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What is a Safe Paint Stripper?

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Ever since the Environmental Protection agency declared paint and painting agents to be one of the Top 5 biohazards in the world, the market has strives to provide considers with healthier alternatives. Whether you're seeking a gentler chemical agent or alternative forms to chemicals, there are several ways to locate a safe paint stripper.

Chemical Agents

When looking for a safe paint stripper, find one whose active ingredient is N-Methylpyrrolidone rather than methylene chloride, which can be carcinogenic. There are many biodegradable and water based strippers out there, which aren't as toxic as traditional paint strippers. Chemical paint strippers are sold in the form of pastes, liquids, sprays and fabric sheets. If using water-based latex paint, you may use rubbing alcohol to melt the paint. However, take care not to inhale or ingest the liquid or its fumes.

Scrapers and Sanders

If you want a genuinely safe paint stripper, you can opt to avoid chemical removers or power tools. If you are comfortable with power tools, power sanders or scrapers may be a good option. These are especially good choices for large amounts of exterior paint. Choose coarse sandpaper over fine, as the latter will clog the power tool. Always practice good safety practices, including wearing protective gear and following all manufacturer instructions to the letter.

Scraping Knifes and Hear Irons
Other safe paint stripper alternatives include prying the paint off with a heat iron and/or a scraping knife. Bear in mind, however, that heating the paint will release fumes. Again, protective gear is essential, and you will want to be especially careful with older paint. Any paint made prior to the 1970s will contain lead, which can be extremely dangerous when inhaled or ingested.


In some cases, you may not need a safe paint stripper at all. Instantly after a spill, absorb all excess paint with drop cloths. If using latex or natural paint, these drop cloths can later be soaked in water then cleaned in the washing machine. After removing excess paint, ply off any remaining paint with a scraping knife. If the paint is natural or latex, you can then wash with soap and water.

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