A few weeks ago, we informed you that fluorescent bulbs can be returned to your local hardware store after they break/burnout for proper disposal (and at no extra cost to you), but what if they crack/shatter in your home? How do you clean up the mess properly, and safely, so your family isn’t exposed to the toxic mercury inside?
A broken fluorescent bulb can pose safety hazards beyond scrapes and cuts. Fluorescent bulbs can contain mercury, which is known to cause health problems. Mercury exposure can also harm unborn children. Mercury exposure can occur from breathing in mercury vapor from the air or through skin contact with mercury. How can you, and your family, stay safe?
According to OSHA, the best thing to do is to:
- Store bulbs in a sturdy container, and label them.
- Open windows and doors to provide air circulation if a bulb breaks, but be sure to leave for at least 15 minutes.
- Leave the area if a bulb breaks, especially if you are pregnant, or have a compromised immune system.
- Don’t clean up fragments at work unless you are properly trained to do so.
Not everyone is trained on how to properly clean up when a fluorescent light breaks, nor have access to someone who does when one breaks in our home… What do we do then?
- Wear disposable chemical resistant gloves.
- Scoop up pieces with cardboard- do not use a broom or vacuum cleaner.
- Pick up any remaining pieces of glass with sticky tape, and then use a damp paper towel to wipe hard floors.
- Place all glass, and clean up materials, in a sealable plastic bag.
- Wash your hands and thoroughly after clean up.
Did you paint an antique dresser, making it look new and beautiful, only to see that the primer is chipping the next day? Don’t worry- it’s not the end of the world, and you don’t need to sand off ALL of the hard work you did, and start over; you just need to be patient.
Of course, clearing the surface of dirt, chipped paint, grime, oil, etc. will help the primer stick to the surface of the furniture (you can even sand it down with 80-100 grit sandpaper to ensure the surface is clean of debris). But once you have a smooth, clean surface, you can apply your coat(s) of primer.
You get up the next day, eager to see your beautiful work, when you notice the paint chipping, cracking, and peeling off like a sticker; what do you do? As stated before, you only need to be patient. Even though it does state on the product information that it takes around 40 minutes for it to dry enough for it to be touched, it takes about seven days to fully harden. If you do find that the primer is chipping, or peeling, simply fix that little area, instead of re-doing everything.
Did you say a WEEK? Yes, it does take a week, but don’t worry- you don’t have to wait a week before applying a second coat. Usually the primer is ready for that next coat in about an hour, and will continue to harden even though there are globs of paint on top of it.
See- it’s simple, and nothing to panic over.
The current trend is to have your new possessions not look new, but rather give the impression they have “been through the ringer” a couple times. One effect that can achieve this look is called the Crackle Finish. This technique is perfect for furniture and hardwood items. There are, of course, things you can buy that create a crackle in the paint, but this method is not only a little faster and quite a bit cheaper, it delivers the exact same result! The only things you need are two different colors of paint and some Elmer’s Glue (the Elmer’s website recommends Elmer’s Wood Glue, but the regular white glue works just as well).
STEP 1) Paint the piece with the first color (basecoat), and let it dry thoroughly.
STEP 2) Brush on a coating of Elmer’s Glue. If you would like larger crack showing the basecoat, use larger quantities of glue, yet if you would like smaller, finer cracks, you’ll want to use a thin coating of Elmer’s.
STEP 3) While the glue is still tacky and sticky, brush on the other color of paint (topcoat). Do NOT wait for the glue to completely dry! If you do, the only effect you’ll have on your table is a somewhat bumpy topcoat.
STEP 4) Let the topcoat dry completely.
STEP 5) Enjoy your new/old-looking piece of furniture.
You may be asking- What colors should I use? That is a wonderful question, and it is completely up to you. It depends on the effect you would like to create; if you would like to make something bold, possibly use a red basecoat with a black topcoat. If you would like a more natural, and more subtle, appearance, use a Mint Green basecoat with an Off White topcoat. This is where you get to use your creativity, and HAVE FUN!