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How to Remove Polyester Resin

Updated February 21, 2017

Polyester resin, also known as fibreglass resin, is a material used in the creation of marine hulls, car bodies, stage props and other hard plastic applications. The resin is fairly toxic, creating both ventilation and body protection concerns for fibreglass users. It also hardens over anything it touches, and can ruin workspace surfaces as well as clothing and other protective gear. You can clean spilt polyester resin from most surfaces, however, using a basic solvent.

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  1. Put on a vapour respirator, safety goggles and latex gloves, if you are not already wearing protective gear. Make sure that your work area is well-ventilated.

  2. Take a clean rag and wipe away as much of the polyester resin as you can while it is still wet. Do not spread the resin to other surfaces. Put the rag in a safe place away from any possible fire sources.

  3. Pour a small amount of acetone onto the stained surface, while the polyester resin is still wet. Let the acetone soak the resin for a moment, so that the resin dissolves. If you are removing resin from an object, you can pour acetone into a bucket and immerse the object in the bucket. When finished, save the used acetone for another project.

  4. Wipe up the surface with another clean rag. If any wet resin remains, treat with acetone again.

  5. Examine your workspace for any hardened polyester resin and apply acetone to these areas as well. If the acetone has no effect on the resin once it has set, you will need to use another solvent to weaken the resin bond, such as trichloroethane.

  6. Dispose of the rags or soak them in acetone to remove the polyester resin.

  7. Tip

    If you are removing polyester resin from clothing, first test the acetone on a small part of the clothing to make sure that the acetone will not ruin the fabric.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vapour respirator
  • Safety goggles
  • Latex gloves
  • Clean rags
  • Acetone
  • Bucket

About the Author

Melissa J. Bell

A writer with a Bachelor of Science in English and secondary education, but also an interest in all things beautiful, Melissa J. Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets.

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