Paint stripper smell won't go away - should I neutralise?

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  #1  
Old 01-26-16, 10:17 PM
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Paint stripper smell won't go away - should I neutralise?

Hi there, I'm new to the forum, and I need help urgently.

We used paint stripper to remove PVA paint from a small section of brick and plaster wall in our bedroom, in preparation for applying dampseal.

We did this on Saturday, but the smell is still overwhelming. After we finished I washed the wall with sugar soap, and three more times with plain water.

I have already tried reducing the smell with: baking powder, vanilla essence, coffee, oil burners.

I also run the fan in the room, but nothing has worked.

Last night we tried washing the wall with baking power, which seems to have made the smell worse. Bowls of vinegar also seems to make it worse.

I read up a little (should have done this before I started) and some articles suggest that I should neutralise the paint stripper.

The ingredients of the paint stripper are: methylene chloride, ethanol, and mix-cresol.

I found this online:

"When all the paint is gone, wash or neutralize the surface according to the manufacturer’s directions. Caustic strippers can be neutralized with vinegar and water. Solvent strippers can be washed off with mineral spirits."

According to what I found, methylene chloride is a solvent stripper; so it would seem I need to use mineral spirits (mineral turpentine).

I don't want to make the smell worse, or create some kind of horrible chemical reaction.

Is there anyone that can offer some advice on this?

I am due to treat the wall with dampseal over the weekend, but I'm scared this will lock the smell in permanently.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-26-16, 10:52 PM
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Brick is porous and the stinky part of the stripper has probably penetrated well into the brick. You might have some luck applying a sealer over the brick but I suspect that you will simply have to wait until all the volatile ingredients have evaporated and gone. Unfortunately, this could take several months.
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-16, 11:18 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

Will applying dampseal 'lock' the smell in?

Is it safe to sleep in the room if it still smells like chemicals?
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-16, 11:35 PM
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I'm sorry but I don't know the answer to either question. I know that methylene chloride fumes ARE toxic.
 
  #5  
Old 01-27-16, 02:42 AM
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Is it safe to sleep in the room if it still smells like chemicals?
Some folks are more susceptible to odors than others so a lot depends on the person's tolerances.

Fresh air circulation is always the best method to remove odors! A fan that forces fresh air in [with a window for that air to exit] is best. I'm not real familiar with DampSeal but generally solvent based coatings do a better job of blocking odors than water based ones.

btw - welcome to the forums Marick!
 
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Old 01-27-16, 07:07 AM
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Keep the fan running - more airflow will increase the rate of loss of the particulates you're smelling. How long it will take, though, I cannot answer.
 
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