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paint cansI really enjoy painting and all the work involved. Choosing my color, knowing that I am making something beautiful that will last a long time, gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

Painting wouldn't be all that fun if I didn't at least get some of it on my skin, right? Considering that paint isn't meant to wash away, removing it has often been a painful and difficult process.

Using strong chemicals such as mineral spirits, paint thinner, or turpentine can be smelly, dangerous, and often unnecessary. I try as often as possible not to use these items as I have an extremely sensitive nose and often get instant migraines from the fumes, even when I wear a mask. So here are a few of my favorite alternatives to the harsh chemicals.


Warm water and mild dish soap, such as Dawn, will usually remove paint on your skin that is still wet and tacky. If you have sensitive skin like I do, rinse for a longer period of time than might seem necessary, otherwise the soap and paint residue might cause skin irritation.

If the paint on your skin has dried, slathering butter or margarine on it should easily remove it. The oils in the butter or margarine make it difficult for the paint to adhere to your skin, so it makes it easier to peel the paint off. Wash with mild soap and water to remove the butter, and your good to go. This method also works well to get paint out of your hair.

If you have run out of butter or margarine, you can use petroleum jelly or your favorite lotion or cream. It works in much the same way, as it doesn't allow the paint to adhere to your skin. Be sure to wash well with mild soap and water to get the paint residue off your skin.

Now, in the unlikely event you have none of the above on hand, you can go to your local automotive shop or go to the hardware store. The home repair section should carry citrus cleaner that has small granules in it. This works well to get paint off your skin, as the texture of the granules lifts the paint from your skin. Once again, wash your skin thoroughly to remove any residue.

The above mentioned methods always work for me, and they should work for you too. Just don't give up if some paint remains. Sometimes I have to do the paint removal from my skin more than once, but it is worth it to me, because I certainly do not want to have to use harsh chemicals on my sensitive skin, especially when the smell of them makes me sick.


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