Project TitleSafer Paint Stripper Alternatives
Track Code2016-024
Short Description

Paint stripper formulations in an effort to reduce the health, safety and toxicity concerns related to methylene chloride, toluene, and methanol, while maintaining similar performance. 

Tagssafer, paint stripper, cleaning, solvent, environmentally-friendly
Posted DateOct 12, 2016 12:05 PM


Vijayendra Kumar
Rajnish Kaushik


Paint strippers have wide commercial application due to the relative ease of use when compared to various physical paint removal methods (scraping/sanding). Many of these paint removers are solvent based, utilizing methylene chloride, toluene, and methanol. While these solvents yield significant paint removal, they may also present potential health, safety and environmental concerns to both the user and the surrounding environment. These solvents are listed as Hazardous Air Pollutants by the U.S. EPA.  Alternative paint strippers which contain ingredients such as benzyl alcohol, dibasic esters, and N-Methyl-pyrrolidone (NMP) lack in comparative performance results. Hence, there is a need to have a paint stripper with safer chemicals and the companies are looking to eliminate hazardous components.


Inventors at UMass Lowell - Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI) have developed a set of paint stripper formulations in an effort to reduce the health, safety and toxicity concerns related to methylene chloride, toluene, and methanol, while maintaining similar performance. The alternative solvent blend contains no Hazardous Air Pollutants and is equally effective as compared to current formulations. 


Safer paint stripper formulations can be applied across a wide range of coatings:

  • Paints – Oil, latex
  • Varnishes
  • Lacquers
  • Shellacs
  • Epoxies
  • Polyurethanes
  • Marine finishes

Competitive Advantages

  • Environmentally friendly formulation - Formulation involves no Hazardous Air Pollutants
  • Safer than the effective hazardous solvents and works similar to these same solvents
  • Doesn’t stain wood or raise the wood grain
  • Comprised of chemicals that have small molecular volumes - Solvent blend can penetrate the various polymer coatings and attack the adhesive bond to the substrate
  • Cost-comparative  

Market Potential

Methylene chloride is largely used as paint stripper. The methylene chloride market size in terms of value was worth USD 708.0 million in 2015 and is projected to register a CAGR of about 4.75% between 2015 and 2020.

About the inventor

Gregory Morose is a Research Professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Research Manager for the Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI). The focus of his research for the past several years has been evaluation alternatives to toxic chemicals and materials used in products and manufacturing processes. For an inventor profile, see:

TURI at the University of Massachusetts Lowell provides resources and tools to help make the Commonwealth a safer and more sustainable place to live and work. TURI collaborates with businesses, community organizations and government agencies to reduce the use of toxic chemicals, protect public health and the environment, and increase competitiveness of Massachusetts businesses.


Pending; World-wide protection available



Vijayendra Kumar, PhD

Licensing Associate

600 Suffolk Street, Suite 212

Lowell, Massachusetts 01854

Phone: 978-934-4714