Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Got Milk?

This post originally appeared on Windborne in Puget Sound

I got skunked the other day.

I was at one of the big box home remodeling stores and picked up a gallon of paint thinner, since I was almost out on the boat.  Instead of a metal can or a translucent polypropylene container, it was in a white container.  I didn't give that any thought at all.

Big mistake.

On the boat ready to clean a brush just used for varnishing,  I pulled the DOT seal  and saw...  not at all what I expected.  This was a gallon of milk.  No, seriously - it was an emulsion of paint thinner in water, looking exactly like milk.

Looking more closely at the label (which I should have done in the store), I saw that this was being marketed as "safe" paint thinner.   We Americans will go to any length, to any ridiculous length, to remove any trace of risk, won't we?  But this?  I think this is an EPA-designed thinner, being marketed as "safe".  Of course it is cheaper to manufacture too, since water is less expensive than actual paint thinner.

But tho it is "safe", and has very low VOC, what is it good for?  There is no way I or anyone else would dump this milk into a $60 quart of varnish.  And I wouldn't trust it even to clean my least expensive varnish brush.  I cannot even imagine it being useful as a thinner for water-based varnish, since that stuff is already as runny as milk. 

Kicking myself for my stupidity, I set the container by the marina dumpster.

Maybe someone can use it to make a latte.

Yes, that is 9 gallons of the good stuff. A local TruValue hardware store was selling off their old stock of the "environmentally irresponsible" thinner for $7.89/gallon. I bought all their stock.

I should be fixed for life.

Or perhaps I'll be like the lady who is selling off cans of pre-EPA formula Brasso on eBay, one by one.

1 comment:

  1. I've been using the "milk" for a couple of years now and it makes a GREAT solvent for cleaning brushes and suchlike,

    Certainly not a thinner for varnish or paint but it does have it's uses...


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