Updated: Dec 4, 2019
With nearly a decade as an insulation contractor I’ve picked up some tips and tricks on stopping the dreaded fiberglass itch.
Let’s start with the basics.
Fiberglass is comprised of glass fibers bonded together by binding resins. The process looks like they’re making cotton candy, it’s amazing to watch. The fibers can become airborne when cut as well as just general handling of it will cause the fibers to adhere to your skin.
Your skin can handle fiberglass well, it’s just very irritating. If you’re exposed to a lot it can cause skin irritation or rashes. Do your best not to scratch, this will just force the fibers deeper into the pores. The itching doesn’t start until the fibers enter the pores of your skin. As you will read below, factor number one in stopping the itch is to stop the fibers from getting into your pores.
As you’re probably already aware long loose-fitting clothing is industry standard. Think of this as your first layer of defense. You will see a lot of insulators in Tyvek suites (full body coverall) due to the amount they’re handling daily. You can purchase them, but they are not necessary here is the best one I've used for sell on Amazon. If you’re new to fiberglass, you may want to tape the wrists of your sleeves to prevent fibers from touching exposed parts of your skin is a far cheaper alternative instead of spending money on Tyvek suites.
The last line of defense and the often most overlooked would be applying something to your skin for protection. Some examples: talcum powder, baby powder and cornstarch. I’ve tried all three with unsatisfactory results. I prefer applying sunscreen or lotion to anywhere that will be exposed to the fibers. This closes the pores and as I mentioned the itch doesn’t start until it enters the pores and you have the added benefit of its actual purpose, sun block.
Once you have completed installing, use a vacuum on your clothes, if available. If not try masking tape or some spare ASJ or FSK tape to slowly pull the fibers away. And follow that with a cold shower as soon as possible after installing the fiberglass, this will close the pores to stop the fibers from going any deeper and wash away loose pieces. Once you’re done with the cold water switch it to hot and this will help your pores open back up and let the fibers that were in your pores fall away. If your skin still feels uncomfortable apply some lotion and you should be good to go.
In conclusion, using long loose-fitting clothing and applying something to you skin can substantially help you in stopping the itch.