Protect Yourself with a Painting Mask when Spray Painting - Home Decorating & Painting Advice

Protect Yourself with a Painting Mask when Spray Painting



I am a huge proponent of wearing a painting mask when you are using spray paints. It’s so quick, easy, and cheap to transform your surroundings with a little rattle can of paint, but your health and safety are far more important than changing the color of a chair or a picture frame.

There are a few different types of painting masks to consider for various projects—one to use outside and the other to use inside.
 

Particulate Mask


When you are spray painting outdoors, I suggest using a inexpensive particulate mask.
 

 
Why should you use a mask when you’re outdoors? Well, take a look at the image above. Do you see how the one on the left is tinged red? That’s because I used it when I was painting something red. Imagine your lungs being coated in that. No good! You should also use one when you are sanding any type of surface.

Particulate masks are inexpensive at home improvement stores—they run around $5 for a package of two—and can be reused several times.
 

Respirator


 When you’re spray painting in an enclosed space, you MUST use a respirator with disposable cartridges.
 

 
Why would you be spray painting in an enclosed space? Many people use a paint gun for quickly painting rooms in their home. Additionally, a lot of DIYers use spray tents for their spray paint projects, which basically seals the paint (and the painter) into a little plastic room.

A good respirator will run you about $45-$50 in a home improvement store. The replacement cartridges will cost you about $15 more for a two pack, and they will need to be replaced every few months. But the respirator will save your lungs when you are in an enclosed space, so the cost is completely worth it.
 

The most important thing about a respirator is to make sure that it fits you properly.

 
To fit it, put it on your face and put the elastic straps around the back of your head. Then, push the mask towards your face and breath in deeply through your nose. You should feel the suction around your mouth and nose. If you don’t, then you need to tighten the straps. And if you can smell paint once you begin painting, then it definitely doesn’t fit properly—so stop painting and adjust it!
 
Don’t forget to take other proper safety precautions when spray painting, always follow all safety and first aid precautions on the product label, safety data sheet (SDS) or technical data sheet.
 
The next time you head to a home improvement store to grab a few cans of spray paint, make sure you hit the painting mask aisle, too!