How To Remove Polyurethane From Hands? (5 Easy Steps)

Polyurethane, in short PU, is widely used in multiple home applications, like in the varnish of furniture, sealants, paints, or anything. It is a beneficial plastic substance for high-end and better-performing appliances.

However, the problem begins with sticking the polyurethane on your hands. Because like other chemical substances, it can be detrimental to your skin. So, you have to get rid of it as soon as possible if it sticks to your skin.

And only washing the sticky polyurethane off your hands is not enough. So, here we are today to tell you how to remove polyurethane from hands. You will get this job done following elementary steps with the available items at your home.

What will you need to get polyurethane off hands?

For removing polyurethane from hands, you will need the below items.

Mineral spirits

Mineral spirit or white spirit is a petroleum-based clear liquid used as a universal organic solvent in painting. It is not soluble in water, so used as an extraction solvent or cleaning solvent. It is commonly used to remove oily items, clean paintbrushes, and many other household purposes.

Dish Soap

To clean off the white spirits, you will require soap. It can be harmful if you do not wash the spirit with soap properly. You can try a dish soap as it can break down the polyurethane.

Warm water

We all know that warm water helps to clean oily substances from the skin.

Any moisturizer or baby oil

Moisturizer or baby oil is beneficial to expel stains of polyurethane.


Your hands will dry out quickly due to too much washing. You have to apply lotion to moisturize your hands at the end.

Acetone or paint thinner

The last option is to use paint thinner or acetone.

How to clean polyurethane off hands (Step by step guideline)

The prime downside of using polyurethane is that you cannot clean all the varieties only with soap and water. So, we recommend using chemical-resistant hand gloves while working with PU.

If you do not have gloves available, and somehow it sticks to your hands, do not worry as there are several ways to remove this chemical. Among various methods, we will discuss the best way for polyurethane removal.

Step 1: Read the label on the can

Usually, manufacturers mention in the label what exactly you need to use to clean polyurethane. In maximum cases, it is mineral spirit. Ensure that you have some.

Step 2: Apply the mineral spirits

In a ventilated space, over an open sink and where there is no risk of open flame, carefully rub some spirits on your hands. Take a moderate amount of solvent as too much spirit is harmful to the skin. Or you can wipe your hands with a shop rag soaked in mineral spirit that will help you have control over the use of it.

Step 3: Wash your hands

After applying mineral spirits, instantly wash your hands with soap and warm water. Try to use dish soap to break the stickiness of polyurethane. Now rinse your hands out and dry them.

Step 4: Try additional ways

In maximum cases, polyurethane goes away in step 3. But if still, you have some sticky spots on your hands, you have to proceed to this step. Now try rubbing some moisturizing lotion, baby oil, or peanut butter onto your hands. Rub properly, then rewash your hands with soap and warm water.

Step 5: Apply lotion

Now wash your hands. Hopefully, you will not feel the stickiness this time, which means now your hands are polyurethane-free. However, due to too much washing, your hands might be a bit dry. You can apply some lotion or moisturizer to soften your hands.

It is the easiest way to remove polyurethane. Now, let us discover the other ways to remove it from your hands.

How to get polyurethane off hands without mineral spirits?

• You can use peanut butter or vegetable oil for this purpose.
• Paint thinner is also an option.
• You can use denatured alcohol for removing polyurethane.
• Use SOY-Gel paint and urethane stripper for bioproducts.
• Whatever you use, mentioned above, after using wash your hands with warm water and soap.
• Then dry your hands out to check if still sticky.
• Finally, use some moisturizing lotion to have a smooth coating on your hands.

So, by adopting these ways, you can remove PU from your hands. But we recommend using mineral spirits for this purpose as it is the easiest and best option so far.

FAQs on removing polyurethane from skin

1. Will paint thinner remove polyurethane?

Yes, paint thinners perform well for removing polyurethane. As polyurethane is used to make most painting elements, anything applied for thinning or removing paints can be used to remove polyurethane.

We advise using paint thinner when you cannot remove polyurethanes with mineral spirits as it is not a good thing for your skin. While removing polyurethane from wood, use a paint stripper with thinner that will make polyurethane soft, and it will be easy to wipe off.

2. Will mineral spirits remove polyurethane?

Well, it is the easiest and so far best way to remove polyurethane. You can take some of it and rub it onto your hand and then wash them off to remove polyurethane from your skin. As it can be detrimental to your skin, you have to wash your hands instantly after applying them with soap and warm water.

3. Will denatured alcohol remove polyurethane?

Yes, you can use denatured alcohol to remove polyurethane. However, it is not as toxic as a paint stripper, though it takes more time than a paint stripper to work. It is a popular choice for polyurethane removal but may not be the best option for your skin. Moreover, it is volatile, so make sure that your working space is well-ventilated and free from open flame.

4. How to remove polyurethane from brush?

If it is water-based polyurethane, then flash the brush thoroughly with water until it is clean. Then dry it.
In the case of oil-based polyurethane, mineral spirit or paint thinner works well, although the brush has dried. You need to soak the brush and then massage it to make the polyurethane softer. Then apply acetone to clean the paint thinner from the brush. In the end, wash the brush with soap and water for acetone removal.

Final words:

Well, now you have a clear idea about how to remove polyurethane from hands. And you have got to know that white spirit or mineral spirit is the best way for this purpose. If you varnish or paint your furniture, this procedure may be beneficial to you.

Anyways, using hand gloves can keep you away from applying all these methods. We hope this article will be helpful for you in your daily life as you can apply the same procedures to remove polyurethane from other elements.

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