How to Remove Polyurethane From Skin Without Mineral Spirits

Polyurethane is a clear and durable coating applied to wood, metal, and other surfaces. It is often used in high-traffic areas to withstand wear and tear. However, polyurethane can also be tricky to remove from the skin if it comes into contact with your hands. This article will discuss how to remove polyurethane from skin without mineral spirits.

How to Remove Polyurethane From Skin Without Mineral Spirits

Polyurethane is a durable, water-resistant material often used in flooring, furniture, and other household items. It can be tough to remove if you get polyurethane on your skin. Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to get the polyurethane off your skin without using mineral spirits. 

We will also cover some tips on avoiding any potential skin irritation. Let’s get started!

10 Ways on How to Remove Polyurethane From Skin Without Mineral Spirits

1. Use a Rubber Glove

When applying polyurethane to your wood, wear a rubber glove to keep the finish from soaking into your skin. This will allow you to wash it off quickly after finishing.

2. Use Fabric Softener

Add a few drops of cleaning fluid to your final rinse to help keep the finish from soaking into your skin. You could also use a fabric softener instead to help dissolve the finish upon contact with water. For example, mix 1 part fabric softener with four parts water to remove polyurethane varnish. Mix the fabric softener with water in a 1:1 ratio if you’re using a spray bottle.

3. Use Petroleum Jelly

Rinse the oil-based finish off your skin quickly with a liberal amount of petroleum jelly, allowing it to dissolve the finish. Be diligent about getting all residual particles of oil-containing substances off your hands before working on other projects!

4. Use Acetone

Acetone is a chemical commonly found in nail polish remover that will remove the polyurethane from your skin. Though this quick fix is easy, it’s also quite smelly and likely harmful to your skin if used too frequently.

Acetone Removes Polyurethane From Skin

5. Use WD-40

WD-40 is a penetrating oil and lubricant that can be used to dissolve the finish on your skin. It’s important to note that WD-40 should not be used on finished wood as it will strip it off. Also, be sure to rinse your hands thoroughly after using this method.

6. Use Denatured Alcohol or Goof Off

Denatured alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, can be used to dissolve polyurethane from your skin. WD-40 works better for smaller areas, while denatured alcohol is best suited for larger areas of skin. Be sure to rinse the liquid off thoroughly with water not to dry out your skin.

7. Use Murphy’s Oil Soap

Looking to avoid the chemicals in commercial cleaners? Murphy’s Oil Soap might be a good option for you. It’s a household cleaner that can also be used to remove polyurethane from your skin. Just be sure to rinse off thoroughly with water after using this method.

8. Use a Dish Soap

Any dish soap will work to remove polyurethane from your skin if it is oil-based. However, make sure that you use high-quality dish soap as the cheap stuff will likely not remove the finish effectively.

9. Use Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil, like mineral oil or baby oil, can be used to dissolve polyurethane on your skin. It’s easy to find in most households and won’t leave an unpleasant smell like WD-40. Apply the vegetable oil directly onto your skin dish soap and not hand soap. Be sure to rinse off all dish soap with water to avoid dryness.

Dissolves Polyurethane From Skin

10. Use Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits are an effective way to remove polyurethane from your hands. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may experience irritation if you are exposed to the mineral spirits for an extended period of time. If your hands start to tingle after applying the mineral spirits, rinse them with soap and water.

Some Tips and Suggestions

1. Try using vegetable or olive oil to remove the polyurethane from your skin. Apply a small amount to your skin and use a soft cloth to rub it in. Rinse with warm water and repeat as necessary.

2. Avoid using a soft or abrasive cloth on your skin. You can use things like washcloths, but try to use materials that will not cause damage even if they are used hard.

3. Try using denatured alcohol instead of mineral spirits for polyurethane removal from the skin. Denatured alcohol is a methylated spirit, and it is a solvent that will help break down polyurethane.

4. Apply the alcohol directly to the skin and use a cloth to wipe it off. Be sure to rinse with warm water afterward.

Apply Directly to the Skin

5. If you have difficulty removing polyurethane from your skin, consult a doctor or dermatologist for help. They may provide you with a stronger solvent that will break down the polyurethane.

6. Use caution when trying to remove polyurethane from your skin at home, as you may develop an allergy if you are exposed to it for too long. Also, keep in mind that these are strong solvents and should be treated accordingly.

7. Always consult a doctor or dermatologist before using any methods discussed here, as they may be harmful if used incorrectly.


Polyurethane is a difficult material to remove from the skin. As the article explains, mineral spirits are not an effective way to get it off and may cause more damage than benefit. Fortunately, some alternatives work well on polyurethane paint; one option is using dish soap, which contains oils and fats that can help break down the coating without stripping natural healthy oils.

In this post, we have provided ways to remove polyurethane from the skin without mineral spirits.

A mixture of white vinegar and water can be used as a natural alternative for removing the sticky substance that adheres to clothing more than it does to human skin.

The use of dish soap mixed with warm water also effectively dissolves any leftover residue on the surface of one’s hands, which will help prevent future contact between the harmful chemicals and sensitive parts such as the eyes or mouth. If you want to know more about this topic, feel free to comment below!

Jennifer Branett
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

DIY Quickly