Leftover spills can quickly ruin a good job, even if you’re careful to observe the manufacturer’s instructions. But, unintended spills don’t have to faze you…or maybe not. If you happen to use epoxy resin, you probably know that every minute counts as far as post-project cleanup goes- the longer you leave the residue unattended, the more elbow grease you’ll need to remove it.
Epoxy residue can be a pain to remove, especially if it cures or dries. Also, you may ruin the surface you’re working on while attempting to overcome a sticky situation. Perhaps, it may explain why some of us have a love-hate relationship with epoxy. You love it as it’s a heavy-duty adhesive for fixing your wobbly furniture and other stuff. But you hate it since it can leave you in a fix if it sets in the wrong spot.
So, how do you remove dried resin? For the best results, it’s prudent to pair the ideal solution with the type of surface you’re working on. Let’s get right to it.
- Plastic and Glass
Who doesn’t love a quick fix? But imagine using liquid epoxy to fix up a cracked window pane, only to leave a splatter that you’re stumped on how to remove.
Enter rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). This solvent works well on cured epoxy resin. Soak a rag or paper towel in rubbing alcohol and gently rub the glass surface to loosen the epoxy. If this doesn’t do the trick, switch to a stronger solvent.
In this case, denatured alcohol or paint thinner will do. Apply either solvent to the affected area with a paper towel, and the epoxy will weaken. Then, use a scraper to pry away the softened epoxy. Be sure to wipe away any solvent remnant from your work surface with a clean wet rag.
And oh! Prioritize your safety. Wear a pair of gloves as you apply or try to remove epoxy resin, and keep your windows open to ensure adequate ventilation so you don’t inhale epoxy’s toxic vapors or dust particles.
- Porous Surfaces- Wood or Concrete
Epoxy resin easily seals porous wood or concrete surfaces. But as is often the case, some of the resin ends up where you least intend. While paint thinner or alcohol is ideal for removing cured resin on other surfaces, it can seep through concrete and wood, leading to damage or discoloration.
The ideal alternative, in this case, is acetone. Apply it with a clean cloth on the affected surface to loosen dried epoxy. Use a generous amount of solvent to surround the epoxy. Once the resin softens, peel it away with a scraping tool while taking care not to damage the wood or concrete surface. There’s no cause for alarm, as leftover acetone will evaporate, leaving a clear surface.
Alternatively, heat is your friend if you need to remove tough epoxy glue. With your leather work gloves on, and your heat gun’s setting to roughly 200℉, you’re set to remove stubborn residue. Apply some heat to the affected area by moving the heat gun in a circular motion while holding it some distance (12 inches or so) away from the wood surface. Be careful not to burn the wood. Upon softening the residue, scrape it off with a knife or scraping tool.
To remove errant epoxy from metal or other hard surfaces, you may use acetone or rubbing alcohol. The former works in about 30 minutes after applying to the affected area, while the latter may take a while longer to provide the desired results. Use the same process as you would remove errant glue on porous or glass surfaces.
But, acetone may not always work on non-porous surfaces. In that case, a chemical epoxy remover would be required. Depending on the solvent, spray or gently rub the remover on the epoxy residue with a paper towel.
Once you’ve loosed the epoxy and happen to notice a hazy appearance on the metal, wipe the surface down with a clean cloth dipped in paint thinner. Then, give the item or surface a quick clean with soap and water, and you’re good to go.
To avoid the hassle of removing dried resin, always inspect your work site for accidents, even if you’re a cautious user. That way, you can deal with the residue before it dries. All the same, a smudge of errant epoxy shouldn’t disrupt your project. Provided you have the right tools and know-how, taking care of the mess would be a cinch. Meanwhile, consider browsing The Epoxy Resin Store’s list of quality products for your upcoming project.