If you need to remove cured epoxy resin, you need to follow the steps outlined below. We’ll show what to use to dissolve epoxy, soften it up, and remove it.
Epoxy is an extremely useful product and fills a very important niche in the DIY and professional spaces. But like any great product, there will be times it needs to be removed. Of course, the best time to remove epoxy that’s ended up in a place it shouldn’t be is before it cures.
To remove uncured epoxy, use a clean cloth dampened with a solvent such as denatured alcohol, acetone, or lacquer thinner. Depending on the type of epoxy, one of these solvents should make clean-up nice and easy. Always test a small, inconspicuous area of the surface with the solvent to make sure it won’t damage the finish. Also, it’s best to try the least aggressive solvent first (alcohol) and move to a more volatile solvent only if necessary. Make sure to wear gloves, safety glasses, and work in a well-ventilated space when using these solvents.
Once the epoxy has cured, or if you need to remove epoxy that’s been in place for a long time, the best thing to do is to soften up the epoxy resin before trying to remove it. There are two ways to achieve this depending on the material involved.
Follow this procedure to remove epoxy from porous materials like wood or concrete:
- Dampen a clean cloth with acetone and rub it on the epoxy to be removed (but first, check to make sure the acetone won’t damage the finish on the surface being treated).
- Allow the acetone to soak into the surface for several minutes. This helps break down the adhesion of the epoxy to the material.
- Use a putty knife or scraping tool to gently begin scraping away the epoxy, being careful not to damage the surface of the object or wall.
- The acetone will evaporate and should not leave a residue, so there shouldn’t be too much to clean up once the epoxy is removed.
For hard, non-porous surfaces like metal, follow these steps:
- Use a chemical adhesive remover to soften the epoxy since acetone cannot soak into the metal as it can on a porous surface.
- Always use adequate protection including gloves, a mask, and safety glasses and choose a well-ventilated area.
- As the epoxy begins to soften, chip or scrape it away with a putty knife or similar tool. Continue to apply adhesive remover as needed.
- Once the epoxy is gone, wipe the area down with mineral spirits to remove any chemical residue.
Remove epoxy from your hands or skin by wiping with a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol.
If you’ve removed old epoxy and need to replace it, or you need to apply epoxy on a new project, we have some suggestions for the best epoxies for various projects.
If you need a quick-setting epoxy that can be directly applied without mixing, you’ll want to try Loctite Epoxy Instant Mix 1 Minute. This high-tech adhesive starts to set in just 60 seconds and produces a super strong, rigid bond. The unique nozzle mixes the 2 parts as you squeeze the material out of the dispenser. This epoxy will bond to metal, glass, ceramic, wood, tile, masonry materials, and most plastics. It’s great for indoor and outdoor projects and can even be tinted if needed.
Also available is Loctite Epoxy Gel. This is a thicker consistency adhesive that won’t run or drip, making it ideal for vertical surfaces or overhead work. It doesn’t shrink and bonds to a wide range of materials. This formula sets in about 6 minutes and can also be used outdoors.