Hand Cleaning Tips and Tricks

or keep it off in the first place. October 26, 2005

Any tips for cleaning lacquers, especially precats, from your hands better than the old "scrub and grind" method? I am avoiding the use of lacquer thinner because I'm trying to cut back on my daily consumption of toluene. I do my best to keep the paint off of me, but the inevitable always happens.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
Nitrile gloves. About $10 per 100.

Zep makes a hand cleaner called Reach. You need to contact a commercial distributor... not available in retail distribution.

There are "liquid gloves" products used by auto mechanics. It's like a soap/lotion that you apply and let dry on your hands before starting your dirty tasks. When a glove breaks (or I'm careless and lazy) and I have stain/dye and such on my hands, a very useful routine is washing as well as I can, then loading my still moist hands with a lotion like Noxzema. An hour or so later, another washing will release most of the stain/soil/lacquer.

I've taken to wearing latex gloves. Strange that I should begin to worry after cleaning my hands with thinner for many years. I hate them, but when I think about the alternatives and the crap that has already begun to develop on my skin, I guess it ain't so bad.

Summers here are hot and humid, and wearing a latex glove is not a great option. In late fall and winter I always wear them. They even give you a better grip when the air gets drier.

Does latex hold up against the solvent you're using?

These are cheap, dollar store finds - they come a dozen to a pack. They do hold up rather well with the solvents... surprisingly well. They are thicker than most. The bag just says "latex gloves." So much for expensive packaging. I have used other, better brands and they do not do well at all, almost dissolving immediately. These are a little heavier than what a doctor would use. They are not as heavy as the dishwashing kind.

Stockhausen makes the best paint removing hand cleaner in the world. It's called Cupran Special. Nothing else even comes close. It's universally used in the automotive refinishing trade.

I hate nitrile gloves. Picked up a box of them at the paint distributor and he said they stand up to most anything. No, they don't - lacquer thinner dissolves them into a Jello pudding pop in about three minutes. I will check into those hand cleaners. I for sure would like to have something better than a horse brush to clean my hands with.

I second the Cupran recommendation. It works a hotdam, but I gag at the smell. That's just me. If you use Liquid Gloves first and reapply after Cupranning, most everything will come off. I used that combo while stain-matching. By the way, why are you spraying pre-cat on your hands?

The very best way? Time. Once it is on your hands and it dries, it is nothing other than a plastic. Time tears down buildings, destroys women's faces and the precat lacquer on your skin degrades and peels off on its own. My hands are still baby soft.

Toluene is bad stuff. Ordinary precautions ought to be good enough to minimize (not eliminate) your exposure or contact with it. Xylene is bad as well. If you really have "schpielcous" but you do not mind a little chemical exposure, then mix some acetone with water and wash off with that. Dilute some of the orange pumice soap with this and your hands will be squeaky clean.

Guys here love the Binks wipes. They work on everything great. But I always do gloves first.