How to Remove Expandable Foam From Fingers

Written by maria tussing
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How to Remove Expandable Foam From Fingers
Wearing gloves to prevent expandable foam from sticking to fingers is easier than removing it. (gloves, carpenter pencil image by Greg Pickens from

Expanding foam usually refers to polyurethane foam that is sold in aerosol cans. The foam is used for sealing cracks and insulating areas where other insulation is not practical. The expanding foam comes out of the can when the button on top of the can is pushed, and seconds after it is dispensed it begins to swell, filling in all vacant areas and often expanding more than the user anticipated. This foam will stick to anything, including hair, clothes, hands and finished surfaces. The best way to keep yourself clean when using expandable foam is to use preventive measures, such as wearing gloves, eye protection, old clothes and a hat.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rag or paper towel
  • Pumice stone or fingernail file
  • Petroleum jelly or baby oil
  • Cling film

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  1. 1

    Wipe off as much of the foam as possible with a rag or paper towel while it is still wet. It dries quickly, so act fast.

  2. 2

    Use a pumice stone or fingernail file to remove as much of the dried foam as you can.

  3. 3

    Spread petroleum jelly or baby oil on the remaining dried foam.

  4. 4

    Wrap cling film around the area covered by the petroleum jelly or baby oil.

  5. 5

    Let the plastic wrapped area sit for five to 10 minutes, absorbing the oils.

  6. 6

    Remove the cling film.

  7. 7

    Gently try to push the foam off with your fingers.

Tips and warnings

  • If the foam has not cured, it can be removed by wiping it with a cloth or cotton ball soaked in acetone, which is often found in fingernail polish remover.
  • Any foam that won't come off will wear off over time.

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