Virtual Paint Mixing Room

Click on the link to see any of the articles below.


Solvents are liquid chemicals that are found in clears, primers, basecoats, hardeners, paint thinners and strippers, reducers, and cleaners degreasing fluids. Common examples are mineral spirits, varsol, petroleum distillates, and acetone. Many of these liquids are flammable, potentially toxic, and have a strong odour.

Solvents contain VOCs. Air pollution occurs when they are released to the environment. Both solvents and waste solvents can be hazardous to human health. Prolonged exposure can cause nausea and headaches and, in extreme cases, can be fatal.

You must protect your health by minimizing your exposure to solvents by using the proper protective equipment (gloves, respirators, face shields, etc) that are recommended on the supplier's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Minimize your exposure by avoiding contact with your skin, not breathing the fumes, and never ingesting these liquids.

Use solvents with proper local or general ventilation. Never wash your hands in a solvent because this can result in defatting of your skin. Use a commercial hand cleaner.

Solvents must be stored in a manner that prevents any release, and that complies with municipal and provincial fire codes. Avoid storing solvents outside, but if you must, cover the containers to protect them from precipitation.

Keep an up-to-date inventory of the kinds of chemicals you have stored and where they are kept.

You can save your shop a lot of money by recycling solvents. In most cases, used solvents have not chemically degraded; they have just picked up impurities. The recycling process separates the solvents from the impurities.

Dispose of used solvents using a licensed waste hauler.

If spilled or released indiscriminately, waste solvents can also threaten the environment by contaminating water and soil and contributing to air pollution. Therefore, containment and clean-up action should begin as soon as possible to protect human health and the environment. Cleaning up a contaminated site usually costs more money than storing solvents properly in the first place.

The Canadian Paint and Coating Association web site contains guidelines on safe handling of paint strippers.

Click here to send questions or comments

Special thanks to CCAR-GreenLink®




The Virtual Collision / Paint Shop is only a graphic representation of a conceptual service and repair facility. The Virtual Collision / Paint Shop only illustrates subjects which call for environmental program management and not as an illustration of good facility layout and design practices.

We do not guarantee the correctness or accuracy of the information, and will not be responsible for incorrect or inaccurate information, or any damage or loss suffered by any person as a result of reliance on such information.

The information presented relates to environmental programs of the Federal government. Regulations, and rulings, of local governments may apply in lieu of, or in addition to, the Federal rules, and should be reviewed before taking any action in reliance on this information.