Fiberglass is a common material used in various household and office products you're likely familiar with. However, direct contact with filaments of this material, even if just for a brief moment, can greatly irritate and damage your skin.
That's why it's essential to know the various remedies you can use to get fiberglass out of your skin. With that said, here is a guide on how to get fiberglass out of the skin, including helpful tips that'll prevent exposure to this material below.
What You Need to Know About Fiberglass
Fiberglass is a man-made plastic material that is produced using glass fiber. These glass fibers can be assembled by weaving the fibers into a glass cloth, flattening them into a sheet, or by randomly arranging them together.
Fiberglass is present in various everyday products, including roofing materials, insulation parts, pool components, and automotive parts. Many manufacturers also favor using this material due to its flexibility, versatility, and durability. Furthermore, fiberglass is also resistant to weather, lightweight, non-reactive, non-conductive, and highly malleable.
How Do You Get Exposed to Fiberglass?
You can get exposed to fiberglass in various ways. Depending on your circumstances, you can either suffer from short-term or long-term exposure to this material.
Short-term exposure often occurs if items containing fiberglass get damaged during installation or disposal. The particles then scatter in your environment and eventually get into your skin, eyes, mouth, and airways if you're not wearing the proper gear.
On the other hand, long-term exposure to fiberglass happens to those whose occupations require them to handle this material. Industries that are known for regularly handling fiberglass include the following industries:
- Boating Manufacturing Industry
- Pool Manufacturing Industry
- Electronics Industry
- Automotive Industry
- Power and Chemical Plant Industry
- Fiberglass Installation Industry
- Heating and Ventilation Industry
What Happens When You Get Exposed to Fiberglass?
Even though fiberglass is a valuable material used in many everyday items, it can be harmful to your body if you ever inhale or have direct contact with it. Here are some of the symptoms your body will experience if you get short-term exposure to it:
- Irritated or itchy skin
- Burning skin sensations
- Eye irritation
- Sore throat
- Coughing or sneezing
- An upset stomach (if the particles get into your mouth)
Furthermore, fiberglass particles can also trigger fiberglass contact dermatitis in other individuals. Meanwhile, long-term exposure to this material can further aggravate users suffering from asthma or bronchitis.
Different Methods to Remove Fiberglass from Your Skin
Do you have bits of fiberglass stuck in your skin? You should avoid rubbing or scratching if the affected area becomes itchy or irritated. Instead, you should do the following methods to take this substance out of your skin (and eyes). Here are the said methods:
1. Removing fiberglass by rinsing it off and wiping it with a towel
Items you'll need:
- Gentle soap
- Clean running water
- A clean towel
Again, you should not scratch or rub the areas exposed to fiberglass. If rashes or irritation appear on the exposed areas, you should clean the affected spots with warm water and gentle soap.
Once you're done washing the affected parts, grab a clean towel to wipe the filaments off. Doing this will take the fiberglass materials out of your skin with ease. But if other fiberglass particles are still stuck on your skin, you can resort to the other methods below.
2. Removing fiberglass with adhesive tape
Items you'll need:
- Heavy adhesive tape
- Magnifying glass (optional)
- Flashlight (optional)
If the fiberglass filaments are visible on your skin, you may also use adhesive tape to take them out. However, the bits stuck on your skin might be difficult to see. So, if it's possible, try using a magnifying glass and flashlight to identify the fiberglass bits quickly.
Here are the steps you need to follow when removing fiberglass with adhesive tape:
Step 1: Grab a flashlight and magnifying glass to spot the fiberglass particles stuck on your skin. You can ask another person for assistance if you can't reach the affected areas yourself.
Step 2: Once you've identified the affected areas, cut a portion of heavy adhesive tape that's enough to cover your affected areas. Make sure that the area is dry before you apply the tape. It's recommended to use tape containing a lot of glue to take out the stuck bits on your skin with ease.
Step 3: Make sure to firmly apply the tape to your skin so that the bits cling onto it. When you're done applying the tape, carefully peel it in one motion.
Step 4: Repeat the steps above until you take out all the fiberglass particles stuck on your skin. Once you're certain that you've removed them all, cleanse your skin with gentle soap and water.
3. Removing fiberglass with tweezers
Items you'll need:
- A pair of tweezers
- Magnifying glass
- Gentle soap
Aside from using adhesive tape, you can also use a pair of tweezers to remove the fiber filaments from your skin. Ensure that you're working in a well-lit area to see the fiberglass bits easily on your skin. You may also use a magnifying glass and a flashlight to identify the fiberglass pieces immediately.
Here are the steps you need to follow for this method:
Wash your skin with gentle soap and water before plucking out the fiberglass pieces using tweezers. Doing this will remove any bits of the material resting on the surface of your skin. Again, avoid rubbing or scratching the affected parts.
Step 2: Under a well-lit area, gently pluck out the fiberglass bits with your tweezers. Repeat this step until you've removed every bit stuck on your skin. You may use a flashlight and magnifying glass to further examine your skin during this step.
Step 3: Finally, once you're sure that all the bits are gone, wash your skin once more with gentle soap and water.
4. Removing fiberglass with diluted apple cider vinegar
Items you'll need:
- Apple cider vinegar
Alternatively, you may also use a diluted apple cider vinegar solution to remove fiberglass from your skin. After all, it's a great chemical-free solution that'll quickly dissolve the fiberglass pieces.
Here are the steps you can follow:
Step 1: Thoroughly wash the affected areas with hot water and soap to open up your pores.
Step 2: Mix apple cider vinegar and water in any bowl or container to dilute the apple cider vinegar.
Step 3: Apply the diluted apple cider solution to your affected parts to eliminate the bits stuck on your skin. Repeat as needed.
Step 4: When all the fiberglass pieces are removed, you can cleanse your skin again to get rid of the apple cider vinegar scent on your skin.
5. Removing fiberglass with Epsom bath salt
Items you'll need:
- Epsom bath salt
- Clean bath water
- Nylon stockings
Do you have some Epsom bath salt lying around in your home? You can also use it as a home remedy for removing fiberglass from your skin. Here's how you can do it below:
Step 1: Get one cup of Epsom bath salt and pour it into a container with hot bath water to dissolve the salt thoroughly. Make sure to let the mixture cool a little before soaking it on your skin.
Step 2: You can take a hot shower while you wait for the Epsom bath salt mixture to cool down. Once the mixture is cooled down enough, you can go ahead and soak it in your affected regions for about thirty minutes.
Step 3: Afterward, grab your nylon stockings. Start carefully scraping the stockings on the areas exposed to the fiberglass to pull them out of your skin. Repeat this step as needed until all the bits are pulled out.
6. Removing fiberglass from your eyes
If you're not careful enough, fiberglass can also get into your eyes. If this ever happens, you can take the fiberglass filaments out of your eyes through either of the following methods:
- Splashing cold water on your eyes and letting them dry in front of a fan
- Use a clean pulverized bottle to apply cold water to your eyes at a particular angle
No matter which method you use, ensure that you open your eyelids properly to remove the fiberglass bits from your eyes thoroughly.
When to Seek Professional Help
Although you can do the method above to remove fiberglass from your skin (and eyes) safely and effectively, there might be circumstances when you need to seek professional help. If you ever feel the following symptoms despite removing all the fiberglass pieces from your skin, you should visit a doctor right away:
- Inflamed red skin
- Swelling or scaly skin
- Skin discoloration
- Your skin continues to feel itchy or irritated
Ways to Prevent Exposure to Fiberglass
As always, prevention is undoubtedly better than looking for a cure. Therefore, if you want to prevent exposure to this material, here are the following precautions you can take below:
- Don't forget to wear the proper protective gear and clothes when handling this material (e.g., goggles, full-body garments, masks, gloves, and close-toed shoes).
- Make sure to work in a room with plenty of ventilation to lessen the concentration of fiberglass particles in the air.
- Don't forget to immediately change your clothes once you're done handling fiberglass.
- Make sure that you separate the clothes you used while handling fiberglass from your other clothes upon washing them. This will prevent the fiberglass bits from transferring to your other garments.
- Avoid leaving food and drinks exposed in areas with fiberglass.
- Use a HEPA filter when vacuuming floors exposed to fiberglass. This will allow you to collect the finer pieces with ease.
Although fiberglass is a valuable material, direct contact with it can pose harm to our health. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy methods you can do at home to safely and effectively remove fiberglass from your skin. And if symptoms continue to persist even after you've removed all the bits on your skin, you should definitely seek help from a doctor to resolve your problems right away.