How to Safely Spray Paint a Vehicle

car paining

When it’s time for your car or truck to get a new paint job, you have two basic choices. Either you can take it to an auto body shop to have a professional paint job done or you can do it yourself. In recent years, most likely due to the recession, more and more people have been doing DIY paint jobs on their cars and doing a very nice job, for sure. However, there are some safety precautions you should take when working with spray paint, not only for your protection but anyone who will be in and around the area where you are working. Following is some advice you may want to heed.

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Dangers and Health Risks when Working with Spray Paint

One of the most common dangers would be in regards to those fumes you will be exposed to. Many paints, paint thinners and other chemicals used when preparing the surface and spray painting a car are extremely toxic. Some of those fumes may cause immediate problems such as nausea and light-headedness, but others can pose significant ongoing health risks. Before working with any substance that will be sprayed and that you will be breathing in, read the labels. Know the ingredients and take proper precautions not to be unnecessarily exposed to those substances.

Work in a Well Ventilated Area

Always work in a well-ventilated area. If you are spray painting your car and have a garage to work in, make sure the front sliding door is completely raised and if there are windows, keep them open. Many people choose to work in their garage because of all the dust and other debris blown around outside and that is perfectly okay. However, to reduce the risk of breathing in all those fumes, keep the area well ventilated. If you use a fan, keep it blowing out, not in.

Protective ‘Must Have’ Gear

Don’t go down to the corner drug store or hardware and buy a dust mask. It isn’t going to do you one bit of good in terms of protecting against fumes and vapors. Dust masks are not designed to keep tiny, often microscopic, particles from entering your lungs when you inhale. One top-of-the-line product that is quite affordable are the 3M Respirators that have been designed for maximum filtration but at costs that are extremely affordable. Wear gloves as well because many chemicals can absolutely infiltrate the skin. You may want a protective suit as well, such as DuPont’s Tyvek Suit that many pros use when on a first response HAZMAT call.

So then, the bottom line is that you need to first think about your lungs and secondly keep contaminants from being absorbed through the skin. Both are equally important and both will help to prevent any dangers to your health that can result from spray painting your car. Yes, you can save a ton of money by doing the labor yourself, but take adequate precautions to guard your health. You have saved nothing if you run up huge medical bills and you surely don’t want to be too ill to enjoy your ‘new’ car!

Aerosol can disposal: What you can do

Aerosol spray cans are frequently used by us though some of us are not even aware of their potential as a recyclable material. Most of these cans are made of steel and aluminum— both of which can be recycled. As per reports, there are around 3 billion steel cans made in the United States and (as per estimates) if every user resolves to recycle these cans then there would be extra enough steel to manufacture about 400,000 automobiles.

Aerosol can disposal

Aerosol: A few facts

It is important to note that aerosol cans should not be disposed of arbitrarily on landfills, after use. Go through the post in a bid to learn more about proper aerosol can disposal.

Aerosols, in their truest essence are collections of small particles often found suspended in gas. Most recognizably, they are available in pressurized spray cans which contain products regularly used by us including hair spray, mousse, whipped cream and spray paint.

There are propellants packed under pressure which might as well cause the container to explode when they are exposed to the heat. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia opines, “due to the flammability [of aerosol cans], these gases can cause fires and explosions if they are sprayed or are released unintentionally due to puncture or damage to the can, or if the contents are exposed to an open flame, pilot light, spark or static electricity.” (Source:

So, it is not prudent to throw them off on empty landfills as they can end up hurting landfill workers. It is very important to ensure that the cans are totally empty before they are relegated to the bin. Please ensure that all the contents of the cans are drained out before they are dispensed. Keep on spraying the can unless and until it does not stop making a hissing sound. Approach your haulers and ask them if they will be accepting these cans for recycling or not.

You can just do away with the general hassles of Aerosol can disposal by adopting the measures mentioned below:

  • Instead of buying the usual spray paints, go for the eco friendly paints
  • Buy cleaning products in non aerosol versions
  • Refrain from buying pressurized hairspray cans— there are a number of non pressurized containers available in the market
  • When it comes to buying paint, make sure that you are purchasing only the quantity which is required for your home improvement or renovation project

Aerosol cans are treated as hazardous waste

Many of us know that aerosol cans are treated as hazardous waste by many states owing to the obvious presence of propellants. Aerosol spray cans were believed to emit the brominated and chlorinated chloroflurocarbons. Later on these CFCs were banned from aerosols. Airborne CFCs are not viewed “as an issue” anymore. However, these cans still have hazardous traits which make it a bit difficult for us to recycle them.

Make sure that you are acquainting yourself with these facts before dispensing them to the bin. Weigh the options you have!