How to Paint Your Home Safely
Rolling on a new coat of paint can make you feel healthy and happy, but you should know that household paint can contain up to 10-thousand chemicals. That's a lot of zeros! So safety has to be a priority.
That new paint smell mainly comes from volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. In some people, they cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness or eye irritation.
Oil or alkyd paints emit higher levels of these chemicals than latex or water-based paints.
To reduce your exposure, look for low or no VOC and low-odor paints. But read labels carefully and compare brands, as products differ in how they define low v-o-c.
Before you sand and scrape old paint, check for lead. The dust can be harmful, especially to children.
And houses in built before 1980--the paint should always be tested. And your local health department can help you find a lab or use a home test kit, like this one. These things cost under ten dollars and are well worth it.
And chemical splash goggles are a must if you're spray painting or overhead painting. Regular safety glasses just aren't good enough.
Butyl rubber gloves will also protect your skin and make clean up a snap.
Once you're finished, latex paint cleans up with just soap and water.
But if you're using oil based paint, then you're gonna need to use mineral spirits like i have here--but open a window--you need plenty of ventilation. The fumes can get really strong.
Any rags used to clean oil paint or thinner should be dried completely outdoors before you dispose of them - or you run the risk of spontaneous combustion!
And never use gasoline for cleanup--it's flammable! But try to confine all of your cleanup to a sink--that way all of those chemicals go to a water treatment plant and not into the groundwater.
And that lingering new paint smell? Well, that actually comes from off-gassing--which is the release of chemicals into your home's fresh air supply.
It's best to avoid it.
Try to keep your windows wide open and try to stay out of a freshly painted room for two to three days.
This entry last modified on: January 25, 2013 5:40 PM
About the Video
"New paint smell" is actually a mix of volatile chemicals that makes some people feel sick. Learn how to put on a fresh coat of paint without all the headaches.