Paint thinner, specifically the mineral-based substitute for turpentine, is a highly volatile and hazardous substance that must be used with care. Certain precautions should be taken to use it safely and without incident.
The fumes from paint thinner are not only harmful if inhaled; they are also flammable. In order for this chemical to be used safely, it should always be used in a well-ventilated area away from any source of open flame. The fumes should never be inhaled, especially in high concentrations. Make sure your work area is well ventilated by opening a window or running an exhaust fan, and wear a face mask to reduce the inhalation of fumes.
Open flame is an important consideration when working with any paint products. Be sure the work area is clear and free from any gas pilot lights and sources of electrical sparks. Do not strike matches or use a lighter in a room where paint thinner is being used. Also, be sure there are no candles lit near the work area.
You might also want to protect the work area if it is not specifically designated to work. If you are using paint thinner in a part of the house where carpet or furniture could be damaged from contact, be sure to cover all work areas with a thick mill plastic tarp.
Even when you are done working with paint thinner, it is important that you take the proper precautions for disposal and storage. Always follow the manufacturer’s printed directions for product storage. To properly dispose of this chemical, drain the clear liquid from the top of stored containers into another paint can or bottle for reuse and allow the sludge at the bottom to dry before disposing of it.
Store paint thinner out of the reach of children and others. It is a household product that is commonly abused as an inhalant. Inhalation of the fumes at high concentration levels can be fatal. Inadvertent ingestion is also fatal. If you know someone has inhaled or swallowed this product, seek immediate emergency medical help.