Silicone sealant is a substance that can be useful for many jobs in your home. Its adhesion qualities and consistency make it an excellent material for filling cracks in exterior walls and for waterproofing a shelter in your yard, for example. However, these features also have drawbacks when it comes to cleaning tools or washing hands after the job is finished. Indeed, most of the time, the fingers are the best tools to spread the silicone sealant effectively, which can, during long work, cause some recurring problems. Just learn how to quickly, easily and effectively remove silicone sealant stuck to your hands.
Method 1 of 2: Remove wet silicone sealant with plastic
Step 1. Remove as much as possible while it is fresh
Silicone sealant is a sticky substance that can be very difficult to clean off and the more you scrape it off your fingers, the easier it will be to clean afterwards. As soon as you have finished using your hands to spread the silicone sealant or as soon as you notice that you have some on your fingers, take a disposable tissue or paper towel and use it to remove as much of the silicone as possible. Throw the fabric or paper directly into a garbage pocket to avoid spilling silicone.
Don't use a cloth towel (especially if you stick to it), because once the silicone dries it will be extremely difficult to remove the stain, even over time. In addition, the towel will absorb water less well, due to the impermeability of the silicone
Step 2. Rub your hands with a plastic bag
Once you've removed most of the silicone from your hands, use a plastic bag (like those you can find in stores or grocery stores) to rub them off. If the silicone is still wet, it should stick to the plastic bag more easily than it will adhere to your hands, which should allow you to get most of the silicone off your hands. Although this means is rather rustic, it is often presented as very effective by magazines specializing in DIY and home improvement.
If you don't have a plastic grocery bag on hand, you can use a garbage bag which should do just fine
Step 3. Rinse your hands under running tap water
As you run the water over your hands, scrape them with a sponge, paper towel, or slightly abrasive material. As said before, avoid using a nice, clingy towel.
You can also use soap. However, it is not proven to make cleaning more effective
Step 4. Dry your hands and repeat the previous step, if necessary
You should dry your hands with a cloth or paper towel. Examine them carefully for any traces of silicone. Even a small amount can be annoying when it has dried. Feel free to rinse your hands and dry them until all of the silicone is gone or it becomes obvious that you won't be able to remove any more that way.
Step 5. Act quickly
Do not leave silicone on your hands for more than 24 hours. One day is the time it takes for the silicone sealant to dry completely. However, if the silicone is deposited in a thin layer or in droplets, it takes much less time to dry. This is the reason why it is important to react quickly when you have silicone on your hands. The sooner you do it, the easier and faster the cleaning process.
Because the best way to keep your hands clean after using silicone sealant is to clean them immediately, it is advisable to keep all cleaning tools and materials handy. Keeping a clean plastic bag and some paper towels next to you should allow you to quickly clean your hands and avoid getting nasty traces of dry silicone on your fingers
Step 6. Use a traditional process
If traces of silicone persist, there are some good old fashioned ways you can try. If you have followed all of the above steps without success, chances are that the silicone you have on your hands has had time to dry. Because dry silicone adheres strongly to the skin and is completely waterproof, the use of paper towels or a plastic bag becomes completely unnecessary. In the following steps, you will be introduced to several good old methods and although their effectiveness is not proven, they are popular and often recommended in DIY magazines.
Method 2 of 2: Remove dry silicone sealant with a homemade method
Step 1. Use acetone
The use of this product is often recommended online, when it comes to cleaning traces of silicone. Acetone is an organic chemical that is often used as a component in nail polish cleaners. It is able to quickly dissolve certain plastics (such as acrylic in nail polish). However, its ability to attack or dissolve silicone sealant is not proven, which does not prevent many reviews from recommending its use for this purpose.
To clean the silicone with acetone or nail polish remover, wet the corner of a paper towel with the product and use it to gently dab the silicone residue on your hand. Do not pour acetone directly on your hand. Not only is it ineffective, it can also cause the emission of harmful vapors. If you're using nail polish remover, make sure it contains acetone
Step 2. Carefully use a hair dryer
Silicone, like many synthetic chemicals, deteriorates when gradually exposed to heat. This is why very often, the use of the hair dryer is recommended to try to detach the silicone residues from the skin. When the hair dryer is on, back and forth with the head blowing hot air over the silicone to slowly warm it up. When you feel the silicone is hot on your hand, try scraping it off with a sponge or other slightly abrasive material.
If you try this method, make sure the hair dryer is initially set to the least intense temperature. Then, as you move back and forth, you can gradually increase the heat of the air flow. Stop the hair dryer if the heat becomes too intense. After a lot of back and forth, the traces of silicone may come off on their own
Step 3. Use a slightly abrasive material
It is then sufficient to gently rub the traces of silicone, as many times as necessary, until they have disappeared. You have to be very careful, because silicone is harder than your skin and attacking it can scratch your skin. Use only relatively soft abrasive materials and avoid, for example, steel wire sponges. Stop rubbing frequently to observe the condition of the traces and check that your skin is not injured. As the silicone will eventually peel off on its own, there is no need to rub until all the skin is left. Here are some of the abrasive materials you could use:
- a simple kitchen sponge
- very fine grit emery paper (if you are very careful)
- a pumice stone
Step 4. Use mineral spirits
As with acetone, the use of these chemicals (turpentine, white spirit) is sometimes recommended to remove stubborn silicone stains and their effectiveness is not proven. If you have white spirit on hand, pour it on a corner of a paper towel that you will use to moisten the silicone stains before attacking them with an abrasive material (following the advice previously given). You can find mineral spirits very cheaply (for less than $ 2 a liter) in any supermarket.
Although mineral spirits are not immediately harsh on the skin, be sure to clean your hands thoroughly after you have finished your work. If parts of your skin remain in contact with the product for hours, they could be burned
Step 5. Be patient
If the previously described methods did not allow you to get rid of the silicone, then you just have to wait. This is because some very resistant silicone stains can linger on your hands, even if you have followed all the steps described above. It is therefore preferable that you wait for these stains to disappear over time rather than trying at all costs to get rid of them at the risk of injuring your hands. The skin renews itself naturally and regularly and by unhooking from the body, dead skin cells will wash away the silicone.
It takes an average of 27 days for the body to completely renew a layer of skin cells. This is the maximum time it will take for your skin to get rid of the traces of silicone on your hands. Usually any silicone residue will be gone in as little as a week
Step 6. Do not use harsh solvents
Do not use any products other than those recommended to you earlier in this article. While acetone and mineral spirits are virtually harmless to health, the same is not true of chemicals. Many harmful or caustic solvents can be harmful if you touch, inhale, or ingest them. Therefore, you absolutely have to be careful. Here are some examples.
- Pipe unblocking fluids
- Paint thinners
- Caustic soda
- Bases and concentrated acids
Step 7. Do not use a sharp object to scrape or cut the silicone
Do not use never a knife, a cutter or a pair of scissors to try to use, cut and remove the dry silicone from your hands. While it can be tempting to use these tools to get rid of silicone quickly, give up on doing so for at least two reasons: you greatly increase the chance of injury to yourself, and these items are often ineffective at ridding the skin of silicone. sticky and gummy.
- Rub the traces of silicone with eucalyptus oil deposited on a corner of a paper towel and once the job is done, rid your skin of any oil residue, using soapy water.
- Washing powder can sometimes be effective in removing silicone stains from the skin.
- Another effective way is to apply Windex repeatedly. Clean all traces of Windex with a paper towel.
- Spray a small amount of Preen Weed Killer on your hands, scrape gently, then wash your hands thoroughly with lukewarm, soapy water.
- Dry your hands and rub them with baby cleanser to remove small sticky spots.
- Use gasoline, then rub with a rag.
- If you have fresh silicone on your hands, rub them with sand, potting soil, or cement dust.
- Usual alcohol works very well. Its effect is immediate. This product is effective not only on your hands, but also on almost any other surface.
- Don't try never remove silicone with your mouth and / or teeth, as most sealants, including building renovation products, including silicone sealant, are toxic. They should absolutely not be ingested!