Safety Tips and Supplies for DIY Painters

Safety Tips and Supplies for DIY Painters

So, you’ve picked your color scheme, bought your supplies, and now you’re ready to paint. To help you do the job safely, here are some tips for DIY painting:

1. Proper Ventilation

When painting, the room must be well ventilated.

  • Open all doors and windows, and be sure to use ceiling fans to keep the paint fumes from condensing there.
  • Only allow those who are doing the work to stay in the room during the painting project. It’s best that elderly people, young children, and pets are away from the freshly painted areas.

2. Ladder Safety

Depending on the project, you may need a ladder to reach higher areas. Using a ladder requires careful use and rules to ensure your safety. After making sure that there isn’t any paint on the feet of the ladder to cause damage to the floor or other objects, you should follow these tips:

Extension Ladders:

  • Use old cloth or foam protectors on the tops of extension ladders to keep from scratching the walls
  • Make sure the rails and legs make solid contact with the wall and floor
  • Place the ladder 1 foot away from the wall for every 3 feet of height

A-Frame Ladder

  • Check that the spreader bar is completely extended and locked
  • Don’t apply too much weight to the paint tray attached to the ladder—it’s often flimsy depending on the type of ladder

More Tips

  • Never stand higher than the third highest rung on the ladder
  • Have a partner hold the ladder steady as you paint hard-to-reach areas
  • Wear non-slip shoes on the ladder to ensure your safety

3. Safety with Solvent and Lead Paint

Both paints pose potential hazards and require professional painters and removers for the job.


When a job requires a solvent based paint or spray, it’s best to leave the work to professionals who have the proper training and equipment. Some solvent based products include oil-based paint, paint thinner, de-glosser, and paint remover. These products are highly flammable and toxic, which is why you shouldn’t take on this project yourself. If you can avoid using a solvent paint, you should stick with using something safer, like a water based paint.


If you need to have lead paint removed, DO NOT REMOVE IT YOURSELF. You have to contact an EPA professional to take care of the situation. Lead paint is potentially hazardous for infants, small children, and pregnant women.

4. Protective Equipment

To protect yourself and the area where you’re painting, it’s best to use the proper equipment.

For You:

  • Glasses or some form of eye protection
  • A respirator for use in areas that aren’t ventilated sufficiently
  • Gloves for strong, toxic products like paint thinners and removers

For the Area:

  • Drop cloths to protect the floor from paint
  • Covers for furniture and other objects (be sure to move furniture away from painted walls)

5. Cleaning and Storage

Between usage, you can easily store the paint supplies by wrapping the rollers or brushes in plastic wrap or foil until you use it again. Once your project is done, you can wash the supplies in a large container with water and dishwasher detergent until the paint comes off (Oil based paint will require mineral spirits for removal). Let rollers and brushes stand to dry once clean, and then store them in aluminum foil or their original packaging.

Collegiate Painters