Paint Thinner Safety Tips

Paint thinner is one of the most commonly used chemicals for industries and individuals alike, but that doesn’t make it any less hazardous. Regardless of your training or how you’re using paint thinner, always exercise extreme caution.

Here are a few tips for avoiding the most common paint thinner hazards.

1. Protect your skin. That means wearing the right attire from head to toe. Splashes and even intense fumes from paint thinners can cause pain, discomfort or even serious injury. Wear gloves, goggles and splash guards that cover any exposed skin.

2. Don’t poison your air. Paint thinner has an unpleasant smell, but that should be the least of your worries when the odor hits your nose. It can cause lightheadedness or severely damage your lungs and nervous system. For that reason, make sure you do all you can to properly ventilate your work area. That can mean using exhaust fans and opening windows. When in doubt, take the added precaution of using a face mask.

3. Be mindful of potentially reactive materials. Paint thinner is naturally reactive with many other chemicals and surfaces. For example, it can react with acidic materials. Likewise, it is combustible. Take extreme care to keep clear of heat sources that could ignite your paint thinner.

4. Practice safe storage. Even when you’re not actively using paint thinner, you should be careful to avoid the hazards of combustion and contamination. Make sure you’ve tightly sealed your paint thinner containers and check for any leaks. Paint thinners should be kept in a cool, dry storage space, away from other chemicals.

5. Be hygienic. Even if you take every possible precaution, paint thinner residues can make their way to your skin or clothing. Make sure you wash your hands frequently, and never eat in the vicinity of paint thinner and other chemical products.

6. Clean up. Your thinners are safely stored and you’re ready to call it a day. Do one last pass of the work area to spot any spills or rags that might have thinner on them. Make sure all tools you’ve used have been cleaned and removed.

When handled safely, paint thinner is one of the most versatile industrial chemicals available. Speak with a SolvChem Custom Packaging Division expert to hear more about safe chemical handling and to find out what we can do for you.