purple primer. (So you get clean purple hands instead.)

But if there's any truth to it, then using clear PVC cleaner might be worth a try.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:41PM
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biodiesel will take the cured stuff off..
and safe on your hands.

KOH is not as bad as other make it out..NaOH is oven cleaner/drain cleaner..check the labels..
no matter which you choose DO NOT breathe KOH nor NaOH dust/vapors(I don't care what's called) DO NOT BREATHE..

KOH/NaOH plus water and fat..make soap..both dissolve human tussue into soap and water..eyes and lungs..heed the cautions..


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:34PM
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Wow -- flour was a great finisher! ... I started with Mary Kay's "Satin Hands" (go ahead and laugh). ... After twice with that, found your site and tried the flour thing. ... Worked well -- lot's of scrubbing, but that's o.k. ... Listened to some favorite music meanwhile. Thanks for the fine tip!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:37PM
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I've just found that Veet hair removal cream (called Immac in some regions) removes cured expanding foam. Apply the cream, leave for 3-minutes, and scrape off. Best Regards

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 5:05AM
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Alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel (or 91% rubbing alcohol) worked to get some of it off. I then wrapped my fingers with Scotch clear packing tape, left on for a while, and the final remnants came off! Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:00PM
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This might sound extreme, but it really works fast. Same idea as the pumice stone. I scrubbed my hands with orange goop which somewhat softened the stuff, then used my bench grinder to skim it off. You have to be careful to not burn your fingers, just touch it lightly and move it around a lot or bounce your fingers off of the stone lightly. Took 5 mins. Next time, gloves!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:48AM
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I had my 1st and LAST encounter with Great Stuff this week. It went everywhere but where it was supposed to go. I had on gloves, but ended up getting a lot on my hands. It was very uncomfortable and unnerving....after searching the Web and several stores, I finally thought about my old standby---WHITE VINEGAR! I soaked my hands for 30 minutes or so and peeled; another 30 minutes and peeled; after several rounds of this over 16-18 hours, I vigorously rubbed my hands with a large amount of ammonium lactate cream---truly, a miracle from God--several times and my hands are now back to normal….
White vinegar soak, constant peeling, and ammonium lactate cream from any pharmacy��"this formula WORKS!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2014 at 8:20PM
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A easy way to scrape it off is using a Ped Egg. Even a cheese grater. Just go slowly over the area of you hands you got the foam on and keep checking as you don't want to cut yourself and until you are satisfied with how much came off. You will still have residue on your hands but at least you will have feeling on your fingertips.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2014 at 11:26AM
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Most common mistake people make is to wash hands with water and soap. This will make it worst as polyurethane foam cures (harden) with moisture.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2015 at 12:38PM
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