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12 Paint Thinner Safety Tips

Paint thinner is used to thin oil-based paint and also to clean remaining paint on surfaces or application tools. There are various types of paint thinners available, all of which have varying levels of overall toxicity, most paint thinners contain toxins that are dangerous if not used and disposed of properly.


If you have several cans of specially mixed paint, and you immediately know that they need to add paint thinner because the paint is too heavy or thick, you should use an empty can and pour it all in.

Different paint cans go back and forth with each other to get the same color. This is a good time to mix in a little paint thinner as well to remove the thickness of the paint. Specific colors may vary slightly from can to can, which is why professionals pour it back and forth between cans.

Well ventilated environment

Paint thinner emits toxic fumes, which can cause nausea, headaches, or difficulty breathing and several other short-term and long-term health problems. When you work with paint thinner, you must ensure adequate ventilation in the work area. Leave windows or doors open for good air circulation. If this is not possible, use a fan.

Wear safety equipment

Wear safety glasses and a mask when you handle paint thinner. These items will protect you from possible splashes or fumes.

Take immediate steps for necessary first aid

If you or someone else experiences difficulty breathing, skin irritation or accidentally comes into contact with diluent, seek medical attention immediately. Wash skin exposed to diluent with water and soap. If paint thinner splashes into your eyes, rinse with running water for 10 or 15 minutes, then seek medical attention. If paint thinner is swallowed, contact your local poison control center and seek medical attention.

Keep paint thinner away from acids

Paint thinner can react with acids and acidic substances in a dangerous chemical reaction. You should keep the two separate at all times.

Avoid mixing paint thinner with ingredients other than paint

Never mix paint thinner with other ingredients, whether solid or liquid. This can result in an explosive chemical reaction.

Keep away from flammable and hot materials

Paint thinner is a volatile substance and should be kept away from flammable materials, liquids, heaters and open flames.

Never consume food around it

Never eat or drink in the work area while you are handling paint thinner. Food substances can easily become contaminated and you may unknowingly swallow paint thinner. if you have paint thinner or oil-based paint on hand, and you want to eat in between tasks. Leave the room and wear clear gloves on your hands while you eat.

Never use paint thinner as a generic cleaner

Never use paint thinner to clean tables, floors or walls. Apart from the risk of fire, you will also be exposed to smoke indoors for a long time. Additionally, paint thinner can be very harmful to certain surfaces and adhesives or caulks.

Wash hands after using

After using paint thinner, you should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This will keep your skin clear of thinning, reduce the possibility of skin inflammation or irritation and reduce the possibility of food and drink contamination.

Never smoke around it

This may seem reasonable when you consider the dangers of storing thinner near heat, but smoking in the presence of paint thinner is extremely dangerous. If an open flame contacts the diluent, this can result in an uncontrollable flame.

Dispose of unused paint thinner properly

Paint thinner is a hazardous waste that must be disposed of in accordance with the rules and regulations stipulated for its use. Never throw paint thinner in the regular trash or flush it down the drain.

Tip: some people have been known to get lucky because repair shops or oil change places use used paint thinner. They have a large underground tank and all petroleum products, including paint thinner, are recycled into good motor oil. Paint thinner can often be reused. If left for long enough, the thinner used to clean the brush will pour out and all the paint will settle at the bottom of the container, with the top paint thinner able to be used again.

Keep containers tightly closed and stored safely

Keep the paint thinner container tightly closed to prevent spills and store it in a cool, dry and safe place and out of reach of children. Rags that have been used with paint thinner are highly flammable, and spontaneous combustion can often occur given the right conditions. The safest way to dispose of thinner rags is to place them in water.


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