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Safe Alternative to Paint Strippers

Safe Alternative to Paint Strippers

Working on a restoration project doesn’t need to mean poisoning yourself and the environment. Paint strippers are one of the product categories to top the list of those likely to contain high levels of persistent organochlorine chemicals (POPs) and volatile organic chemicals. Protect yourself by trying this safer alternative for stripping old paint.

The mineral washing soda, found in the laundry section of the supermarket, is an excellent solvent substitute, and it works to strip paint; in fact, washing soda was used in the 19th century for such a purpose. Make a very thick paste of washing soda and water (wear gloves because although washing soda doesn’t give off fumes, it is slightly caustic), and spread with a putty knife on the surface to be stripped. Let it set for several hours, if not overnight, keeping it as moist as possible by misting frequently with water sprayed from a spray bottle. Rinse and peel off the paint.

Caution: Spot test this formula first to make sure the paste doesn’t damage the wood.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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18 comments

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4:36PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:41AM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

Thank you

4:31PM PST on Dec 2, 2010

What about dangerous lead paint used everywhere before outlawed in US in 1978? Sanding using a good dust mask (not like the cheap one I see here) will keep some dust out of your lungs and stomach but everybody else in your house will get toxic doses. Found eco-strip's heat machine works faster and makes clumps not dust.

4:06PM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

Thanks for the info

12:45PM PDT on Aug 10, 2010

This is new to my mind. Until this day I would not use this tech. Helps it? In ealyier days my family cleaned the house. When I clean my flat today I wonder what it was necessary inhabiting more than 3 rooms with a family of 4 personas. Did anybody want to know why it was good for? If I was my own father the thing would be to part / share our room probably split with some walls. When I was a child I did not push me anyway I wonder if I deserved it. I guessed it would not stick to the floor for ever. It was ideas of law being applied to others steady than waiting what was (or wasn't) applied to me. The house should be clean most of the time.
Regards, living room furniture

12:40PM PDT on Jul 11, 2010

Kimberly, maybe you could let the washing soda soak in a bit of water for several hours, or overnight, until it dissolves. Maybe the graininess of the soda is keeping it from forming a paste.

7:06PM PDT on Mar 29, 2010

Please help, I'm doing something wrong. I tried to make a paste of the Washing soda and water for paint stripping. it did not make a paste and crumbled even as I was trying to apply it. I tried different amounts of water and still no success. I am trying to stripp several layers of paint off of window sills and baseboards. Taking them off the wall is not an option. HELP.

1:57AM PST on Jan 20, 2010

You got very nice tips in here! It cam help a lot in making some junk into good and nice pieces of furniture! Great!

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10:04PM PST on Jan 16, 2010

thanks very useful info

6:21PM PST on Jan 13, 2010

Great advice; thank you, Annie!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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