Staying Safe While Using a Lacquer Thinner

paint can with a paintbrush on top

Lacquer thinner is great to use when thinning hard to apply paints or stains, or even to clean paint brushes or remove stubborn paint spills. Great care must be exercised when using lacquer thinner to help you avoid illness or injury. This article will address some of the most important concerns you should have when using lacquer thinner.

Avoid Potentially Harmful Fumes

The fumes from lacquer thinner can easily make you nauseous or feel lightheaded and dizzy. Therefore, you should always use a breathing mask whenever working with lacquer thinner. Even if you're working with lacquer thinner outdoors, you should protect yourself from the harmful and toxic fumes of lacquer thinner.

If you must use lacquer thinner indoors, make sure that the room is well ventilated and the fumes from the lacquer thinner have a way to escape the room. If possible, position an electric fan in a doorway and point it away from you as you work with the lacquer thinner. This will help pull the fumes out of the room that you're working in and help spare you from the fumes. It's been shown that constant exposure to lacquer thinner over an extended period of time can lead to a number of respiratory-related illnesses. Therefore, avoid inhaling the fumes of lacquer thinner as much as possible and use an appropriate mask.

Always Protect Your Eyes and Hands

Eye goggles and face mask

When working with lacquer thinner, you should always use eye and hand protection. Lacquer thinner can easily burn or irritate the cornea or retina of your eye and can even cause blindness in severe cases. Therefore, always use eye protection to prevent a splash of lacquer thinner landing inside your eye. Always remember that accidents happen even to the most careful of people.

Although lacquer thinner is not particularly harmful for your skin in most cases, it can dry out the skin and cause the skin to crack or peel. Also, lacquer thinner can irritate small cuts or wounds that you may have on your hands. So, when working with lacquer thinner use rubber painters gloves or even kitchen gloves if possible.

Avoid Smoking when Using Lacquer Thinner

If you are a smoker, refrain from smoking while you are using lacquer thinner. Lacquer thinner is extremely flammable and can easily be ignited by a cigarette butt or embers that fall into a liquid puddle of lacquer thinner. If you need to take a cigarette break, walk a safe distance away from the area where the lacquer thinner is being used and smoke your cigarette. Return to the area only after you finish smoking.

Choose a Safe Place to Store Lacquer Thinner

Man building a cabinet

After you've finished using lacquer thinner, it is very important to choose a safe place to store the liquid. Before you store the lacquer thinner, always make sure that the cap is tightly sealed on the bottle or can, and then store the solvent in a dry and cool place. Avoid storing it in areas where the container will receive direct sunlight as it may spontaneously combust and cause a fire if it gets too hot.