Cleaning your Tools

How do you guys clean your tools, mainly squeegees, after every use without wasting a gallon of acetone? I just bought one of those tin painters “pans” that I’ll fill with acetone, let my squeegees soak for a few minutes and then, with my bare hands, scrub and rub the acetone all over them to try and get all the resin/tint/pigment off. Is there an easier way? Just letting them sit in the acetone doesn’t seem to do anything. Is it ok to use your bare hands with acetone? Thanks for any tips.

There will be many responses to this, and I’m also interested in what they are.

I highly recommend two sealable containers, large enough to do the job, your choice. In one will always be clean acetone. Once it gets dirty enough to feel slightly sticky, it goes into the other one. Once the dirty one gets unusable, dispose of properly. Wash everything in the dirty acetone first, then use the clean acetone container just to rinse. Reseal the containers to stop evaporation. This method initially seems wasteful, but believe me, your acetone will go a lot further, but keep the lids on.

And Tenover, use gloves!

I’ve been using gloves. The same ones I have on from glassing/wiping my squeegee, etc…So basically I’m not wiping anything off when using the acetone, but simply “spreading” all the resin and pigment in the clean acetone and on the tools…Not fun. Oh, and a funny little story from last weekend…

After laminating my daughters little board pink, I took all the tools out to clean them, going one by one until they were all spotless. Took my gloves off and realized there was still a little plastic spoon I had used to dish out the red pigment into the resin…dipped it into the acetone and started to “push” the excess out of the spoon with my fingers. BAD IDEA. Looks like nothings happening, so I pour more acetone on it and rub it harder with my hands. Now by this time, my hands, from the wrist up, top and bottom, are the brightest, most vibrant red you’ve EVER seen. The more acetone I add, the “redder” they get. I’m starting to freak a little. I’m in the garage, no one’s home, and I can’t touch anything. I then took a piece of 100 Grit sandpaper (lol…) and started sanding every inch of my hand, but it was taking way to long to see any results. Finally I found a fresh can of Comet sitting in the garage and just dumped it on one of my hands, soaked with water and went to town with a Scotch-Brite pad. That seemed to work pretty well, and I was able to get “most” of it off after scrubbing for an hour or so. That was last Friday, and my hands still have a nice tint job…Although the laps could use some work :wink:

Tenover - Look in the archives re: cleaning brushes/tools with acetone. There’s lots there about using the 3 can method and other good ways to clean without any mess and acetone waste.

Always wear gloves. I buy boxes of 100 latex gloves from Harbor Freight - 2 at a time if they’re on sale. I would never get the Nitrile as they break down in acetone. They are cheap enough so if the ones you glass with are mucked up, put a fresh pair on to clean. Then you’re not adding muck on top of muck.

Again check the archives - it’s all been gone over before. Pete

tenover, where do you come from? First you put your bare hands in that much acetone then you sand them with 100 grit paper. You can use the computer and go to this web page, so go to the web and get a MSDS on acetone. This stuff is not very good for you and you should try and keep it off of you. Always use gloves, cleaning you tools in two containers is a good idea, but remember this stuff is flamable keep it away from spark or open flame, also keep it covered when not in use. Is your hotwater heater in the garage? I always do my clean up outside.

Well Pete, since I was looking for info on how to clean my squeegees, I did a search for “Cleaning squeegees” and got two pages of hits with nothing on how people clean their squeegees…Just hits with either “cleaning” or “Squeegee” in the post. That’s why I posted the question, sorry.

I come from somewhere else…I was cleaning up outside, just outside the garage. Sorry I didn’t explain it properly.

Are the latex gloves that I use in anatomy class suitable for working with resin? A box of those would end up being cheaper than buying the kind used for doing dishes.

Well, nicking them is always cheaper :slight_smile: Yes, you can use them with resin. They have a nasty tendency to dissolve in acetone tho’.



We always take a little time to wipe off the excess resin off the squeegees with paper towels. Yeah some of the paper towel gets stuck on the squeegee put getting all the resin off your tools before dipping them in acetone extends the life of the acetone. Every little bit helps!

I think he came off a bit harsh, but with reason I suppose… hearing about someone sanding their hands is a bit comical.

I’m no chemist, but it is my understanding that the resin/acetone mixture is far worse than either by itself. I would assume that the acetone becomes a transport to help that resin into your bloodstream.

My point, wear gloves when you clean tools, even if it means putting on a fresh pair. BTW, I use the disposables when glassing, and any time that I might get large amounts of resin on my hands. I have a thick pair of “dish washing gloves” that I use for cleaner jobs, like washing tools or dropping in leash plugs.

When everyone in the medical ind. was getting away from Latex gloves I picked up 3 boxes of 100 each for a dollar a box. I figuer that I can pitch then after each uses for that price. You may still be able to find them at some of the dollar type stores. I got mine at a place in Half Moon Bay called twice as nice. Can’t use them in contact with acetone though, just resin.

Oooo… dishpan hands from hell.

A stiff natural bristle brush is Real Nice for cleaning things like squeegees, as it won’t eat into the squeegee the way some of the scrub pads can.

The 3 lb. coffee cans, with lids, are kinda nice for your dirty-rinse-clean solvent cans. Brush spinners, as used by pro painters, are surprisingly good too. Though I use throwaway brushes with resin.

Grooved rollers, for getting air out of mat and similar - mold and boat work rather than board work…well, I tend to figure if they last a couple jobs with rinsing, then good, otherwise you gotta disassemble them and wash every %$#* piece individually. Likewise your x-acto knife for those fine cuts. Dry any aluminum tools after cleaning, rinse with hot fresh water - acetone tends to oxidise it. Seems to help some.

For your hands - well, I like the cheapo vinyl gloves from the hardware store. Let resin dry on 'em, blow 'em up and watch most of it come off pretty quick. I tend to be done by the time the resin’s kicking, so the odd drop on my arms can be gtot off with a clean rag moistened with acetone.

Don’t bum out about the pigment on the hands trick… you don’t wanna know about the second time I learned that glassing in flip-flops was a bad idea. But next time, remember- plastic spoons are disposable.

hope that’s of use


Thanks doc,

That’s EXACTLY the kind of info I was looking for…

we just put up a post on Funny Tool Stories. Might have to do a follow-up, Funny Solvent Stories… any more contributions out there?

Lol…I’m sure by the end of this month I could personally fill that up.

Ahm, you mean like-

"This is the solvent can, That is the butt can.

Try to remember that next time!!"

Lol…Yeah, yeah, yeah…Make fun of the new guy now. I learn quick though, and you never know, I could end up making some nice boards with all the “stupid” questions I ask. I REALLY appreciate all your help (however trivial it is to YOU, it is NOT to me) and I will definitely pass it on to anyone who asks me. Thanks again. Once I get a good board done, I’ll post pics. But I’m telling you now…I will not post pics until I have an awesome board. and it WILL happen.


Since I’ve started using UV cured resin, I no longer need acetone. To laminate and glass a board, all I use is one single pair of gloves and one single squeegee cut out from a plastic container (one more way to recycle …). I keep the squeegee away from UV rays while one side of the board cures. When everything is done, most of the time I even manage to save the gloves and squeegee for further use (dried resin comes out easily from the squeegee).

Using UV resin, I also waist a lot less resin than before.

But then, this is garage boardbuilding, with 1 or 2 boards built per year and no resin tints … I guess at the production level it’s a different matter.


I’ve used the nitrile gloves from Harbor Freight for years. Yes, they come apart if you soak them in acetone but if you wipe them with a dampened rag or paper towel they’ll last for a couple of sessions. Latex tears way too easily. I wear two pairs, extra protection and you can just take the outer ones off if they get full and you’re in the middle of something. Keep your old brushes from glossing/hot coats and use those to clean squeeges and tools (cut the bristles down some). On containers, small openings mean less evaporation and less airborne polluting- which reduces the life of your respirator filters. I got a pump-type dispenser that fits quart/gal cans from Crystaliner (other suppliers may have them too) for small cleanups. These seal the vapors and I use a lot less acetone now. They last a long time too.