Using a Chemical Paint Stripper to Remove Old Paint

By jessica

Sometimes the only way to remove old paint from a piece of furniture is to use a chemical paint stripper. Most chemical paint strippers are highly toxic and volatile. They are also known to have noxious fumes that will can affect a person’s ability to think clearly and even breathe. The tips below will help you work with chemical paint strippers safely and effectively.

Safety must be your primary concern when working with chemical paint strippers. There are a few basic supplies that you should have on hand to make staying safe easier. Eye protection is one of the top items that should be in your safety kit. Many chemical paint strippers are in liquid form and if that chemical accidentally splashes into your eyes, it can cause severe burning and retina damage. Always use safety glasses to prevent such an injury. Many people think that regular eye glasses will do an equally effective job, but safety glasses have a top edge that goes against the forehead to prevent chemicals from splashing down into the eyes. If at all possible, wear a pair of safety glasses over your regular prescription eye glasses.

Gloves are another must have when working with chemical paint strippers. Since they are strong irritants they can quickly cause burns or irritation to any skin that they come in contact with. Wear thick, non-porous gloves to protect your skin. Most home improvement and paint stores will actually carry gloves that are designed specifically for use when using a chemical paint stripper. These gloves are much thicker than normal household gloves and will do a far superior job of protecting your skin.

Before you begin doing any type of work with the chemical paint stripper, read the manufacturer’s label in its entirety. Read about the proper application of the paint remover and the proper removal of the stripper once it has done its work. It is also a good idea to read the warnings about how to treat your eyes or skin if the chemical comes in contact with them. If you do happen to splash some on your arm or hands, you don’t want to have to take the time to read the label at that time.

Choose a work space that is well-ventilated and wear a respirator. Select a respirator designed to catch noxious vapors and gases, as working with chemical paint strippers can quickly lead to light-headedness, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness and, sometimes, even a loss of consciousness. The more ventilation that you have and the better quality your respirator is, the safer you will be. Never work with chemical paint strippers near open flames or other ignition sources. Chemical paint strippers are highly volatile and can catch on fire at a moment’s notice.

Always use practical safety pre-cautions when working chemical paint strippers. There is nothing worse than a project that goes awry, because of improper safety measures. A piece of furniture can quickly be replaced, but injury caused by the effects of using chemical paint strippers can be long lasting.

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One Comment


    I have used the “Silent Paint Remover” in 4-5 circumstances that worked out great. The light will bubble up coats of old paint with one pass. It works by heating the substrate to around 400 degrees and breaking the bond, so thick old paint simply scrapes right off. Have different types and sizes of scraping tools on hand, even as fine as dental instruments for molded or carved details.

    Some finish sanding needs to be done to get a surface smooth of chips and debris but the hardest part is done without any chemical mess.
    The light fixture will bubble up the old paint in around 30-60 seconds and gets an area about the size of a shoebox, at a time. They offer accessories for stripping walls (hanging tracks) and other goodies for large jobs.

    Jeff Roper
    Southeast Coatings, Inc.

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