How to clean up resin

Who doesn’t start out the year with the goal of getting more organized in your resin studio? (My hand is up in case you are wondering.)

You may be going through some of your resin supplies and deciding that you don’t need certain items anymore or perhaps you have supplies that are too old to be useful. (By the way, you don’t need to throw away yellow resin.) Or worse yet, maybe you find you have a resin spill you need to clean up and are not sure how to do it safely. Disposing of products properly is very important because many resin products can be toxic to aquatic life.

Here are some tips to help you clean up resin in your studio.

Review the disposal information provided with the product

The packaging is the first best place to tell you not only how to handle your resin safely, but other cautionary statements on how to dispose or not dispose of the resin and hardener components. If you have a resin kit and cannot find information on how to dispose of unused product, contact the manufacturer and ask to see a safety data sheet (SDS). Section 13 of the SDS specifically details how to dispose of unused material.

If you cannot get the safety data sheet from the manufacturer or they won’t provide you with that information, assume the resin is hazardous. Take the kit to a hazardous materials collection center with the information you have (inserts, packaging, etc.). Those vary by municipality, but if you do a search in your area for hazardous waste collections, you should be given options. These places are also usually the same locations where you take extra paint, unused medications, etc.

How should you not dispose of resin?

Never ever, ever pour them down your drain.

Never, ever, ever pour them down your sink.

Never, ever, ever run containers and utensils through your dishwasher.

Even if you have leftover material in capped off bottles, do not put them in your trash. Trash gets compacted so these bottles could break and contaminate the water supply.

What if you completely use up the material in the bottles?

Switch the caps (resin cap goes on hardener bottle and hardener cap goes on resin bottle) and allow them to cure shut. In this case, I don’t worry so much about the bottles contaminating the water supply because there’s really no material left in them to cause a problem. If you have a tiny bit left in each bottle, you can pour one into the other and let it cure, then throw it away.

You go to clean up resin in your studio and find a bottle has leaked. Now what?

First, gather paper towels, zip top plastic bags, a solvent (I use acetone), and a good soap (I use Dawn). Next, open a window and make sure you have fresh air circulating. Put on protective gloves and a respirator if you are sensitive to solvent fumes. This is where you are going to have to use your judgment. If it’s simply a small spill (something you can wipe up with a couple of paper towels), I will wipe up the spill and put the towels in the zip top bag. Seal completely and throw away in your regular trash. If it’s a bigger mess, continue to clean up, but throw the paper towels in a larger garbage bag and take to the hazardous materials collection center. (Yes, I realize that sounds like overkill but we all play an important part in keeping our water supply safe.)

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Next, use the solvent to wipe up remaining sticky residue. Then, use a damp towel with the soap and warm water to remove the remaining solvent. Dry thoroughly.

Pro tip: Not only do I store my resin kits in a dark closet, I keep them in a plastic container on a shelf. That way should something spill, it’s contained to a surface that’s easier to clean.

What do I do with cured resin I don’t want anymore?

Once your resin has fully cured, you can throw it away in your regular garbage.

I have cured resin on my countertops, table, etc. How do I get it off?

Proceed with the idea that you may ruin your surface by trying this. But then again, having resin drips all over it isn’t ideal either.

Place a cloth over the resin drips. Apply boiling hot water. Allow the heat to permeate for five to ten minutes, then try to peel off the resin. If that doesn’t work, use a putty knife to scrape under it to try to loosen the resin.

How do I clean up resin on my shirt, shorts, shoes, etc.?

Yeah. I wish I knew. Once it’s cured, it’s all but ruined. If it is still wet, I will apply a solvent (alcohol, acetone) to get as much out as possible, then apply laundry detergent on the spot directly to get out more residue. It all won’t come out, but it at least I don’t have a hard spot of cured resin on my shirt. (It ends up looking more like a grease stain).

What have been some of your resin cleanup horror stories?

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2019 Resin Obsession, LLC

8 Comments

Jane Biven

Thank you for sharing this important information Katherine! Resin users need to understand how to properly dispose of resin containers. I have a tip for cleaning up/removing cured resin on surfaces…use your heat gun to loosen it up! Although not perfect, it will often help to pry large pieces off of tables in one piece. Also, it works to remove the tape from the underside of your artwork (resin drips).

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Eileen Thordarson

Thank you for the tips on dispoal.
I keep a pack of baby wipes close by in case of spills. I find they work better than paper towels for cleaning up drips.
I also use them to wipe out my mixing containers, then i can wash them without damage to plumbing

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Sheila Kington

I spilled resin on my leggings. I cleaned it up with baby wipes. It didn’t leave a greasy looking stain and there was no stiffness in the fabric. Baby wipes are a life saver when working with resin.

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Katherine Swift

Wow, that’s great! What are you leggings made of? I’ve never been that lucky when it gets on cotton clothing.

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Judi Hodgkin

My resin horror story? I had a litre of UV curing resin under my table at a craft show. I was taking time between customers to divide the litre into smaller bottles for a workshop I was teaching later in the weekend. Each time someone came to my stand, I’d rest the lid on the tin and place it under my table, out of sight.

My 7yo daughter came running in to see me and, unbeknownst to me, kicked the tin over. I didn’t notice until the smell became stronger than it should have been and I looked down to see nearly the entire litre seeping into the hotel’s carpet.

The first thing the hotel staff wanted to do was open the curtains and windows to let the stink out! I strongly said no and instead we placed a bunch of towels over the patch and walked and walked until nearly all of it was soaked up by the towels. The remainder was picked up by a solvent cleaner. I was threatened with a bill of £10,000 to replace the carpet which I flatly shut down because that’s what the hotel (and show I was attending) has insurance for.

Now I no longer prep for workshops anywhere than at home, in my own studio, no matter how rushed I am before the event is due to take place.

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