I am a fanatic about proper air-sealing on my remodeling projects, and nothing plugs those energy-sucking nooks and crannies as well as canned spray foam. Instead of buying single-use straw-dispensed cans, I use the professional-grade cans that require a foam gun. This reusable tool fits my “a little bit here, a little bit there” remodeling schedule without the unused contents of the canister hardening between uses.
There’s just one problem: Polyurethane foam is sticky—really sticky—and the tip of my gun always used to come out of those dust- and dirt-filled cavities with a blob of foamy debris. Wiping with a rag only smears the foam around, so I was always left with an ever growing blob of foam that would have to be shaved off later with a utility knife.
Knowing that acetone helps to remove uncured foam, I figured there must be a way to use it to clean the tip of the gun before the foam had cured. Then I remembered as a kid seeing my mom at her makeup table use a small jar of nail-polish remover, which contains acetone as a main ingredient. The inside of the jar has a piece of absorbent foam with slots cut into it so you can remove the nail polish from one finger at a time. Now, despite the occasional ribbing I take for keeping such a girly product in my toolbox, I always have a jar alongside my foam gun. The acetone cleans the uncured polyurethane, and the slotted foam helps to remove the debris.
Justin Fink, Plainville, CT
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller