Did you actually think that you have to discard syringes used for epoxy after one use?
They’re different from medical syringes, which implies that you must not discard them after first use. Save some pennies by reusing them a few times. Not sure about how to clean used syringes?
We’re here to your rescue because we know that investing in art supplies can get expensive sometimes. When you clean your syringes thoroughly by following our cleaning guide, you can extend the life of your syringes and use them for multiple projects. All you have to do is make sure that your syringes are properly cleaned and that no resin is left behind in the syringe.
Patiently work on your syringe until it's completely clean for your resin project. This may take some time, but it will save you some bucks. For once, let it be money over time. Now let us dive into how to clean syringes so that you can have squeaky clean syringes for your next project.
What Can We Use to Clean Syringes?
Before going into the details of cleaning syringes, let’s have a brief overview of different materials/solvents you can use to clean them.
You can use any of the following to clean your syringes:
- Isopropyl Alcohol of 93% concentration or more
- Distilled white vinegar
- Paint thinner
All of these have the ability to weaken the resin bonding with the syringe and within the resin itself. This allows the resin to come off the syringe easily.
Keep these in mind
- One thing you must do is that while cleaning your syringes, you must have gloves on. Wanna know why?
These solvents break the resin structure apart, facilitating its absorption into the skin. Now, you don’t want that … do you?
Hands over syringes, right? Or you can have them both by using gloves. Hmm, an easy way out.
- With acetone and paint thinner, you’ve to be very careful. These two solvents are highly flammable and harmful when inhaled. When working with these two, ensure that your workspace is well-ventilated and as far away from heat sources as possible.
- Also, when you’re done pouring resin using a syringe, you’ve to rush to clean it. These solvents work best when the resin is still wet. Save yourself the trouble by not procrastinating this one thing (with other things, you can procrastinate as much as you want *wink wink*)
A Step-by-step Guide to Cleaning Syringes
So, now that you’re aware of the solvents you can use, let us dive right into the procedure of cleaning syringes used for epoxy resin.
1. Drain and wipe off excess resin from the syringe
The first step in cleaning your syringe is to empty it. Push the plunger all the way in the barrel to get, if not all, most of the resin out. Let the resin dry before discarding it. After you’re done with this, take a paper towel to wipe excess resin while it's still wet.
2. Fill up the barrel with solvent and wait for the magic to happen
Once you’ve emptied your syringe, now fill up your syringe with any of the solvents mentioned above. Dip the syringe properly into a bowl containing your solvent and fill up the syringe to full. Now, let the resin stand in the syringe for some time, between 30 - 45 seconds, while slightly shaking the syringe.
3. Empty the barrel of the syringe and repeat the process twice more
Now, you can expel the solvent by pressing the plunger quickly to apply pressure. For solvents like alcohol or vinegar, you can discard them down your drain. However, acetone and paint thinner must be discarded in a metal container as these are hazardous. Repeat the above process twice for better results.
4. Final rinsing with soapy water
After you’re done with the above steps, use a lukewarm soapy water solution and rinse the barrel twice. This will help you remove any traces of the solvent left behind. For the final rinse, use plain water to get rid of any soap residues left behind.
5. Scrape off any dried resin stuck to the barrel
Your syringe still has some dried resin stuck? Worry not! Washing with a solvent and a pair of tweezers easily scrape it off. Washing with solvent weakens the bonding, so you won't have much difficulty removing it.
6. Unclog the needle of the syringe if possible
If your needle is partially clogged, washing with solvent would do the job of unclogging it. However, for a complete clog, you will have to remove the plunger and fill the barrel from the opposite end. Afterward, use a thin wire to completely unclog the needle.
7. Let the syringe dry
Dislodge all the components of the syringe and spread them on a paper towel. Allow them to air dry completely before using them. Your syringe is now good to be used for your next resin project.
Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Epoxy Resins
Here are some tips and tricks to facilitate cleaning epoxy syringes for you
- Clean the syringe while the resin is still wet as cured resin is hard to remove
- Remove the dry resin after you’ve rinsed the barrel with solvent, as its easier to scrape off
- Do not discard the resin down your drain while it's still wet. Wait for it to cure before discarding it, or this can result in a clogged drain as resin cures. If this happens, you’ll be in bigger trouble than before.
- Do not push the plunger of the syringe if the needle is clogged. This will cause the syringe to break under pressure.
With that said, pick up all your used syringes and get them all ready for your next resin project. From now on, make the most out of your syringes. Now, you can have some extra bucks in your pocket that you can use on your other crafting supplies.