How to dissolve polyurethane foam

Polyurethane foam is a flexible foam that has many uses. In certain formulas, it creates a soft foam, such as the foam used to make chair cushions or carpet padding. In another form, the foam is used as an insulating material, such as for wall insulation and pipe insulation. One form of polyurethane foam is sprayed onto an object from a can. If the foam gets onto an undesired area, it can be somewhat difficult to remove because it becomes hard and unmanageable. However, with a solvent-based cleaner you can dissolve the foam and make it easier to remove from the area.

Work in a well-ventilated area. Put on rubber gloves, eye protection and a respirator mask to protect yourself from toxic solvent fumes. Place a fan near the work area to blow the fumes away from your body.

Locate a solvent containing methylene chloride. Some paint strippers contain methylene chloride. Pour the solvent onto a work rag. Spread the solvent solution all over the foam. You can also pour the solvent directly onto the foam.

Allow the foam to sit for about 10 minutes. The foam should dissolve during that time. Scrape away any dissolved foam with a paint scraper. Place the dissolved foam into a disposable container.

Repeat the soaking and scraping process until all the foam is dissolved. It may take several hours to dissolve all the foam if there is a large amount in the area. Wipe one final application of solvent over the base material to eliminate any remaining foam particles.

Rinse the area thoroughly with water to cleanse any solvent residue from the area. Dispose of the solvents and dissolved foam at a hazardous waste facility. Dot not dispose of the materials in a regular trash disposal unit or down drainage pipes.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Respirator mask
  • Eye protection
  • Methylene chloride-containing solvent (such as paint stripper) or foam dissolver
  • Plastic scraper
  • Work rags
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About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.