Should I Wear Gloves When I Paint?

Jordan Paul , null

May 27th, 2022

Should I Wear Gloves When I Paint?

The decision whether to wear gloves when you paint usually comes down to the paint you are using. There are a few different types of paint and some are more harmful to human skin than others. Sometimes the choice to wear gloves is obvious, like when using paint remover and strippers that contain a caustic chemical. Other times however, the choice might not be so easy to make. Today, we will suggest how to tell when you need to wear gloves when you paint. What Type Of Paint Am I Using? As a rule, you’ll want to wear the appropriate gloves (if any) for the material you are using. All paint materials, whether they are house paints, sealers, primers, or paint removers will include safety precautions on the container. This is required by law, as well as any pertinent first-aid instructions in the event of mis-use.

Oil Based Enamels

Oil based enamel paints are caustic to the skin, because they contain products derived from petroleum. Oil based enamel paints are fantastic for outdoor projects because they form a very durable shell once cured. Oil based enamels, however, should always be used when wearing rubber gloves because your skin can absorb the chemicals in the paint very quickly. Water Based Latex and Acrylics Water based house paints, like latex are much friendlier to human skin than oil based enamel paints. Generally, latex paint is relatively harmless to skin, but you should not let it dry. Constant exposure to latex paint can dry out your skin (because it is designed to dry quickly), some professionals keep their hands in good shape with skin lotions and creams.

What Am I Painting?

Some projects will always require gloves, whether the paint is caustic to the skin or not. For example, although foundation waterproofers are now available in latex versions, you should still wear gloves when using them. This is because you will be working around very materials like concrete, cement blocks, and mortar, which can be abrasive to the hands.

Other paints like acrylics and latex are usually fine to use without gloves, but again, read the label. Wet latex and acrylic paints wash off the skin with warm soap and water. In fact, because skin is so pliable, even dried latex and acrylics can usually be removed with a combination of baking soda and water.

If I Wear Gloves, What Kind Should I Wear?

There are many different kinds of gloves used in painting, from rubberized cloth gloves to latex. Most professional painters keep different kinds of gloves handy, depending on what they’ll be doing and for how long. Most will have heavy gloves to wear when moving ladders and such, as well as rubber versions like dishwashing gloves, and others.

For example, it might seem prudent to wear dishwashing gloves or even latex gloves when you need to keep the chemicals off of your skin. However, many oil-based enamels will literally dissolve some latex gloves, so be sure and read the precautionary statement on the label of your paint. If the paint is caustic to your skin, it will say so and recommend gloves.

Other paints however, like acrylics and latex are friendlier to rubber and latex and can be a handy way to keep your hands clean. However, most of these gloves are not breathable and will cause your hands to sweat if you wear them very long. Many pros use mechanic’s gloves, as many have rubber fingertips, but cloth construction so they breathe.

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