A Cautionary Tale


Well-known member
27 Apr 2003
The Gareloch
It's that time of year again when many of us will be slapping on primer and anti-fouling; myself included. I'd spent the winter scraping back and wet sanding until I was satisfied I had a reasonable surface to begin painting. One last job however, a quick wipe down with rags and thinners #3.

I thought I was well prepared with overalls and vinyl gloves to protect me from the thinners. How wrong was I.

I was simply adding a bit more thinners to my rag when the can slipped from my gloved hand and headed for the ground. My reaction was to bend over and try to catch it . . . not the wisest thing to do with hindsight. The can hit the ground square on and a significant amount of thinners #3 shot straight up into my face.

At first it was no worse than a splash of water, but I just knew that was too good to be true. Seconds later I couldn't open my eyes long enough to see. Fortunately for me one of the marina lads, Alan, was working on the next boat and he turned on a hose which allowed me to flush my face and eyes for several minutes. A public "Thank You Alan"!

A shower, a change of clothes, and later on a bath, and my eyes are still smarting. My nostrils are still filled with the stink of the thinners, and despite the best part of a bottle of South African Shiraz, I can still taste the damn stuff. Oh, and I have a headache. And kids sniff this stuff for kicks! (the thinners, not the Shiraz)

Worse still, my better half is complaining the washing machine now stinks of paint thinners . . . AND WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

Still, I did get the first coat of primer on, though it's started raining again and has probably ruined the finish.

So, a salutary lesson has been learned. Never, ever, wash clothing soaked in thinners in a washing machine.


Well-known member
13 Jul 2002
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First aid Measures:

In all cases of doubt, or when symptoms persist, seek medical attention.
Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
Remove to fresh air, keep patient warm and at rest. If breathing is irregular or stopped, give artificial respiration. If unconscious
place in the recovery position and obtain immediate medical attention. Give nothing by mouth.
Eye Contact
Irrigate copiously with clean fresh water for at least 10 minutes, holding the eyelids apart and seek medical attention.
Skin Contact
Remove contaminated clothing. Wash skin thoroughly with soap and water or use a recognised skin cleanser. Do NOT use
solvents or thinners.
If accidentally swallowed obtain immediate medical attention. Keep at rest. Do NOT induce vomiting

Probably the sensible thing to do with clothing is to simply hang in the fresh air until the thinners have evaporated.
Some constituents are not very volatile so could take a wee while.

Vetillate the washing machine ( I hope its not indoors) and then run it on a hot wash program