While many consumers may think that paint removal requires a chemical stripper and hours of work, there are plenty of options that are kind to the environment and your lungs and guaranteed to save you time.
Of course, if you plan on repainting, use a low or no VOC paint to finish the job in the greenest way possible.
#1 – No Methylene Chloride Paint Removers
Methylene chloride is present in many products that remove paint. It’s also the ingredient that causes lightheadedness, hand and eye fatigue, and chemical burns. There is also research that indicates it could cause cancer. Paint removers that do not contain methylene chloride — such as 3M Safest Stripper and RemovAll/BioWash Waste Paint Hardener — remove paint just as well without exposing yourself to toxic chemicals.
While these products to remove paint claim to require no gloves or extensive ventilation, it is a good idea when using any paint remover to take some precautions. Use gloves, open a few windows, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s advice.
#2 – Soy Gel Paint Removers
There are several companies that make soy gel paint removers. All of them have the same advantages:
- low emissions
- longer lift times
Many people find that soy gel works better to remove paint than traditional methods. It can be applied with a brush and because it does not evaporate it can be left on for several hours.
Soy gel is the product to remove paint that can replace traditional chemical strippers. It can easy be applied to furniture, moldings, and cabinetry and will not drip. Soy gel is biodegradable, but you should contact your local waste management company to find out how to dispose of the paint that you remove safely.
#3 – Citrus-Based Paint Removers
Using a product such as Citrus Strip to remove paint can also be very effective. Biodegradable and low emissions, citrus-based paint removers emit an orange order that many homeowners consider pleasant when compared to other chemical strippers.
#4 – Boiling Water & Baking Soda As A Paint Remover
This technique works only with metal hardware, but it is one of the easiest ways to remove paint.
Simply place your hardware in a pot of boiling water and baking soda and boil for twenty minutes. Be sure to use a pot that you will not use for cooking to remove paint from the hardware and finish by lightly scrubbing the object with a toothbrush.
Using boiling water to remove paint is an old trick. It works because metal and paint expand at different rates when heated, causing the bond between the two materials to break. Although using just boiling water will work, some people swear by using a small amount of baking soda in the water, so it won’t hurt to put some in.
#5 – Manual Techniques of Paint Removal
Sometimes a paint scraper and some patience is all you need to remove paint. If the paint is in bad condition, consider removing as much as possible with a paint scraper and finishing up with another treatment.
For large areas, sandblasting is another technique that is fairly green and easy to use. A professional who can minimize exposing the grain of wood as well as take all the necessary precautions should complete sandblasting projects that are very involved. However, if you have some sandblasting experience, the equipment can be rented to complete the job. Just keep in mind how you plan on disposing of the waste when you are done.