Get FREE Estimates On Your Project
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement
Paint strippers are a very useful product during home renovations.
They are considered one of the most popular methods for removing
lead based paints. However, they do contain harmful chemicals that
require careful use. Most strippers contain a chemical known as
methylene chloride, also called dichloromethane. This chemical has
been referred to as “toxic.”
Improper use of methylene chloride, and other harmful chemicals, can
lead to skin irritation, drowsiness, irritability, light-headedness,
nausea and headaches. Certain chemicals are even related to the
development of cancer, reproductive problems, breathing conditions,
and brain, liver, and kidney damage. Also, careless use of paint
strippers can lead to fires.
It is extremely important to use paint strippers with caution and to
follow every instruction for proper use. Make sure to carefully read
the instructions and safety precautions on the label. Each product
is different and may require unique handling. Below is a list of
important ways to minimize your risk.
• Always try to use paint strippers outdoors. Inside use can
contaminate the buildings air and put your health at risk. If you
must work indoors, be sure to ventilate adequately. Consider putting
an electric fan by an open window to blow the contaminated air
• Protect your hands with chemical-resistant gloves. Regular kitchen
latex gloves will not provide adequate protection against harmful
• Protect your skin and eyes with protective clothing and goggles.
If you get stripper on your skin, wash it off immediately.
• Use extra caution when using flammable paint strippers. Turn the
furnace and furnace fan off. Keep clear from any source of sparks,
flame, or high heat. Refrain from using open flames, cigarettes,
matches, lighters because they can cause the chemicals in the paint
strippers to suddenly catch fire.
• Follow the instructions on the label for proper disposal of paint
Types of Paint Strippers:
• Methylene chloride
• Acetone, toluene, and methanol
• N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)
• Dibasic esters (DBE)
• Caustic-Based Strippers (Not Flammable)