Ecological paint strippers analysis


Here are some paint strippers advertised as non-toxic, green and environmentally friendly. They are products for private, hobby or semi-professional use, freely available online together with the safety documentation used to draft the article.

The analyzes reported are not intended in any way to describe or compare the effectiveness and prices of the products, but only to show the veracity of the claims relating to the environmental impact.


Supplier description: Completely natural and ecological paint remover and degreaser for furniture, based on an extremely effective patented compound that allows a removal of the paint without fumes or dangerous chemicals. It also works as a degreaser and it is a great cleaner to use before painting.

The formula is based on low-VOC soybean oil, quickly removes multiple layers of paint, without releasing harsh chemicals and odors.

The product is dispersible in water, it's not caustic, it's solvent free, based on renewable and sustainable sources (soy) using green technology, it dissolves adhesives, silicones.

Shake and mix well before use, mask and gloves recommended, use with caution.

Formulation from safety data sheet:

  • NMP:> 15%
  • DBE dibasic esters:> 45%
  • Proprietary compound:> 30%

pH: 7

Considerations: The presence of NMP makes the product harmful, especially at the percentage indicated (it could even exceed 20%). The "secret" mixture of oil and soy derivatives only serves to hide the NMP which is the active and unfortunately toxic part for humans. DBE alone is not able to work as a paint stripper at room temperature, to make the formulation more ecological it would have been enough to replace NMP with benzyl alcohol.

CITRISTRIP Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel (Citristrip)

Supplier's description: Effective product for removing multiple layers of latex, oil-based paints, varnishes, lacquers, polyurethane and shellac from wood, metal and masonry surfaces. Removes five layers of dried latex paint in less than an hour. It has a fresh citrus scent. Absence of harmful fumes and safe for home use (keep out of reach of children).

Formulation from safety data sheet:

  • Benzyl alcohol: 30-60%
  • Butyl Diglycol: 5-10%
  • Diethylene Glycolamine: 3-7%
  • Light kerosene distillates: 1-5%
  • C9-C11 ethoxylated alcohol: 0.1-1%
  • Terpinolene: 0.1-1.0%
  • d-Limonene: 0.1-1.0%

pH: 11

Considerations: The product has an orange on the label and also the color and scent are a reference to nature and the environment. In reality, an ingredient contained is toxic (the derivative of kerosene) and even the perfumed essences do not enjoy a good reputation, albeit in a low percentage, especially if used in closed domestic environments. It should be added that at least until 2015 Citristrip contained NMP instead of benzyl alcohol, so we can certainly affirm an evolution of the product but not yet such as to declare itself "green".


Supplier description: Much more effective than other green paint strippers on the market. It works well on any surface and on all types of paint and also to remove glues; fast and applicable even at 0 ° C. Free from methylene chloride, NMP, acids and bases.

Formulation from safety data sheet:

  • Dioxolane: 50-75%
  • Dimethoxymethane: 10-25%
  • Aromatic C11-C14 hydrocarbons: 5%
  • Methanol: 3%
  • Dimethylaminoethanol: 1%

pH: nd

Considerations: The product is effectively free from the raw materials they declare; however, it contains aromatic distillates and methanol, equally toxic, especially in conjunction with the other volatile elements that can easily reach the operator. It cannot therefore declare itself a green product nor can it compare itself as such. Furthermore, the high flammability is not a plus in terms of safety and health.

PIRANHA 4 (Fiberlock)

Supplier's description: The fast-acting formula starts removing most stubborn paints and coatings in less than an hour, without the use of dangerous chlorinated solvents, caustics or methylene chloride. The gel formulation offers maximum coverage and excellent adhesion, allowing it to stay on vertical surfaces, staying active for hours. It has a unique solvent formulation, it does not discolour and does not raise the grain of the wood nor does it require neutralization. Piranha IV can be used on virtually any substrate to remove oil-based paint, latex paint, elastomeric paint, asbestos cement paint, epoxy and urethane.

Biodegradable is displayed on the label.

Formulation from safety data sheet:

  • NMP: 45-50%
  • DBE dibasic esters: 40-45%
  • d-Limonene: 0-5%

pH: 7.5

Considerations: The product does not declare itself ecological and illustrates that it is free from certain harmful substances (purposely excluding other toxic ones). This is true, but the Biodegradable label is misleading and can make the use of the product take lightly. Although NMP and d-Limonene are rapidly biodegradable (source msds), they are not to be considered environmentally friendly, in fact they can cause serious damage to the nature and cannot be discharged in any way on the ground or in the sewer.

SAFE-ERASE Paint & Varnish Remover Gel (Evapo-Rust)

Supplier's description: Safely dissolves multiple layers of paint (powder, epoxy, enamel etc.) perfect for indoor use. Use new, safe and powerful solvents without the risk of harmful fumes or vapors. This easy-to-apply gel adheres to any surface and stays active for up to 48 hours. It does not contain methylene chloride and NMP, acids and bases, it is not carcinogenic and flammable. Can be used on wood, metal and masonry, unsuitable for plastics and linoleum.

Formulation from safety data sheet:

  • Hydrogen peroxide: <7%
  • Benzyl alcohol: 60-65%
  • Water: 18-25%
  • Non-hazardous proprietary polymer: <5%
  • Non-hazardous proprietary cleaner: <5%

pH: 4.5

Considerations: It must be specified that the product is not declared green, but only "safe for use". Despite this, it has proven to be much greener than other paint strippers advertised as eco-friendly. The presence of water is remarkable, which drastically reduces the percentage of VOCs and increases safety with the operator and the environment. Polymers and detergents protected by trade secrets probably serve to viscosize the product and hydrotrop the benzyl with the aqueous part, as well as to assist the penetration of the paint stripper through the paint layers.