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How To Remove Contact Cement From Skin [6 Methods + Tricks]

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Love to work on DIY projects for your home? Well then, you often work with cement. 

Contact Cement is an intensive adhesive. So it will be tricky to get it off! It often sticks to your hands and skin.

How to remove contact cement from skin?

First, try soaking your hands in soapy hot water. If that doesn’t work then try moisturizing your skin. Gasoline and other natural oils will work as a lubricant to off the cement. Using nail paint remover and rubbing works perfectly most of the time. As a last resort, you can use mineral spirits.

Still not entirely satisfied? Take a chill pill! We have detailed out a few methods to do it. 

Now, let’s check these out before you try anything out and bruise your skin.

Is Contact Cement Dangerous?

Naturally, all types of cement are bad for long exposure to your skin. If the pH of contact cement is high, it could burn or irritate your skin. If that happens you should treat your skin immediately. 

Most of the time it’s not dangerous. But you should be careful. When you’re heating up your contact cement, make sure you wear a respirator to stay safe.

On a firm surface, the cement typically takes around 3-5 days to cure. Temperature and humidity play a role there. When it is applied to the skin, however, it dries in a shorter amount of time. It takes roughly 30 minutes for the cement to cure and stiffen your skin. 

That’s why you should wear gloves to protect yourself. But it is better you use a much lighter cement with less pH value.

What Could Happen To My Skin?

Whether gluing plastic to wood or using cement, a lot can go wrong. It could go into your eye or you might inhale toxic fumes. But most of the time it affects your skin.

We have a list of possibilities that could happen if cement is exposed to your skin. Let’s give it a look. 

Dry Skin & Irritation

Concrete hardens by absorbing moisture from your skin. This will leave your skin dry and irritated. At first, your skin will start to itch and you might see some redness in that area. 

Mild Burns

Depending on how quickly the concrete hardens, burns can take hours or even days to appear. Don’t leave hardened concrete on your skin without treating it. Otherwise, your skin will start to blister.

It has the chance of swelling and bleeding. First, second and third degree burns could follow in the immediate aftermath. Skin grafts may be necessary for extreme situations of concrete skin problems because of the risk of lifelong scarring.

Various Skin Disease 

Irritant Contact Dermatitis can happen if you spend a lot of time in wet cement. The skin will scratch, scar, and become inflamed or puffy as a result of ICD.

Numerous ICD encounters may result in Allergic Contact Dermatitis. It is a chronic sensitivity to the chemicals in the cement. So please be aware. Wear safety gloves constantly. 

To help you, we have made a list of chemical resistant safety gloves:

Product 1
Product 2

If you are facing any of these, contact a dermatologist immediately. You shouldn’t risk having long-term problems. If not, then let’s continue with the discussion of removing contact cement from your skin. 

Methods of Removing Contact Cement From Skin

You might find that contact cement is not easy to remove. That’s where we come in! Already tried soapy water and it’s not working? Just relax! No need to panic. 

You should try out these methods. It will surely take the contact cement off your skin in no time. Hurry along!

Method 1: Hot water

The primary thing that you can try is to soak your hands in hot water. It will help to diffuse the adhesive a little. Then you can wash your hands with liquid soap. Rub it gently on your hands otherwise, the contact cement will hurt your hands. 

We’d recommend using Lava heavy-duty soap. Otherwise, use soaps that have moisturizers. It will help your hands to be soft. 

Method 2: Lotion

It might sound strange to you. But any type of lotion or moisturizer could help you remove the cement. Just wash your hands first and then use lotion on your skin. Gently keep on rubbing your skin until the cement peels off. 

Method 3: Gasoline or Natural Oils

Mineral oils are natural lubricants. Do you have spare gasoline after using it to start your generator? That is something you’ll be needing at a time like this!

Use copious amounts of natural oils on your hand. Gently rub it. If it doesn’t work then keep the oil on your skin for half an hour. Then take a damp cloth and rub off the cement layer. 

Method 4: Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover should be your next step if other methods don’t work. It’s great if you can find genuine acetone-based fingernail paint remover. 

Get a cotton ball and apply it to the contact cement. After a while, you’ll see that the cement will disappear from your skin.

Method 5: Rubbing Alcohol 

Using rubbing alcohol is a great method too. With rubbing alcohol and some good old-fashioned hand-to-hand friction, it should begin to peel. You might need somebody to assist you if you have a large amount of cement stuck to your skin. 

Method 6: Mineral Spirits 

You might clean incomplete wood with mineral spirits. You can use the same ones on your skin too! Use a wash towel to pour the mineral spirit and then wipe it off. Don’t dump the liquid straight into your palms. You may wind up losing a significant amount.

Apply the damp towel to your hand for 40 minutes or longer. I guess it depends on how much rubber cement is on your hand.

This must help in the dissolution of the rubber cement. You can also softly wipe your hand with the towel.

Cement will eventually dry off as your skin will perspire. If you haven’t already stuck your pinky to your thumb, you can just wait for it to fall off. 


Question: Is water-based contact cement better than solvent-based?

Answer: Yes, water-based cement is better. It has the same adhesion strength as contact cement. Besides, it minimizes your exposure to harmful chemicals and is simple to clean.

Question: How can I remove contact cement from hard surfaces?

Answer: At first, you could try pulling out the adhesive. If that doesn’t work, then apply a little heat with your hairdryer. Solvent-based contact cement will come off with heat. Or you can also apply mineral spirit or nail polish remover. 

Question: Is rubber cement and contact cement the same thing?

Answer: Not quite. Between the two, components bonded with contact cement are more securely bound than rubber adhesive. That’s why rubber cement takes longer to dry. 


Now you know everything about how to remove contact cement from skin. Try out these solutions and use a moisturizer on your skin afterward.

Just remember to wear gloves and a respirator the next time you do any DIY cement work. You can always switch to rubber cement for certain DIY works. 

Best of luck on your upcoming DIY projects!