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I figured I could write a GBCW diary (are we now OK with calling our President "Barry"?), or share my recent solution to a vexing problem which has hounded me for years.

See, DOW makes an expanding polyurethane foam called Great Stuff. And it is pretty great if you need exactly one can. Simply put, you're lucky to get even a dribble out of a used can as the tube and the valve get clogged with foam. There's nothing short of acid or sandpaper that will remove cured latex foam, so hundreds of thousands of these half-cans go into the bin every month (and yes, the figure comes out of my ass). That's money wasted, and that's bad for the environment.

Now, the label on the can states that uncured foam can be removed with acetone, and it got me interested. I didn't have any acetone around, so I looked for something a bit lower on the volatility index (if there is such a thing) and realized I had a small can of Goof-Off which contains xylene, usually sold as xylol in hardware stores. I was ready for my test.

I filled a few drafty cracks with the Great Stuff and then took my half-can® to the sink and carefully unscrewed the applicator tube and set it aside. I put four or five drops of Goof-Off into the can's nozzle and it dissolved the foam like mad! I dumped those few drops out and added a few more as a final rinse and dumped it too. I then took the applicator tube and turned it upside-down and added a few drops of the Goof off to the base of the applicator tube. I presses my finger against the base a few time (making a seal) that repeatedly pushed those few drops of xylene further and further down the tube until it reached the end. I wiped it all down with a half-sheet of paper towel and put it away. I tried using the Great Stuff a week later and it acted like a new can!

So far, I've gotten 4 uses from a single can. I figure my tiny can of Goof-Off will clean up about 200 nozzles worth of Great Stuff nozzles. Not a bad deal...and really, really good for the environment.

I guarantee every family has at least one person who will find this solution useful. Pass it on.

Originally posted to potato on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 10:43 AM PST.

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