This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: Natural Citrus Solvent

In the world of cleaning up after using oil based primers or paints there are really only 2 products that are going to do the job.  Traditional mineral spirits and the new generation of citrus oil solvents.
This is the product I have been using to clean my brushes and skin

Mineral spirits, developed in the early 1920s for the dry cleaning industry, are the product of gasoline refining.   As far as toxicity goes, they are as dangerous as any petroleum based products for skin irritation and allergic reaction, but they have the added bonus of being a lung and mucus irritant when inhaled.  Petroleum products are nerve agents, long-term, repeated exposure will probably cause some level of irritation and/or nerve damage and in cases of extreme exposure: organ damage.  You may recall that I warned against using petroleum products in this post and again, it all comes down to quantifying your exposure.  If I'm using a petroleum lip balm and a petroleum lotion on my heels and petroleum based detergents to wash my clothes and I get some clothes dry cleaned and then I do a big paint project and use a petroleum cleaner to clean my brushes how well can I really quantify my exposure to that toxic chemical?  Luckily, there is another option.

Citrus oil solvents are safer than mineral spirits

There are a group of solvents called citrus solvents.  Not unlike their popular cousins Orange Glo, Fast Orange, and Citrus Magic, these cleaners use the oil extracted from pressed orange peel to cut grease, dissolve oils, and remove oil residue.  They should still be treated with caution as they are powerful cleaners and many have "helper" detergents added during processing, but they are not petroleum based, they do not contain lung and mucus membrane irritants, and they won't damage your nerves or organs.  The orange smell is actually pretty pleasant.  I have just found out about these cleaners so I can't give a testimonial as to their effectiveness on removing oil based primer from paintbrushes, rollers, and skin, but I will keep you updated.

'Cause believe me, I've got a lot of primer that needs removin'...especially from  my driveway... 

1 comment:

karen@fitnessjourney said...

Kate from Centsational Girl recommended to me a citrus based product when I asked her about removing a finish on my staircase. I'd never heard of this before. Some of the products are so toxic and cause me to get severe headaches. Glad to hear about this.