If you’re here, you or someone you’re helping probably has resin on their skin or hands. Below we've listed the four best and safest methods for removing resin from skin and hands.
Warning: Do not use vinegar or a solvent-based cleaner. These will dissolve the resin, making it more likely that your skin absorbs the resin chemicals, rather than removing it.
The best option if you’re having trouble is to use an orange hand cleaner.
Removing resin from skin
Method #1: Soap and (warm) water
You can use soap and warm water to remove resin including epoxy from your hands. Warm water is best, if available. If the resin hasn’t already cured to your skin, it should come off pretty easily.
If you’re having trouble removing it, try using a rag or cloth you don’t care about to loosen it through gentle abrasion. Carefully dispose of the cloth afterward.
Method #2: Orange hand cleaner
If the soap and water method doesn’t work, an orange hand cleaner (e.g., Fast Orange, Gojo Natural Orange, etc.) is the next step.
These are heavy duty citrus-based cleaners that are solvent-free and designed to remove resins like epoxy from skin.
You can find these at some home improvement / auto parts retailers (e.g., Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone), as well as many online shops.
Method #3: A basic salt scrub
If soap and water didn’t work, and you aren’t able to acquire orange hand cleaner soon enough, you can try making a quick salt scrub using common household ingredients.
Salt scrubs can be effective but are abrasive. If the abrasiveness is a concern, try method four listed lower on the page.
Salt Scrub Ingredients
- Coarse salt or sea salt (table salt as a last resort) - 3 tablespoons
- Carrier oil (e.g., canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, etc.) - 1 tablespoon
- Mix the ingredients in a small bowl or dish. You can just use a fork or spoon, or a silicone spatula if you have one. The oil may cling to the salt, making it clump a bit.
- Without using water, take the mixture and rub it in circular motions on the resin-covered areas of your skin/hands. Do this for at least 20-30 seconds.
- Rinse the affected areas with water, and examine carefully for any remaining resin. Most or all of it should be gone at this point. If not, repeat step 2.
- If some or all of the resin is still there after all of this, you should try to get the hand cleaner, which will almost certainly remove it.
Method #4: A basic sugar scrub
A sugar scrub is also effective and is less abrasive than a salt scrub. It’s also made with common household ingredients.
Sugar Scrub Ingredients
- Sugar or brown sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Carrier oil (e.g., canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, etc.) - 4 tablespoons
- Mix the ingredients by stirring them together in a small bowl or cup.
- Rub the mixture onto the resin-covered areas of your skin/hands. Do this for at least 20-30 seconds.
- Rinse the affected areas with water, then carefully examine them for any traces of resin. If some remains, repeat step 2.
- If resin remains after two or more attempts, you should try to get the orange hand cleaner, which will almost certainly remove it.
What NOT to use
There are several ingredients commonly suggested by others that you actually shouldn’t use. These include the following:
- Skin solvents (solvent-based cleaners designed for skin)
- Vinegar and vinegar-based cleaners (e.g., Windex)
- Hand sanitizers (e.g., Purell or Germ-X) or disinfectant wipes (e.g., Clorox wipes)
- Any other solvents not intended for skin. This includes things like mineral spirits or paint thinner. These are dangerous for skin, which can absorb the chemicals.
Preventing skin-contact while working with resin
The best way to handle these problems in the future is to avoid them entirely. Here are some tips on preventing resin or epoxy from getting onto your skin and hands.
Wear gloves: This is the most obvious solution, and is standard practice among many professionals, including ourselves! Still, a significant number of people choose not to wear gloves when working with resin.
A pair of butyl or nitrile gloves will protect your hands from resins like epoxy. You can use latex, too, in a pinch, but latex is not as chemically resistant, so don’t use them for long, or you may end up with similar problems.
- Wear a thick long-sleeve shirt to cover your arms: This will protect your arms from resin contact in the case of a spill or accidental splashing. Use clothing that you don’t mind throwing away in the case of an accident, because resin is notoriously difficult to clean out of clothing without simply ruining the clothing.
- Wear an apron: When you’re working with resin or epoxy, an apron can protect some of your skin and clothing from splashes and spills. After all, it works for cooks who have to deal with blazing hot water and oil!
- Organize your project area: When working with resins like epoxy, it’s wise to prepare your workspace ahead of time. Put everything you’ll need, including your resin components, in a convenient space that’s easily accessible but won’t get in the way of your movements. This will make it less likely that someone knocks something over or causes a spill or mess.
Being prepared for resin mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes at some point. When working with epoxy resin and similar chemicals, there’s always a possibility an accident will occur. That’s why it’s a good idea to have the right solutions for these problems nearby.
We recommend that you keep a bottle of orange hand cleaner around. There are several notable brands, but they all seem more or less equally effective. Make sure you also have access to soap and running water to wash your hands and skin.
Additionally, keep your epoxy stored in a safe, appropriate location when it's not being used.
And it’s a good idea to have the phone number to your local poison control center on the off chance of an emergency situation. Sometimes newcomers to resin find that they have a rare resin allergy, and you’ll definitely want professional health advice and assistance in such a situation.
Stay safe by choosing trusted, high-quality resin brands.
Epoxy is a relatively safe chemical for casual and professional use.
Sometimes, though, a seller might be offering epoxy resin that isn't up to par when it comes to safety and quality. If a manufacturer chooses to cut corners, it can have consequences for the health and safety of the user who purchases their products.
When buying epoxy, make sure you understand who you're buying from, so you don't end up with resin that makes you or friends/family sick.
Our free ebook, The Ugly Truth About Epoxy Resin: What Companies Don't Want You to Know, explains how shady resin dealers present their products with unrealistic claims, and how you can learn to avoid them and find a safe, affordable resin product that is right for you.
Have questions? Want advice? Contact us!
Our team at UltraClear Epoxy has been working with epoxy resin for many years now, so we've learned quite a lot about how to respond to accidents while working with our own award-winning Table Top Epoxy.
As such, we have a wealth of knowledge and advice to share with new resin enthusiasts and hobbyists.
If you’re planning a project or have questions about handling resin accidents, please reach out to us. Our epoxy experts are ready to assist!
You can contact us via phone or email here. During business hours, you can also text chat online with one of our resin specialists by clicking the Help button at the bottom-right of your screen.