How to Get Primer Off Your Hands (10 Proven Methods)

Forget how it got there. You're here because you need to get primer off your hands.

Good news! We've got 10 brilliant primer removal methods that we can recommend. One of these is bound to do it!

In this Pro Paint Corner guide, you'll discover

  • What you need to know about getting primer off your hands
  • What materials you'll need on hand
  • How timing is everything

And much more!

Get Primer Off Hands

Before you get into the guide, remember that dried primer on your hand is not a very serious matter.

Mind that when scrubbing. Overdoing it can cause serious irritation and harm to your hands.

You're not in any serious danger with the primer on your hand in the first place.

What you need to know about getting primer off your hands

The first thing to know is that time matters. The sooner you get after this, the faster it is that you'll have your clean hands back.

The second thing to know is that, no, there is no sure-fire, 100% guaranteed solution that we know will work every time. 

If there were such a magic bullet, we'd have just written about it and left off the other 9 methods.

If you don't have every ingredient or supply listed below, gather as many as possible. If the method you're using requires an ingredient that you don't have, skip that method and try the next. 

This guide is ordered such that the easiest methods with ingredients and supplies that you are likely to have on hand are first. Further down the list are more obscure methods that may work for you when nothing else will.

Read More >> What Are The Top Ways To Remove Spray Paint From Anywhere?

Supplies you'll need for getting primer off your hands

Yes, the supply list is long. Do your best and gather as many of these as you quickly can, without worrying if you skip one or two. 

  • Gentle scrub brush
  • Soft rag
  • Cotton balls
  • Dish soap
  • Mineral oil or baby oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt, preferably sea salt
  • White sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Mayonaise
  • Nail polish remover

A quick glance at this ingredient list and it would seem that we're about to bake a cake. If it got the paint off your hands best, it'd be exactly what we do. 

Read on to discover a variety of methods proven to be effective at getting primer off hands.

Read More >> What Are The Best Exterior Primer Paints?

Did you know: Using a primer when you paint can actually save you money!  This is because it creates a much better surface for your paint to adhere to, so you'll likely use less of it.

How to get primer off hands (10 proven methods)

(Psst! You can click the links below to jump straight to the method you want.)

  1. Soap & water
  2. Baby oil, baby.
  3. Mild alcohols
  4. Stronger oils
  5. Salt scrub
  6. Baking soda scrub
  7. Mayo dollop
  8. The Vick Trick
  9. Sweeten it up
  10. Professional paint wipes

Method 1: Soap & Water

Perhaps you'll be surprised to find that good old fashioned soap and water are a pretty effective tandem to get primer off hands. 

Prepare some warm water in a pail, mix in the dish soap and disturb the water until bubbles form. Douse your rag or brush with the soapy water solution and begin to scrub the area where you got the primer on your hands.

Don't scrub too hard but apply as much pressure as you can without causing pain or injury. After about 15 seconds of scrubbing, take a break, and see if you can notice particles of paint that have come up.

If this is the case, you're doing something-- get back to it! If it looks exactly the same, the paint has likely dried and adhered to your skin to the point where this method will not be your answer.

Many water and latex-based paints will come off the skin with simple soap and water hand washing.

Method 2: Baby oil

If the old soap and water method didn't do it for you, welcome to baby oil territory. Here's where you squirt a little blast of baby oil on wherever you painted yourself and proceed to rub it in. Dry your hands off before you do this.

After about 30 seconds to a minute of massaging the oil into the painted area, you're ready to wet up your rag again and get to scrubbing.

The oil should have soaked into the paint and loosened up the bonds that it had on your skin. After you've done that, you should see major improvements. If this works for you, alternate drying your hands, reoiling them, and then going back to scrubbing.

You'd be surprised how many household replacements there are for commercial cleaning products. Many of these, the government in Lane County, Oregon, was kind enough to publish.

Method 3: Mild chemical solutions

Unline other guides we've offered such as How to Get Spray Paint Off A Driveway, you're not using toxic chemicals, pressure washers, sandblasters, or angle grinders on your hands! 

So, to gradually step up the level of abrasiveness in our cleaning formulas, we reach the stage of mild in Method 3. Here we have our nail polish remover and our rubbing alcohol. Either of these work fine if your hands aren't perfectly clean after the baby oil rub.

Get a cotton swab and load it up with your cleaning solution and rub it onto the painted area. Be generous in your application and fully saturate the painted area.

Now, go back to scrubbing. Hopefully, you're seeing some progress. If so, rinse, resoak with your alcohol solution, and repeat.

Read More >> How Do You Get Spray Paint Off Concrete?

Method 4: Stronger oils

Baby oil, nail polish remover, soap and water have all left you wanting thus far. Let's step up your oil game with some stronger oils. Here we'll recommend either vegetable oil or something even richer like olive oil.

You might also try coconut oil and essential oils if you have any on hand, such as rosemary, lavender, or sage oil. 

You can experiment with a few if you have a variety on hand. Pour a few tablespoons of each into some small spice bowls if there are any around. Massage this new oil into the painted part of your hand.

Now try and scrub it off, adding soap and water if desired to lather up and ease scrubbing. 

Hopefully, now you see definite progress or even full removal of the paint that was on your skin. 

Method 5: Salt scrub

Ok, we've tried stronger oils, now we attack with salt. Mix equal parts salt, preferably sea salt, and some type of oil. This solution, your salty oil rub, is your new hope.

Rub this salty oil onto the painted area and massage it in. Allow the solution to sit on and soak into your skin for at least a full minute.

Now, get back to soap, water, and scrubbing. Hopefully, you're seeing some paint come off. If so, repeat. If not, continue on.

Method 6: Baking soda scrub

We're still with you. You must have had some serious paint, or had let it dry a day or two if you're here at Step 6 with a painted hand.

Ok, here's the recipe:
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup baking soda

Mix those two ingredients well and apply with an old toothbrush. Scrub the painted area of your hand and hope with all your might that this gets it off. 

Method 7: Hand sandwich

When in doubt, drop a dollop of mayo on it. No lie, the oil, and fat in mayonnaise sometimes are just the right formula to lift dried paint off your skin. 

Let it soak in, massage it a bit, then wipe it off. Back to the soapy rag and scrubbing, once again hoping mayo was the magic move. 

Method 8: The Vick Trick

You're at a point of being willing to try anything by now. Well, your next slick move is slicking up your hand with some good old Vick's Vapor Rub. 

Yes, that very same stuff you rub on your chest and back when you have a cold, you might have luck with on your paint-covered hands. 

Rub some on, let it soak in, then wipe it off. Now, once again, use your soapy scrubber and see if Vick's did the trick.

Did we mention that Vick's contains just a tiny amount of turpentine? Well, it does. It's about the only way we'll ever recommend turpentine as a cleaning ingredient to be used on your skin.

Method 9: Sweeten the deal

Like we did earlier with the salt rub, let's try again with sugar.

Simply sprinkle sugar on the affected area with damp hands. Gently rub the sugar in, adding a splash of water every so often if it becomes to dry on your hands.

You're looking for particles of paint coming off while you rub in the sugar. If you're seeing this, keep going. You may rinse, dry, and resume with a new tablespoon of sugar.

You're trying every trick in the book here on the ninth method. Hey, one more chance left.

Method 10: Professional paint wipes

This is the commercial route and since it's the last on our list, let's hope it works.

Many of you won't have these on hand if you're reading this article. If you did, you'd likely have already tried them and removed the paint. 

Maybe you have tried one on the list below and may still like to research the other options. It may be smart to pick a second one up to have on hand as your backup. 

Some brands you might check out for this sort of solution are:
Gojo
• Fast Orange
• Big Wipes
• SoHo Urban Wipes

Gojo also makes a very popular hand soap. It's high-end soap made specifically for getting paint and more off your skin. 

Other valuable resources on getting primer off hands

If none of these methods did the trick for you, it might just end up being a matter of time. The paint should dry further, and the skin under said dry paint should die off and the new skin that grows underneath should come up and push off the dead.

Resist any urge to try actual noxious chemicals like turpentine or paint thinner on your hands. If they got on your hands they could travel into your body and cause harm. Paint staying on your hand is, at most, slightly embarrassing. 

Here's a video of a gentleman applying some of the methods we've detailed here in this guide.

Pay notice to how he uses his fingers to massage in the rubbing alcohol and other substances. It should give you an idea as to how much force to use.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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