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Old 04-08-2020, 05:22   #1
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Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

I am kinda surprised by the number of folks who don't keep a jug of plain white vinegar aboard. It is great for removing epoxy (not to mention wash off jellyfish stingers), far safer than acetone and denatured alcohol and not flammable either
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Old 04-08-2020, 05:39   #2
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

And a must for composting/dry heads
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Old 04-08-2020, 06:16   #3
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

If you've ever watched that guy Teal from the YouTube channel Onboard Lifestyles he uses baby wipes. Swears by them and he's done a lot of epoxy work. And they don't stink like vinegar.
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Old 04-08-2020, 06:22   #4
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

AFAIK, vinegar inhibits the hardener (i.e. part B) action of the epoxy mix. For hands and skin etc,I have found using a small amount vinegar first and then finish with warm soapy water works very well.
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Old 04-08-2020, 06:26   #5
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

Available throughout the Caribbean in quart or gallon jugs. Use it a lot. Not just for salad.

BTW, if you use US Composite 635 THIN resin it washes off with liquid soap followed by water as long as it hasn’t kicked off. Love this stuff.

Epoxy :¬*Epoxy Resins and Hardeners
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Old 04-08-2020, 07:20   #6
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

LOTS of uses for white vinegar! A must have on a boat (and any home), in my opinion.
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Old 04-08-2020, 08:02   #7
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

I have been using vinegar to wash epoxy off my hands for years, ever since reading that solvents like acetone can facilitate absorption into the skin. Then I read this:

https://www.epoxyworks.com/index.php...it-for-salads/

"However, if used to clean epoxy from your skin, vinegar can promote overexposure to epoxy and subsequent allergic reactions. Common household vinegars, both distilled white and apple cider, contain 4 to 10% dilute acetic acid. They also contain low percentages of alcohols and mineral salts. When applied to remove epoxy, vinegar slightly dissolves it then penetrates the protective layers of skin, carrying epoxy into your subdermal tissues. This increases the chance of an allergic reaction, and may also increase the reaction’s intensity. Any wiping, rubbing or agitation of the contact area will likely worsen the situation."

Bugger. Now I just make sure that I wear gloves.
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Old 04-08-2020, 09:23   #8
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

Most vinegar is just dilute acetic acid, food grade acetic acid is easily bought and you can mix your own vinegar if you wish.
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Old 04-08-2020, 09:58   #9
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikereed100 View Post
I have been using vinegar to wash epoxy off my hands for years, ever since reading that solvents like acetone can facilitate absorption into the skin. Then I read this:

https://www.epoxyworks.com/index.php...it-for-salads/

"However, if used to clean epoxy from your skin, vinegar can promote overexposure to epoxy and subsequent allergic reactions. Common household vinegars, both distilled white and apple cider, contain 4 to 10% dilute acetic acid. They also contain low percentages of alcohols and mineral salts. When applied to remove epoxy, vinegar slightly dissolves it then penetrates the protective layers of skin, carrying epoxy into your subdermal tissues. This increases the chance of an allergic reaction, and may also increase the reactionís intensity. Any wiping, rubbing or agitation of the contact area will likely worsen the situation."

Bugger. Now I just make sure that I wear gloves.

Very true. Gloves are good.



But, vinegar is still great for cleaning up laminating rollers (vinegar and bristle brush), wiping down the cabin or topsides for that little bit that dripped or smeared or hand prints (put some on a rag and wipe all the areas you may have touched), and that spot of epoxy on the back or your elbow.



Finally, it really only takes contact with the vinegar to stop most of the reaction. Wipe briefly with vinegar, and then scrub with soap and water. Minimize the vinegar dwell time. It does not take much to make a huge difference.


And wear gloves. I always have a box so that I can change frequently, as they get sticky.
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Old 04-08-2020, 10:18   #10
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

We keep a gallon on our boat. Also, in a pinch, pickle juice can be used.
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Old 04-08-2020, 10:39   #11
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

Good tips People!

I am not a fan of vinegar for cooking/eating so I do not naturally think of using it in the shop. I use isopropyl alcohol (91% rubbing) and citrus based 'mechanics' soaps for cleaning up small spots on my person. I may need to try the vinegar if I start using rollers more often. Squeegees are left to harden then 'cracked' off before the next use. Chip brushes are thrown away.

Gloves, gloves, gloves...most of my exposure is starting to measure and mix from sticky containers before donning PPE (personal protective equipment). Sanding uncured epoxy less than 24 hours old can also be an exposure mechanism along with acetone dilution.
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Old 04-08-2020, 10:52   #12
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

Lots of people proclaim white vinegar to be a good cleaner especially around the home. I've mostly found it crap. I can't think of a single stain or mark on any surface that I have seen cleaned by white vinegar. It's just not strong enough. It can barely remove a pasta, or curry stain off my galley work surface without scrubbing, let along anything tough.

Acetone is the only thing I've used that clean up un-mixed epoxy. Epoxy even when not mixed with hardener get very sticky, acetone seems to cut straight through it.
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Old 04-08-2020, 11:10   #13
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

I've used vinegar for years with West System. Cleans gloves enough to reuse several times. Mixing sticks too.
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Old 04-08-2020, 11:25   #14
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

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Originally Posted by mikedefieslife View Post
Lots of people proclaim white vinegar to be a good cleaner especially around the home. I've mostly found it crap. I can't think of a single stain or mark on any surface that I have seen cleaned by white vinegar. It's just not strong enough. It can barely remove a pasta, or curry stain off my galley work surface without scrubbing, let along anything tough.

Acetone is the only thing I've used that clean up un-mixed epoxy. Epoxy even when not mixed with hardener get very sticky, acetone seems to cut straight through it.

Yeah, there are "vinegar fixes everything" fans, but this is NOT that. I hate vinegar and don't use salad dressing. We are not saying it is a cleaner. It breaks the chemical reaction and eliminates the stickiness in seconds. MUCH faster than acetone because it is not working as a solvent or cleaner, but instead is reacting directly on the chemicals involved.

You need to try it. Remember, it must be followed with soap and water; it breaks the epoxy down but does not remove it.
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Old 04-08-2020, 13:40   #15
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Re: Cleaning off epoxy? Use vinegar

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post

And wear gloves. I always have a box so that I can change frequently, as they get sticky.

A good trick that I picked up during my paremedic years is to put on 2 or 3 pairs at once. That way, as the gloves start to get sticky and gummed up with fiberglass strands and such you can just peel them off and keep going. This way you don't have to try to put fresh gloves on over sweaty hands.





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