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"Safety best practices stripping miniatures with acetone" Topic

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859 hits since 10 Feb 2015
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R Strickland Fezian Inactive Member10 Feb 2015 7:41 p.m. PST

The good: Pure acetone is awesome for stubborn miniatures. My figures are sparkly clean like I would not have believed possible after switching to acetone for round 2 (details: TMP link

The stuff SEEMS to be less hazardous than other chemicals I've used previously. The smell is barely noticible unless you stick your face it in or leave a wide jar of it open to the room for extended periods.

A set of Mr Clean gloves with textured rubber on the palm side and fingers and blue mesh on the back hold up extremely well with it. I've stripped more figures with these gloves and acetone than any pair of gloves has lasted with anything. And the stuff evaporates so quickly I'm not too worried about it leeching through the rubber.

The stuff is nothing compared to, say, mineral spirits, which if you open in the house with the windows closed you can catch the scent all day and night.

This said, the warning label says don't breathe it, don't inhale the mist, and done get it on your skin or clothes.

I started with a paint mask but after trying it without and not really smelling anything, I switched to a dust mask. I know the mask does nothing for vapors but I notice some mist gets in the air while I scrub and I think the dust mask works against that.

All that to say, can knowledgeable folks sound off on how much risk I'm assuming and whether there ways to do it more safely?

Mako11 Inactive Member10 Feb 2015 8:01 p.m. PST

Do not drink.

I'd say try to be near a source of fresh air, or fan driven air, and keep exposure to a minimum.

Capt John Miller10 Feb 2015 8:46 p.m. PST

Do not light a match or cigarette or a cigar or a lantern.

Also, what Mako11 said.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2015 9:39 p.m. PST

At work, acetone has to be stored in the hazardous materials warehouse. It is extremely useful, but do be careful.


Ewan Hoosami10 Feb 2015 10:05 p.m. PST

Hi Spooktalker,
My first Job was boatbuilding in the early eighties. It was common practice of the guys that worked in the fiberglass dept to was remove polyester resin and paint from their skin using acetone. A practice I never undertook, I used to let it wear off over time. I read somewhere back then that it was found that acetone causes damage to the nerve endings in your skin and that damage is irreparable. I have never recently re confirmed this fact as I have never used acetone since I left the industry.
If you have concerns about any product you should always refer to the products Safety a Data Sheet for the facts.
As a postscript to my work at that factory. I do know that three of the men I worked with died in their 60's from skin related illnesses and another died from a nerve related cancer

ITALWARS Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2015 2:47 a.m. PST

please…could Acetone also be used to remove glue from a metal kit already constructed?…tracks ecc…from a 1:72 tank

BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2015 5:49 a.m. PST

You should also be using eye protection when using Acetone. As mentioned, it is extremely flammable and should be used outside or with proper ventilation.

Italwars, it will likely work for your glue (not sure if it will break down all glues or epoxies, but it is worth a try.

dsfrank11 Feb 2015 11:03 a.m. PST

I've always had good luck with PineSol and none of the acetone dangers – well, I wouldn't drink the PineSol either – so there is that

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2015 11:59 a.m. PST

Acetone is a fine product for stripping metal miniatures.

I use Purple Power for most things, plastic and metal. It powers away most glue and paint, and has the 2-butoxethanol ingredient that Simple green no longer contains. All this while still being almost the cheapest option available.

I've used Acetone before, but if Purple doesn't do the trick, I usually go strait to MEK.

Now for the gloves…
I would always try to avoid any contact with the skin when using Acetone and MEK. I wouldn't necessarily trust Mr Clean gloves, especially when for 2 bucks you can pick up a pair of Solvex "Solvent-resistant" gloves that are designed for this kind of thing, will last for a while and offer more protection to your wrists and forearms.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2015 12:17 p.m. PST

Acetone can "de-fat " skin cells. That is one very good reason to use appropriate gloves. Not latex.

R Strickland Fezian Inactive Member11 Feb 2015 11:43 p.m. PST

Thanks for the replies. Thanks in particular Ewan Hoosami. Thanks ordinarybass for the suggestion of Solvex gloves, plan to get some.

Regarding other solvents, I'd prefer to keep this discussion to acetone safety. There are dozens of other threads to compare solvents in such as the one I linked to. But in passing I'll say I've tried a well over a dozen of them including MEK substitute (MEK is not sold in my state, which should tell you something about IT'S safety right there) and in my experience none compare in the slightest to acetone.

So far I have solvex gloves on my get list will use eye protection. What about a paint respirator? Necessary? I think I'll go back to it despite the inconvenience. Though like I said I don't notice fumes. Overkill?

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2015 6:26 a.m. PST

I don't worry about fumes or inhalation, but I do put the lid back on the jar each time I take a figure out of the MEK to scrub it clean.

However, if you've already got a respiratior and it gives you peace of mind, there's certainly no harm.

R Strickland Fezian Inactive Member12 Feb 2015 7:10 p.m. PST


Good idea about replacing the lid and I've come to do that too. The acetone evaporates quickly so I need a tiny jar of it open to dip the toothbrush in, but that lets off no noticeable vapors and I close the big the jar with the figures after pulling out a fig.

The respirator is a literally a pain in the neck and it puts an ugly kink in my beard, but I may keep it up. I actually need a new one but I'd be getting it whether or not a use it for this particular project.

The other choice to make is whether to insist on the windows open or if a HEPA filter is good enough. Like I said it doesn't release noticeable vapors, and the time of the week I'm most disposed to scrub the figs is at night. Maybe just leave the windows open anyway as I don't have much in the way of winter here.

R Strickland Fezian Inactive Member12 Feb 2015 7:28 p.m. PST

I should mention I picked up some nitrile gloves for $2.50 USD (Grease Monkey brand, same kind as Sol-vex, same teal color). On the back is a list of chemicals with ratings for 4 kinds of gloves. The acetone ratings are:

Latex: Good
Neoprine: Good
Nitrile: Good
Vinyl: Fair

These are a lot less thick than the Mr Clean ones but they say they are specifically for chemicals so I'm going to try them.

One safety sheet I read said to "use impervious gloves made of butyl rubber of PTFE (teflon)" but I think they may be envisioning sticking ones arms in the stuff. Those kinds of gloves cost $90 USD+ a pair on Amazon.

Rebelyell2006 Inactive Member17 Feb 2015 7:35 p.m. PST

At one of the more professional museums in my resume, we stored acetone in a fire cabinet with other aerosols and chemicals. Keep in mind that acetone is used as a solvent for paints and pigments in our hobby and for other paint purposes like artifact pigment B72 that is suspended in acetone, but it is also very corrosive if in a sufficiently high concentration. Nail polish remover will damage soft plastic minis, and anything stronger like hardware store acetone (or prolonged contact with weak acetone) will eat through most plastics. The same goes for gloves and storage containers. Stronger concentrations are stored in metal because they can withstand the corrosion, and weaker concentrations are stored in plastic that can withstand the corrosive properties. When the manufacturer gives recommendations for glove materials, follow them. Museums use medical-grade nitrile gloves, but thicker painters gloves or industrial gloves from nitrile materials are safe as long as you replace the gloves periodically. And definitely keep high air circulation when working with it for prolonged time (or if working with anything more concentrated than nail polish remover). That more-professional museum required staff to either go outside or go into the welding/spray paint hotroom in the workshop. Any tainted/dirty acetone had to be poured on to trash cardboard and left to evaporate for a few hours.

Since acetone evaporates very easily, you have to be very careful because fumes can be as dangerous as skin contact. If you don't like the respirator and don't want to work outside, open a few windows and set up box fans to pull the fumes out. This hobby is great, but it isn't worth causing preventable longterm health damage.

R Strickland Fezian Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 8:03 p.m. PST

Thanks Rebelyell, great info.

I decided the mask is worth it, and have an open window beside me and a hepa filter running. I also have eyewear now and the nitrile gloves. I think I'm good, although I've actually considered a rubber smock or bib of some kind. Sounds like I'm adequately protected. I have the stuff in metal containers it came in.

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