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Old 26-06-2015, 17:20   #1
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Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

I discovered by accident recently that one can clean off uncured epoxy by using denatured alcohol, also commonly used as a fuel for alcohol stoves and camp stove and lights. I always thought that acetone was about the only thing that could be used, but with Acetone remains a big question mark as to its potential ill effects on the human body.

Along with being less expensive, I have a feeling that denatured alcohol would be less hazardous to the body. I know that the alcohol will not flash off nearly as quickly, so from that point of view cleaning up with the alcohol is very helpful, as you can work with it longer.

I wonder if the omniscient participants on this forum, especially if he/she has a background in chemistry or human biology, could tell me whether I am better off to use acetone or denatured alcohol?

Thanks, and fair winds to all,

RR.
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Old 26-06-2015, 17:38   #2
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Vinegar for epoxy.
I have used a lot of acetone over the years... I mean building/fiberglassing boats and washing my hands and fore arms in a bucket of it! No ill effects yet. but.....
Having been a safety/environmental engineer I would guess alcohol is better than Acetone. But even MEK (which I researched) isn't nearly as bad as the rumors have it to be.
Of course anything can be detrimental to a particular person.. so there's that too.
The tests they did with MEK on rats was very invasive.. injecting it directly into the rats for days on days. Still... very low level of cancer above the norm.
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Old 26-06-2015, 18:24   #3
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Used to use acetone to clean up epoxy. Old polyester resin habits die hard. Forced to use alcohol when I couldn't find acetone. It worked a lot better and didn't flash evaporate almost instantly like acetone. Only use acetone now to wipe down areas
to be laminated.
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Old 27-06-2015, 00:02   #4
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

I've used alcohol for years for cleaning tools and such. On the work at hand not so much just scraped excess uncured away and sanding the rest if needed for the reason alcohol is absorbed into cured epoxy too and weakens its properties. For hands vinegar is safer..
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Old 27-06-2015, 00:59   #5
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

As Cheechako posted - Vinegar is the go to product for cleaning up un-cured epoxy. For hands, first use vinegar and then warm soapy water.

Cheap and available anywhere and not hard on the hands. The acid i the vinegar reacts with the harder component of the epoxy causing it to stop working. The epoxy is then removed with the soap and water.
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Old 27-06-2015, 09:04   #6
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Another vote for vinegar.
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Old 27-06-2015, 09:16   #7
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Thanks, I learned something today. Have been using acetone and MEK for years, can stop now.
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Old 27-06-2015, 09:28   #8
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Same for the learning. I just let the epoxy dry on my hands and in about 3-4 weeks it would be gone. A few times the fingers would stick together, but then I'd use the alcohol. Thanks for the info.


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Old 27-06-2015, 09:42   #9
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Yes, I used vinegar, works well,
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Old 27-06-2015, 09:44   #10
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Try white vinegar. It's pretty cheap and won't harm your skin or the environment.
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Old 27-06-2015, 10:12   #11
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rotten Ricky View Post
I discovered by accident recently that one can clean off uncured epoxy by using denatured alcohol, also commonly used as a fuel for alcohol stoves and camp stove and lights. I always thought that acetone was about the only thing that could be used, but with Acetone remains a big question mark as to its potential ill effects on the human body.

Along with being less expensive, I have a feeling that denatured alcohol would be less hazardous to the body. I know that the alcohol will not flash off nearly as quickly, so from that point of view cleaning up with the alcohol is very helpful, as you can work with it longer.

I wonder if the omniscient participants on this forum, especially if he/she has a background in chemistry or human biology, could tell me whether I am better off to use acetone or denatured alcohol?

Thanks, and fair winds to all,

RR.
I like cheechako have virtually bathed in acetone with no apparent health problems. However, if alcohol cuts it or he said vinegar, it would probably be prudent to go those routes.
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Old 27-06-2015, 10:14   #12
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

Acetone
Denatured alcohol
Methanol
Lacquer thinner
Vinegar

You can buy pickling vinegar which is 7% instead of 5%, so it's a little stronger. If you're working in cold conditions below 15C or 60F it won't work as well.
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Old 27-06-2015, 17:18   #13
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

There is no question about Acetones health effects. Its not a problem. What I have heard suggested is that it promotes diluted Epoxy residuals to enter the bloodstream via the skin.
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Old 28-06-2015, 07:07   #14
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

I use US Composites 635 THIN epoxy exclusively now. Its cure speed is very slow. It does not begin to cross-link even several hours after mixing. It can be cleaned rom the skin or hair with Fast Orange hand cleaner. Acetone is a bit aggressive & volatile. You can use lacquer thinner on most epoxy. Not great but a bit less nasty.
Fiberglass , Epoxy , Composites, Carbon Fiber - U.S. Composites, Inc.
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Old 28-06-2015, 08:04   #15
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Re: Cleaning uncured epoxy with denatured alcohol or acetone?

If you click on that blue bar on the right, most every possible question that you can ask is answered. It's one of the reasons why I won't use anything but WEST Systems:

Epoxy by the Leading Epoxy Manufacturer | WEST SYSTEM Epoxy
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