How To Get Paint Off Skin

It's Such An Exciting Project

You were so excited about that new paint color you chose for the kitchen that you could hardly wait to get home and get it onto the walls. At the end of the project, the kitchen walls looked amazing-and so did your arms, hands and face. It is an interesting thing, but often when we amateurs get to painting the walls, we end up with almost as much paint on our own bodies. We step away from the finished work delighted and dappled.

The next big project is to get the paint off the skin, and depending upon the type of paint used, the methods can vary greatly. There is a huge difference between latex paint and oil-based paints. Usually interior house paints are latex, unless the room is a bathroom or kitchen, while exterior house paints are frequently oil-based-especially for the trim of the house.

Getting Latex Paint Off The Skin

Of all paint types, latex paint is probably the easiest to remove from the skin because it is water based. Soap and hot water usually does the trick and you can avoid the use of chemicals and paint thinners. If the paint is still wet when you remove it, it should come off very easily. If it is dry, it will take a bit more work, but a good scrub in hot soapy water should cause the paint to peel off.

Oil-Based Paints-Not So Easy

Oil-based paint presents a different challenge and does not just wash off with soap and water. Since the foundation of the paint is oil, it will repel water. Before you go for the strong chemicals to get the paint off, you may find you have something less caustic around the house that could do the job without taking off a layer of skin. Try rubbing some baby oil on the paint. It should dissolve the paint and leave your skin clean and irritation free.

Other forms of "paint remover" you may just have in your house that you probably would not think of are Vick's VapoRub, mayonnaise, and olive oil. These are oil-based products which, when rubbed into the paint-covered skin, cause the paint to dissolve away. Turpentine is the old stand-by, but it is highly flammable and can cause irritation to the skin.

The Real Test-Spray Paint

Spray paint can be the most difficult to remove from the skin. Since it is usually oil-based it sticks like glue, and because it comes out in a fine mist, it does not just peel off. One very effective way to remove it from the skin is with make-up remover. Just put the remover on a cotton ball or swab and wipe the paint away. Cooking spray and petroleum jelly can be effective as well. Again, before reaching for the chemicals, try to use something that doesn't irritate the skin.

Of course, the very best way to deal with paint on the skin is to take precautions to cover up before you start painting. Gloves are usually a good idea. A little trick to protect your fingernails (if you choose not to wear gloves) is to run your nails over a bar of soap. The soap acts as a barrier and any paint you do manage to get under your nails should just wash away with a little scrubbing.