While silicone caulk is useful and relatively easy to work with, it can get very messy very quickly. Though silicone itself is not toxic, the chemicals used in caulking that keep it in its liquid state are. Said chemicals emit fumes at different rates while the product is drying. Here are a few ideas you can use when it comes to how to remove silicone caulk from hands.
Removing Caulk With Plastic
While the caulk is still wet, it can be removed with relative ease. Try removing as much of the silicone caulk as you can before it dries. It can be incredibly sticky, so the more you’re able to get off of your hands initially, the easier it will be to clean your hands thoroughly. Use tissue or paper towels to wipe the caulk away the moment you notice it on your hands.
Toss the used tissue or paper as quickly as possible to avoid spreading the caulk further. Avoid using fabric towels. Once the silicone is dry, it becomes challenging to get out and is practically waterproof and will render your cloth useless.
Next, rub your hands with a plastic bag or something similar, the same way you would with a washcloth. If the silicone is not already dry, it will cling to the bag more than it does to your hands, and most of the remains will be removed. This method is unconventional but effective.
Most garbage can liners will work well if you’re in a pinch. After that, rinse your hands with water. This will get rid of the last of the caulk on your hands. Be sure to scrub them with a sponge now and then. Again, you’ll want to avoid using fabric towels.
Finally, dry your hands, and if needed, repeat. Scrutinize your hands, making sure there is no caulk left on them. Be meticulous, as even a little bit of caulk can be annoying once it’s dry. It can be advantageous to keep cleaning supplies near you when caulking in case of an accident, as silicone caulk takes some time to dry.
Home Remedies For Removing Dry Caulk
An easy way to remove dried caulk from your hands is to use acetone. Acetone, otherwise known as propanone, is a colorless, flammable liquid with a characteristic fragrance. It is most commonly found in nail polish removers and has the ability to dissolve some plastics easily.
Coat one corner of a paper towel in pure acetone or a nail polish remover that contains acetone and lightly wet the areas of your hands that are covered in caulk. Do not pour acetone all over your hands. This can produce noxious fumes which are harmful when inhaled.
Using A Hairdryer
You’ll have to be extra cautious when using this method. Like many other synthetic compounds, silicone will gradually weaken when heated. Using a hairdryer to loosen the caulk can work, but you should be careful not to burn yourself. Once the silicone has heated up, scrub your hands with a sponge to get it off. Make sure you start with the lowest possible setting on your hairdryer.
What Not To Do
Don’t attempt to scrape silicone caulk off your hands. You should never use a harsh abrasive or sharp edge to try to remove caulk from your hand. It may seem like the obvious thing to do to use a knife or some steel wool to scrape it off, but doing so puts you at risk of severely injuring yourself. This probably goes without saying for most folks, but it’s important to mention, for safety’s sake.
Furthermore, do not use harsh solvents to attempt to dissolve the dried caulk. It is not likely to work, and will probably injure you severely if touched, ingested, or inhaled. These chemicals include drain cleaner, bleach, paint thinner, and lye, to name a few.
Preventing Caulk From Getting On Your Hands
As mentioned previously, caulk can be a real pain in the neck to remove from your hands once it’s on there. The best way to avoid having to do so is to avoid getting the stuff on your hands in the first place. This is quite a simple feat and can save you a lot of time and effort.
Wearing gloves is an excellent place to start. Caulk can get messy, and the likelihood of you getting it on your hands increases the more you use it. Disposable latex gloves are your best friend in this situation, as you can toss them once you’re done or if you get caulk on them. This saves you a lot of time that would otherwise be spent trying to get the stubborn sealant off your hands.
You could also opt to use a caulking tube gun to squeeze out the caulk, rather than having to do it by hand, potentially saving you the headache of getting the substance on your hands.
If you do find yourself with caulk on your hands, don’t panic. Just follow the steps above, and you’ll be good to go in no time.