Green Methods for Removing Paint

Removing your old paint can be a messy and time consuming process-especially when chemical paint strippers are involved. But besides being a pain in the neck, chemical paint strippers and removers can pollute our land, air and water. No matter what type of painting removers you plan on using for your next home improvement project, be careful. Paint that was applied prior to 1978 can contain lead. You may need to hire a lead abatement service to prevent exposure to this deadly toxin.

Isopropanol Alcohol

This is one of the best paint removers for soft woods and other delicate materials because it doesn’t leave stains. This ecofriendly paint remover evaporates quickly, so any residue that’s left behind is only old paint-and not the stripper itself. Typical rubbing alcohol that is bought at the store for medicinal supplies might not be strong enough to use to remove more stubborn paints. Higher concentrations of rubbing alcohol can be bought when stronger and tougher paints don’t come off with conventional isopropanol alcohol.

Canola Oil

When latex paints or other light water based paints are being used, canola oil can help to remove them quickly, safely and eco consciously. To remove paint using canola oil, spread a small amount onto a terry cloth towel or wash cloth. Rub the paint vigorously to begin the process of cleaning up the old paint. Canola oil shouldn’t be used on clear stained wood products as the heavy oils will permanently stain the wood. Older oil based paints have a hard time coming clean with canola oils.

Adhesive Backed Stripper

Exterior paint products that are stuck on difficult-to-clean material like stone, brick or stucco can be super tough to remove. That’s where adhesive backed paint strippers come into play. They help keep the messy paint chips and other paint materials from scattering all over the ground. By adhering to the paint with its super adhesive backing, it bonds permanently with paint-but not the materials underneath. Once hardened, peel it away and toss it in the trash.

Electric Heat Guns

These blow dryer looking devices work excellent for removing paint without any dangerous chemicals. These will peel even the most stubborn of paints away from their base material for easy and safe disposal. Electric heat guns should never be used on plastic materials that may melt under the extreme heat.

Citric Acid

This fruit based paint remover uses citric acid-typically found in oranges-to safely remove paint in an environmental friendly way. These materials are safe for all household cleaning as well as removing many paints from their substrate. Be careful not to use any citric acid-based cleaners that have dyes or scents as these can easily stain wood materials for good.

However, when I picked up the bottle of the new formula of Windex at the store last week, and it was simply labeled “vinegar,” I realized that all these years, I have been duped. I was about to pay over $3 for a small spray bottle of chemically enhanced vinegar and water! I promptly determined to go home and make my own green cleaners. So after some quick research online, I began using my trusty vinegar cleaner on everything, my glass tabletop, doors and windows, mirrors, kitchen countertops, stove top, and more! You would not believe my sparklin’ house, ya’ll! Even Juan was pleasantly surprised, it does not smudge, smear, or streak!

Here are a couple of quick tips for any first-timers out there wondering how to get started on making your own green cleaners. (I know I wasn’t the only one still buying those chemical cleaners, cuz the products are still on the store shelves!)

1. To make the vinegar and water cleaner, simply put half water, half vinegar into a spray bottle ‘” Voila! No really, it’s that easy ‘”

2. When I first start wiping the vinegar with newspaper, paper towel, rag (your choice ‘” you already know what’s greener!) it looks as if it is going to smear ‘” keep wiping, and you will see the shine!

3. There is a great green bathroom cleaner you can use ‘” hydrogen peroxide and water ‘” see http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/ for valuable information on this green product, as well.

This is a win – the scent is not offensive, and this cleaner does not leave any harmful residue for the family members or pets to inhale or absorb. It’s not rocket science ‘” it’s more like back to the basics our Mamas taught us! Enjoy this quick green cleaning tip, and contact me with your ideas ‘” what simple solutions have you come up with to green-ify your house and save money?