How to Remove Polyurethane From Hands? (3 Steps)

It’s common to notice polyurethane paint on your hands or skin after applying the paint. So how do you remove it? Here is the answer to that.

You can remove polyurethane paint from your skin or hands by using different methods and products. The product or method that will remove the paint depends on the type of polyurethane paint.

Water-based polyurethane paint can be removed from your skin easily by washing the paint off with soap and warm water or by using acetone.

Oil-based polyurethane can be removed by using mineral spirits, denatured alcohol, or a soy-based polyurethane paint stripper.

Dried polyurethane paint can be removed by scrubbing the paint off with a soft sponge and rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits.

So you need to know the type of polyurethane you have on your hands or skin to know how to remove it. Let’s find out how to do that.

How Do You Know Which Type Of Polyurethane You Have On Your Hands?

There are different ways to know which type of polyurethane is on your hand or skin.

The first way is to check the container of the polyurethane paint. The paint’s base will be indicated on the container. If the polyurethane is oil-based or water-based, you’ll see it on the paint’s container.

Another way to know which type of polyurethane you have on your skin is to try and wash the paint off your skin with water. Since water-based polyurethane is dissolved in water, you’ll be able to remove it by washing the paint with soap and warm water. Oil-based polyurethane is not water-based so if the polyurethane doesn’t come off with just water and soap, you’ll know it’s oil-based.

You can also find out what type of polyurethane it is by checking the dry time. Oil-based polyurethane takes longer to get dry than water-based polyurethane. So if the polyurethane paint on your skin remains sticky, it’s most likely oil-based polyurethane. Water-based polyurethane will dry on your skin within minutes.

Now that you know how to identify the type of polyurethane on your skin, let’s find out how to remove it.

How To Get Water-Based Polyurethane Off Your Skin/Hands?

There are a few methods to get water-based polyurethane off your hands or skin. The first is…

1. By Wiping The Polyurethane Off Your Skin

It’s possible to wipe off the water-based polyurethane paint using a clean rag or cloth. However, you should know that you can only use this method if the paint is still wet.

Since the polyurethane paint hasn’t dried, it can be easily wiped off your skin even without a solvent or water.

2. By Washing The Polyurethane Paint Off

As explained earlier, water-based polyurethane is dissolved in water. This means the paint will come off when washed.

To use this method, you’ll need to mix some detergent or dish soap with warm water. Then you can use soapy water and a brush or sponge to wash the polyurethane paint off your skin.

Ensure to rinse your skin or hand with plenty of water after washing off the polyurethane to prevent skin reaction.

3. By Using A Solvent

You can also remove water-based polyurethane by using a solvent. Common choices include rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, acetone, and methylated spirits. All of these solvents can be used on the skin and they also remove water-polyurethane.

To use this method, you should pour some solvent on a clean rag or cloth. Then use the wet cloth to damp the spot on your skin where you have polyurethane paint. After, leave the solvent on the skin for about 10 minutes.

The solvent will soak into and dissolve the polyurethane. After 10 minutes, you’ll notice the paint peeling off. At this stage, you can wipe the polyurethane off your skin or hands. Ensure to wash and rinse your skin with plenty of water after using a solvent. This is to remove any leftover solvent on your skin and to prevent skin irritation or redness.

Now, let’s check out how to remove oil-based polyurethane from your skin or hands.

How To Get Oil-Based Polyurethane Off Your Skin/Hands?

There are also a few methods to help you remove oil-based polyurethane from your skin or hands. But you should know that most of these methods involve harsh chemicals. So, you’ll need to take extra caution while removing oil-based polyurethane.

1. By Wiping The Oil-Based Polyurethane Off

This method only works for wet oil-based polyurethane. This means you can only use this method if you notice the oil-based polyurethane as soon as it drops on your skin or hands.

To use this method, all you need is a damp rag. You can wet the rag with water or a solvent like mineral spirits. Since the paint is still wet and hasn’t bonded with the surface, it will come off when you wipe it.

2. By Using A Paint Thinner

The best way to remove oil-based polyurethane is to use a paint thinner. This method works for removing both wet and dried oil-based polyurethane.

However, you should know that you can’t use all types of paint thinners on your skin. Some will be harsh and toxic than others. Here is a list of paint thinners that are safe to use on the skin or hands:

  • Acetone
  • Denatured alcohol
  • White spirits
  • Mineral spirits

To use this method, you need to soak a rag in the paint thinner. Then place the wet rag on your skin. You can also pour the paint thinner directly on your skin but don’t do this if you have sensitive skin.

After a few minutes, the oil-based polyurethane will start to peel off your skin or hands. When this happens, you can wipe the polyurethane off. Ensure to wash and rinse your skin or hands thoroughly after removing the polyurethane.

3. By Using Soy-Based Polyurethane Paint Stripper

You can also remove oil-based polyurethane by using a soy-based or soy-gel polyurethane paint stripper. The paint stripper is safe to use on skin because it is made from 100% American-grown soybeans.

The paint stripper can be applied to your skin or hands. After applying it, wait for about 15 minutes for the paint stripper to work its magic.

The paint stripper will soak into the polyurethane. Then you can remove it together with the polyurethane. Ensure to wash and rinse your hands or skin after removing the polyurethane paint.

Can You Remove Dried Polyurethane From Your Hands/Skin?

You can remove dried polyurethane from your hands or skin but you’ll need to use a solvent or paint thinner to remove the polyurethane paint. This is because polyurethane becomes very difficult to remove when it’s dry.

When the paint is dry, it becomes hard and impermeable meaning that the paint will not dissolve in water and you can’t wipe it off either. The only way to remove dried polyurethane is to use a solvent or paint thinner. But ensure that the solvent or thinner you use is safe to use on the skin or hands to prevent skin irritation or redness.

What Other Product Can You Use To Remove Polyurethane From Your Skin?

Here is a list of products that you can use to remove polyurethane from your skin or hands:

  • Hair Spray (For removing water-based polyurethane)
  • White Vinegar (For removing water-based polyurethane and oil-based polyurethane)
  • Baking Soda mixed with warm water (Will remove polyurethane but might cause skin irritation).

Tips To Avoid Getting Polyurethane On Your Hands/Skin While Painting

To avoid polyurethane getting on your hands or skin, always put on a pair of gloves before applying the paint.

Also, you should put on long clothes that will cover your arms and skin while applying the paint. Using a paintbrush to apply the polyurethane will also limit the possibility of having the paint on your skin or hands. If you spray polyurethane, you increase the chances of having the paint on your body.

Finally, you can avoid getting polyurethane drying on your hands or skin by washing your hands immediately after applying the paint. This way, you’ll get rid of any polyurethane on your body before it gets dry and becomes hard to remove.

Final Words

Overall, having polyurethane paint on your skin or hands is not a cause for panic. It happens to most of us but luckily, you now know ways to remove the paint from your skin easily.

Remember, it’s best to remove the paint before it dries on your skin. If the paint gets dry, you’ll need a solvent or paint thinner to remove it.

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