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Thread: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

  1. #1
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    Default Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    When I was at a work week at the WB School a long time ago, Jim Brown had a bucket of some stuff that was a bit like soapy water, and you could just rinse tools off in it, maybe your hands, or at least your gloved hands. I think it lasted for days or the week. It was a lot nicer than using acetone, vinegar, etc... The nearest thing I can compare it to is the soap and oils mixture in Gougeon soap that is a very nice way of cleaning up skin, or other things. But that stuff is like a tub of cold cream, and one needs a separate supply of water and towels to use it.

    I know I asked what was in the buvket, and the only reason I can think of for not noting that, would be that maybe It wasn't something I thought I could find in my home country. Might have been something System 3 had, as that guy was hanging around.

    Anyone know what that bucket contained?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    i suspect a citrus cleaner
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    Default

    But the main ingredient in citrus cleaners is...vinegar. No idea what the citrus component does; maybe just for fragrance?
    Anyway, vinegar is good for you and even acetone, although it smells evil, is fairly harmless.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    It might have been WEST 855 cleaning solution concentrate. As far as I can tell it's no longer available in the US, but is available in the UK. If anyone knows a source I'd like to know

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    I remember this stuff from when it was available here (in my case decades ago), surprised it no longer is. Sent a query to West System via their website, will report back what they answer.

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    855 data sheet. Seems easily available in the UK for £10.

    WEST_855_msds.pdf

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitziel View Post
    But the main ingredient in citrus cleaners is...vinegar. No idea what the citrus component does; maybe just for fragrance?
    Anyway, vinegar is good for you and even acetone, although it smells evil, is fairly harmless.

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    Acetone is fairly harmless ?
    This is not a commonly held opinion.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitziel View Post
    But the main ingredient in citrus cleaners is...vinegar. No idea what the citrus component does; maybe just for fragrance?
    Anyway, vinegar is good for you and even acetone, although it smells evil, is fairly harmless.

    Sent from my MI MAX 3 using Tapatalk

    Acetone is not "fairly harmless". Acetone is a skin transfer agent. Having dissolved something in acetone, if you thrn get the stuff on your skin, the acetone carries it through the skin and into the bloodstream.

    Don't do that. If you are working with acetone, please use proper and appropriate PPE.
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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    Acetone is not "fairly harmless". Acetone is a skin transfer agent. Having dissolved something in acetone, if you thrn get the stuff on your skin, the acetone carries it through the skin and into the bloodstream.

    Don't do that. If you are working with acetone, please use proper and appropriate PPE.
    Yeah, I was surprised someone posting here had that thought in their mind. I'd have thought we here all knew by now what you've indicated in your post Nicholas.

    Ethyl alcohol ('denatured' sold in most states in the US) can serve as an effective epoxy solvent as does Xylene but I don't recommend using either on bare skin.

    Vinegar (diluted acetic acid) is most often recommended and where hardener component is an alkaline compound serves to neutralize it.

    Either can often be used to clean tools and work gloves of uncured epoxy.

    (And I'm really curious why that 855 MSDS suggests combustion byproducts may include oxides of phosphorous when there's no phosphorous in the chemicals in it? Alcohol Ethoxylate is C11H26O, Disodium Silicate's H2O3Si.2NA from what I can find on line and is fairly nasty stuff. But if there IS a phosphorous compound in it - maybe a surfactant? - that could explain why it's no longer available in the US.)
    Last edited by sp_clark; 09-26-2021 at 12:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Hardware store denatured alcohol isn’t necessarily Ethanol, it can be an ethanol/methanol blend like so https://kleanstrip.com/heating-fuels/denatured-alcohol/ methanol being a toxic alcohol, and worse for you than ethanol. “Hand sanitizer” grade ethyl alcohol should be methanol free. Or everclear.

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    “Hand sanitizer” grade ethyl alcohol should be methanol free. Or everclear.
    In which case, save it for drinking!

  12. #12
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    For those commenting on acetone...below is the top Google result, with quote and link from WebMD.

    That was always my understanding, & thus my comment; wasn't being scurrilous above :-0

    Didn't look much further with the search but saw nothing else to contradict it.

    Still, I wouldn't drink it, even with pineapple juice.

    "Acetone is a chemical used to make products like nail polish remover and paint remover. Your body also makes this chemical when it breaks down fat. Acetone is safe in normal amounts, but too much of it could be a problem."

    https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-is-acetone


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    Last edited by Mitziel; 09-26-2021 at 07:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    West 855's ingredients:

    Name

    EC No.

    CAS-No.

    Content

    Classification

    Alcohol Ethoxylate

    68439-46-3

    1-5%

    Xn;R22. Xi;R36/38,R41.

    DISODIUM METASILICATE

    229-912-9

    6834-92-0

    <1

    C;R34 Xi;R37



    Alcohol Ethoxylate is a 'non ionic surfactant'.

    Disodium Metasilicate is an 'emulsifyer and suspension agent'.



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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Quote Originally Posted by sp_clark View Post
    Yeah, I was surprised someone posting here had that thought in their mind. I'd have thought we here all knew by now what you've indicated in your post Nicholas.

    Ethyl alcohol ('denatured' sold in most states in the US) can serve as an effective epoxy solvent as does Xylene but I don't recommend using either on bare skin.

    Vinegar (diluted acetic acid) is most often recommended and where hardener component is an alkaline compound serves to neutralize it.

    Either can often be used to clean tools and work gloves of uncured epoxy.

    (And I'm really curious why that 855 MSDS suggests combustion byproducts may include oxides of phosphorous when there's no phosphorous in the chemicals in it? Alcohol Ethoxylate is C11H26O, Disodium Silicate's H2O3Si.2NA from what I can find on line and is fairly nasty stuff. But if there IS a phosphorous compound in it - maybe a surfactant? - that could explain why it's no longer available in the US.)
    Just in case people aren't aware, while denatured alcohol is fine to use to clean up squeeze out, etc -- vinegar really shouldn't get anywhere near what you are actually epoxying, as even small quantities can prevent curing of epoxy. Since alcohol isn't the most pleasant stuff on the skin, it's a pretty easy rule: alcohol on the boat, vinegar on the skin, or I guess, the tools provided you wash them well later so you don't transfer the vinegar back to where you want epoxy to cure!
    Daniel

    Building a Campion Apple 16.

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Nice boat that Apple 16 Daniel! From looking at posts in your build thread I’m thinking we’re a lot alike in many aspects.

    And I think the major takeaway in this thread is that epoxy and your body do not play well together. Best kept separated as much as possible, why gloves & often respirator are appropriate PPE. Inhaling fumes or getting epoxy onto your skin are to be avoided as much as possible. Even with cured epoxy there’s un-linked hardener present, sometimes for days depending on brand & ambient temps during cure, that are powerful body-tissue irritants.

    Got word back from US WEST System but something got garbled: he referred to their aluminum prep stuff rather than any cleaner they might have once sold here. When I replied that we were talking about two different, unrelated products he said he’d contact their UK staff for specifics, and from the time difference that’d have to wait a bit. We’ll see….

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Quote Originally Posted by sp_clark View Post
    Nice boat that Apple 16 Daniel! From looking at posts in your build thread I’m thinking we’re a lot alike in many aspects.

    And I think the major takeaway in this thread is that epoxy and your body do not play well together. Best kept separated as much as possible, why gloves & often respirator are appropriate PPE. Inhaling fumes or getting epoxy onto your skin are to be avoided as much as possible. Even with cured epoxy there’s un-linked hardener present, sometimes for days depending on brand & ambient temps during cure, that are powerful body-tissue irritants.

    Got word back from US WEST System but something got garbled: he referred to their aluminum prep stuff rather than any cleaner they might have once sold here. When I replied that we were talking about two different, unrelated products he said he’d contact their UK staff for specifics, and from the time difference that’d have to wait a bit. We’ll see….
    Thanks! The past couple months have been a bit slow (I moved the whole shop around, built a bunch of benches, made some gifts, etc...) but hoping to get a bit more done before things get colder and it gets harder to work again.

    And yes, definitely keep epoxy away from the skin as best as possible. I don't use a respirator (my understanding, perhaps wrong, is that epoxy doesn't off gas -- obviously if you are sanding it, especially before fully cured, that is nasty nasty stuff -- I do have organic vapor cartridges for paints and such), but use gloves religiously. Even still, every once it a while I end up with a bit on my arm or something and vinegar seems to work perfectly!
    Daniel

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitziel View Post
    For those commenting on acetone...below is the top Google result, with quote and link from WebMD.

    That was always my understanding, & thus my comment; wasn't being scurrilous above :-0

    Didn't look much further with the search but saw nothing else to contradict it.



    Still, I wouldn't drink it, even with pineapple juice.

    "Acetone is a chemical used to make products like nail polish remover and paint remover. Your body also makes this chemical when it breaks down fat. Acetone is safe in normal amounts, but too much of it could be a problem."

    https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-is-acetone


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    See, the problem isn't the acetone per se, rather, it is that the acetone will carry whatever you are cleaning through your skin and into your blood stream. ​Therein lies the danger.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Epoxy itself is deceptively toxic because it doesn't smell harsh. I have a sensitivity to it now.

    But none at all to polyester resin -- which smells so caustic that you automatically take precautions.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    See, the problem isn't the acetone per se, rather, it is that the acetone will carry whatever you are cleaning through your skin and into your blood stream. ​Therein lies the danger.
    Thanks, point understood & conceded! :-)

    That said, I never use acetone without protection (belt & braces), and never to clean epoxy gear & skin (vinegar only).

    Pity it's hard to beat though for removing sail numbers.




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    Last edited by Mitziel; 09-27-2021 at 08:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    See, the problem isn't the acetone per se, rather, it is that the acetone will carry whatever you are cleaning through your skin and into your blood stream. ​Therein lies the danger.

    Acetone also defats your skin. Strips the fats and oils from it, it does. That in itself is rather harmful.
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    That we humans manufacture our own acetone in the course of breaking down fat was news to me though. Who'd have thunk it...

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    Last edited by Mitziel; 09-28-2021 at 06:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Jim I'm glad you posted that. What you're saying is 100% true. And to the OP I have to add: epoxy may not 'outgas' exactly but the chemicals in the two components are very reactive by nature. They do give off fumes during use and those fumes will react with your body's sensitive tissues to your detriment. Some brands are worse than others in this regard, some smell truly awful while others almost odor-free but the fumes are still present.

    (I used to work in the graphics production industry. Took a tour once of a printing operation that reeked of the vinyl inks then in use. After twenty minutes I had a headache; after an hour I had to leave the building as I was nauseous & disoriented. Workers in that facility weren't wearing masks whatsoever, to this day I can't imagine how they managed to avoid being overcome.)

    If you're unfortunate enough to become sensitized to epoxy, you may soon find you're no longer able to work with it without an adverse reaction. Sometimes the sensitivity can be so bad that you can't be in a boat that's been built with the stuff despite it's having cured fully long before.

    Don't let your 'nose be your guide' to what's harmful or not. If you use epoxy in any quantity with regularity you really ought to be wearing a respirator fitted with proper filters to mitigate your exposure.

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitziel View Post
    That we humans manufacture our own acetone in the course of breaking down fat was news to me though. Who'd have thunk it...
    Yep, and fairly concentrated hydrochloric acid as well. Problems begin when it's not confined to our stomachs.

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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Eco question - What happens to that cleaning solution at the end of the day?

    surely the muni waste water system can not handle that toxic solution.
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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    The off putting aroma of a substance is not indicative of its toxicity. Acetone is not as toxic as methanol, another commonly used substance. To me a more serious threat from acetone is its high volatility and very low ignition temperature. It can burn in both its liquid and vapor states. The MSDS for acetone lists its threat level for toxicity at a 2 but its threat level for flammability a 3. It is a crude scale but a score of 3 is significant. I am somewhat amused by peoples concerns with the acetone in Mr Smith's CPES. No one talks about the toluene or xylene that are both present in CPES and are not exactly user friendly materials. Toluene and Xylene are both nerve poisons.
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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    Recently I've read seemingly credible reports warning of using vinegar for skin cleanup though it isn't as bad as the usual solvents.
    Also have read of epoxy formulations that have radically reduced impact on sensitized individuals.
    I was reading a veritable blizzard of information on the subject and I apologize for not saving or remembering any links.
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    Default Re: Bucket of "water" that cleans up epoxy

    I use Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on my hands for cleanup. It is cheap effective and (as far as I know) safe

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