Barenaked Automobiles: Safe Alternatives for Paint Stripping

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



School of Public Service


Environmental Studies

Faculty Sponsor

Beau Hansen


Methylene Chloride (CH2Cl2) is the most commonly used chemical for automobile paint stripping. However, in 2017 the EPA tightened regulations for the use of CH2Cl2 due to well established environmental and human health risks. These regulations have been viewed skeptically by autobody shops, concerned that CH2Cl2 substitutes may be more expensive and not as effective. Working under the guidance of Ben Jarvis at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), we set out to find safer alternative solvents, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of these solvents relative to CH2Cl2. As a starting point, we reviewed the chemical databases ChemHAT and CleanerSolutions to identify solvents capable of removing paint with “manual wipe” methods. The active ingredients of effective solvents were then researched to identify potential hazards. Through this process we identified three solvents that appeared to be both as effective and less toxic than CH2Cl2: Dumond Tech Smart Strip, Solvon IP, and Peel Away-1. Making use of the facilities at the DEQ, we tested these solvents to see how well they remove paint from bike frames under varying conditions and with varying procedures and tools. Multiple variables impacted efficacy levels such as time to set, temperature, ease of removal, accessibility of the chemical itself, etc. Preliminary results have determined that Dumond Tech Smart Strip, a butyl alcohol based product, is an effective and safer alternative for CH2Cl2. Research into the other two solvents is ongoing.

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