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Paint stripper smell won't go away - should I neutralise?

Discussion in 'Decorating and Painting' started by Marick_H, 26 Jan 2016.

  1. Marick_H

    Marick_H

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    Hi there, I'm new to the forum, and I need help urgently.

    We used paint stripper to remove PVA paint from a small section of brick and plaster wall in our bedroom, in preparation for applying dampseal.

    We did this on Saturday, but the smell is still overwhelming. After we finished I washed the wall with sugar soap, and three more times with plain water.

    I have already tried reducing the smell with: baking powder, vanilla essence, coffee, oil burners.

    I also run the fan in the room, but nothing has worked.

    Last night we tried washing the wall with baking power, which seems to have made the smell worse. Bowls of vinegar also seems to make it worse.

    I read up a little (should have done this before I started) and some articles suggest that I should neutralise the paint stripper.

    The ingredients of the paint stripper are: methylene chloride, ethanol, and mix-cresol.

    I found this online:

    "When all the paint is gone, wash or neutralize the surface according to the manufacturer’s directions. Caustic strippers can be neutralized with vinegar and water. Solvent strippers can be washed off with mineral spirits."

    According to what I found, methylene chloride is a solvent stripper; so it would seem I need to use mineral spirits (mineral turpentine).

    I don't want to make the smell worse, or create some kind of horrible chemical reaction.

    Is there anyone that can offer some advice on this?
     
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  3. Marick_H

    Marick_H

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    Anyone?
     
  4. Grenage

    Grenage

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    To be honest, I think I'd just let it dry out thoroughly - the smell will go in time.
     
  5. JohnD

    JohnD

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    Methylene Chloride is described as volatile. The smell may come from the creosol.
    http://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/hlthef/methylen.html
    It will evaporate away in time.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichloromethane

    It is a solvent, not a caustic, stripper.

    Incidentally, you appear to have used a paint stripper intended for oil (gloss) paint, not necessarily suitable for emulsion paint on a wall. It has probably soaked into the wall, which is very absorbent. If you apply a spirit, that will soak into the wall as well, giving you yet more vapour and odour.

    I would guess that it does not dissolve or mix in water, in which case water will not help.

    I recommend you contact the manufacturer of the stripper.
     
    Last edited: 26 Jan 2016
  6. Marick_H

    Marick_H

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Clearly the hardware story guy who sold me the paint stripper knows even less about it than I do...

    My fear is that I will have to sleep in another room for a few weeks, which is not ideal.

    The container said to wash with sugar water, which I did. Maybe I should try that again?

    What would be the effect of applying dampseal at this time? Will I lock the smell in and have a paint stripper room for the rest of my life?
     
  7. Marick_H

    Marick_H

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    Anyone else with advice?

    What would be the effect of applying dampseal at this time? Will I lock the smell in and have a paint stripper room for the rest of my life?

    Is it safe to sleep in the room if it still smells like chemicals?
     
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  9. Bosswhite

    Bosswhite

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    All you can do is ensure there is good ventilation and avoid going in the room as much as possible, Paint stripper can cause respiratory problems.
    Washing down the area with just soap and water ( washing up liquid and then rinse) may help

    The smell will gradually disperse ( its question of "how long is a bit of string" )
    Should have checked the directions on the label, " use in a well ventilated area"
     
  10. JohnD

    JohnD

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    you mention sugar water, which is very strange. Does it mean sugar soap? Which is a granulated gritty soap, very strong, used by decorators. It does not contain sugar, but has gritty grains, a bit like sugar crystals.
     
  11. Marick_H

    Marick_H

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    Sorry, yes, I meant sugar soap.
     
  12. misterhelpful

    misterhelpful

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    What is the reason for wanting to apply Dampseal - do you have a damp issue that has been rectified or is there still an existing problem? If the latter, you need to address the issue at source before putting Dampseal on the wall. If you are just using the Dampseal to cover a stain or as a precaution after solving a damp problem then that should be ok.
    Personally, if it is just the smell that needs to be addressed, I would take a look at Zinsser B-I-N, which is probably the best odour and stain blocking primer on the market and should be ok to use on the wall after the paint-stripper/sugar soap. It's not the nicest or easiest product to work with as it dries extremely quickly, and has it's own smell (which fades away on drying), but it adheres to pretty much anything and readily accepts all topcoats.
     
  13. njdeco

    njdeco

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    neutralizer will only work if you have used high acidity paint striper like peel away system. If you have used nitromorse or similar than this should evaporate after a while. We have done this when our painters in central London had to strip paint from fireplaces.
     
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