A Guide to Studio Safety

Maintaining studio safety is paramount to keeping you, your loved ones, and your pets safe from harm. There are simple yet effective steps to keep yourself healthy regardless of your medium. These suggestions may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how easy it is to become forgetful. Here are a few tips to keep your studio safe.

Simple Tips for Studio Safety

Your Workspace

Keep your work area clean and free of paint residue and pigment dust (if you make your own paint).

clean studio

Food and Drink

Don’t eat, drink or smoke near your art materials. Many artists mistakenly rinsed a brush in a cup of coffee or tea.

Studio with food and drink

Children and Pets

Keep your art materials away from small children and pets. Colorful paints are attractive to both!

Child with paint on face


Keep a lined metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid in the studio to use only for your art waste. Pour some water into the bottom of the can to keep it moist and to avoid spontaneous combustion of solvents and certain oils. Empty the can after each day of painting. We recommend the safety can as shown below.

Or buy a safety can like the one pictured below and toss your oily rags and paper towels inside. When it’s full, dispose of the contents properly according to local and federal regulations.

Safety Can

Hazardous Substances

If you must use solvents, ensure they are odorless and keep them in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid, such as the solvent dispenser below. Even odorless solvents emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and can cause irritation and harm when inhaled, so use sparingly.

Solvent can

Personal Protection

Wear gloves if you are worried about exposure to certain pigments or if you have any cuts or abrasions. Certainly, wear them if you use solvents. Wear a respirator if you are using dry pigments to make your own paint, and wear an apron or protective clothing to keep paint and toxic substances off your clothes.

Gloved hand painting on canvas

Safety Labels

Read the labels on your art materials, but please don’t let hazardous labels keep you from using them. You will remain safe with the proper care, handling, and good studio practices.

Personal Hygiene

Last but not least, and by all means, please don’t put your brushes or your palette knives in your mouth and avoid getting paint, solvents, and other toxic substances on your skin.

Man with palette knife in mouth

Products to Help You Keep Safe

These products can help keep you safe and your studio and tools clean.

D-Wipe Towels

D-Wipes disposable towels are saturated with a gentle pH-balanced cleaner to quickly remove lead, heavy metal dust, dirt, grease, and oil. The soft towels lift, bind, and hold lead and other heavy metal dust and take them away without smearing.

D-Lead Abrasive Hand Soap

D-Lead Abrasive Hand Soap is extra strength to remove heavy metals, embedded grease, oil, adhesives, and dirt. The smooth, fine scrubs provide a gentle cleaning assist and fast-acting cleaning power to remove the toughest dirt.

D-Lead Pocket Test Kit

D-Lead Test Kits are ready to use, fast, simple, portable, and provide immediate results. This kit will detect as little as 20 micrograms of lead on surfaces, including skin, clothing, work benches, tables, chairs, etc.

Solvent Dispenser Can

One-touch, solvent dispensing cans dispense approximately 2cc of liquid with each pump. One-handed operation is perfect for dispensing onto towels, swabs, and brushes. Minimizes personal exposure to hazardous solvents by dispensing liquid without having to open and close the can each time solvent is needed.

Micro-Fiber Cleaning Cloth

Microfiber Cloth is the newest in cleaning technology made from two types of microfibers, polyamide (20%) and polyester (80%). These ultra-soft microfiber cloths lift and trap dirt and moisture, leaving a clean, dry, and polished surface without the use of harmful chemicals.

Paintbrushpal Brush Cleaner and Preserver

Paintbrushpal is the ideal solution for cleaning and preserving your most important paint tool! Because it’s made from all-natural, plant-based oils, Paintbrushpal is also great on hands, clothing, surfaces, and almost anything you want to remove paint from!

Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer is for sanitizing hands to prevent infection and transmission of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. WHO-approved formulation. Contains 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Sani-Clean Spray

Sani-Clean Spray is for cleaning tools, utensils, and containers for mixing paint or glue to prevent mold and germs that cause decay. Use to clean hard surfaces before painting and adhering. Contains isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and purified water.

Picture CleanGel

Picture CleanGel is a solvent-free aqueous gel cleanser that is gentle to varnished and unvarnished paint surfaces. The gel cleanser removes soil, proteinaceous, and carbohydrate materials from varnished and unvarnished oil paint surfaces. It is also helpful as a cleaner for paintings that have collected dirt and dust immediately before varnishing.