Safety Tips: Painting

  1. Always read and follow the instructions on the label. You will have much better results in terms of how the paint covers, how it looks and how long it lasts. You will also learn how to avoid hazards, such as those posed by flammable paints.
  2. Oil-based paints will require you to work with paint thinner. Also, you must minimize exposure to oil-based paint vapors. Open windows and doors to let in fresh air; a box fan in a window will help.
  3. Pay attention to potential sources of flame or sparks. If you are painting in a kitchen, for example, where a gas stove has a pilot light, turn off the gas to the oven while you are painting and while the paint dries.
  4. Don’t smoke.
  5. If you spill paint or thinner, clean it up right away.
  6. Keep cans of paint and thinner closed.
  7. Protect your skin by wearing a long-sleeve shirt and long pants; this will also minimize the amount of skin you might have to clean with paint thinner.
  8. Wear solvent-resistant gloves and splash-proof goggles while cleaning brushes and equipment; some people wear gloves while painting, as well, because no matter how hard you try, paint ends up getting everywhere. The less contact your skin has with paint thinner, the better.
  9. If you feel dizzy or nauseated while painting, get into fresh air immediately.
  10. If you do get solvent on your skin, wash right away with soap and water.
  11. Follow the instructions for how to store paint and solvents. Make sure containers are tightly sealed. Don’t store paint or solvents near furnaces and space heaters.
  12. Keep paint away from children.
  13. Never re-use empty paint cans or solvent cans.

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