“It turns out that milk is hazardous to fish and the hazmat team was pumping out the storm drain to keep the milk from reaching the river.”

6298552521_142f7a9c68_zWe can never learn enough about hazardous materials. When a milk truck overturned on a street near my home, I was surprised to see the hazmat team respond, complete with white ty-vek suits. It turns out that milk is hazardous to fish and the hazmat team was pumping out the storm drain to keep the milk from reaching the river. Perhaps it was the white protective suits that made the response seem a bit overdone; but the suits were no doubt mandated by statute. As a painting contractor, I had to learn a good deal about statutes. Washing out a latex paint brush in the garden is forbidden in my state, but washing it in a sink is OK because the sewage treatment plant can handle the contaminant. Washing a building with a pressure washer requires the capture and proper disposal of the dirty water. Violating a statute can result in a fine of many thousands of dollars so it behooves contractors to train their employees well.

Training a new employee, however, takes time, and one can only hope that common sense will prevail when correct protocol has not yet been taught; but sometimes hopes are dashed. I once got a call from a local gas station that there was a massive paint spill involving one of my trucks and my new apprentice. I immediately called all my workers to report to the gas station and bring pressure washers and sand bags. The scene at the gas station was mind-boggling: bright blue latex enamel covered a very large part of the driveway. My young apprentice sheepishly explained what had happened. Having spilled a gallon of paint in the back of the truck, he became concerned about the damage to the truck.

He used the hose he found at the station to clean out the truck and intended to wash the paint down the storm drain. Fortunately, the paint dried on the hot asphalt before he could do so. We set to work with sand bags, pressure washers and sump pumps. Though dry, the paint hadn’t cured and, three hours later, the mess was gone and properly disposed of.

It was easy to convict my employee of a lack of common sense. On the other hand, if I had dropped a gallon of milk in the gutter, I wouldn’t have thought twice about letting it enter the storm drain. It appears that common sense is a result of education.



pexels-photo-why dizzolve importantDizzolve is the difference between safe and unsafe, between healthy and unhealthy, between earth-friendly and environmentally hazardous, and it is effective – it works.

Frankly, most painters want something that works and are less concerned about health and the earth. I’ll discuss Dizzolve’s effectiveness in a future blog for the benefit of my fellow tradesmen. What follows is addressed to you.

How do you know if a product is safe or complies with your concerns for the environment?Of course, by law, health warnings must appear on the label but they are brief and say nothing about the environment. Solution: all retailers are required to produce upon request a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), the in-store document with 15 categories of health and safety information, including hazards, chemicals, flammability, toxicology, ecological information, etc. – very telling. For example, let’s compare Dizzolve to paint thinner using SDSs. I have shamelessly abbreviated some of the entries for rhetorical clarity. Oh, and by the way, I know that effectiveness means a lot to you too; for info on that, just check out my amazing videos on You can also find the Dizzolve SDS there. Here we go.


Mineral Spirits (Paint Thinners)

Hazard Class: Not a hazardous substance or mix Hazardous
Inhalation: Negligible unless heated Organ damage. Brain & nerve  damage
Ingestion: No hazards anticipated Call Poison Center immediately; may be fatal
Skin contact: Not likely to produce skin irritation May cause cancer, dermatitis
Flammability: Not flammable Flammable liquid and vapor. Explosion hazard.
Environment: Safe on rainbow trout & albino rats Not tested on rats or fish
It biodegrades quickly. Passes strictest VOC regulations (greenhouse gases). Certified SCAQMD (LA regulations, not SDS). Acute toxicity to aquatic plants. Does not meet California VOC regulations.

Who would a thunk it. Good ‘ol paint thinner!!

Did you want to be a painter when you grew up?

boy with axe

Few painters I have known aspired to be painters when they grew up. Many turn to painting because they didn’t do well in school, others because their career plans just didn’t work out. I wanted to be a teacher but when I finished my B.A in English Literature and credential program, I discovered that controlling a class of children, let alone educating them, was a skill set I did not possess; so, I got a job for one year selling draperies door to door. When that didn’t work out I was on the street again with a family to support. Yard work was a temporary fix and paid the bills. I was pruning roses one day when my client asked, “Can you paint too?” “Sure,” I said, never having touched a paint brush. Forty years later I was still painting. Be careful of the lies you tell. Actually, I thrived as a painter. Largely self-taught, I became an acknowledged color consultant, and won first place in the nation twice in decorating contests sponsored by the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) called “Picture it Painted Professionally.” I was president of my local chapter of the PDCA and I also taught apprenticeship classes for six years. It was a three year course I wrote myself. As such, I certified journeyman painters in a three county area. I actually made it back into the public school system; after receiving an M.A. in humanities, I taught in the communications department at the  College of Marin for a short time. But it was my years as a painter and contractor that I liked the most. The ability to stand back at the end of the day and see your accomplishment is something not offered in a lot of professions; and helping people decorate their home, usually their most important asset and source of pride, is a very special experience.


         I was demonstrating Dizzolve Brush Cleaner at a Mallory store on 4th Avenue in Seattle when a painter approached my table with a slightly sheepish smile.  “I can’t get this paint off my hands; I’ve been trying for three days with lacquer thinner even.”  It turns out the paint was Benjamin Moore’s Aura, known for its revolutionary chemistry. I offered Dizzolve, known for being safe on the skin because it has no caustic chemicals or solvents. As he began working Dizzolve into the paint on his hands, the paint store staff gathered around to watch. A moment passed. Slowly a smile spread across the face of the painter. “It’s taking it off,” He said, showing his hands to the crowd.” Wow, I’m going to buy this stuff.” He left a few minutes later with a gallon of Dizzolve.

Paints have improved in adhesion and durability over the last decade which makes for better paint performance but at the same time makes clean up more difficult. Painters sometimes throw a brush away after one use because it is too had to clean and solvents are messy and had to dispose of. Dizzolve can reverse this trend with its safe but powerful, plant-based technology.


Take some dirty paint brushes, a bucket of Dizzolve Brush Cleaner and a painter with forty years of experience as a commercial painter and you have Don the “demo-man.“

Because Dizzolve is a “see it to believe it,” miracle, I knew early on that there was only one way to sell it – demonstrate it. Tens of thousands of miles of travel later I am still placing a six-foot table in paint stores to clean brushes, demonstrating the safety and power of Dizzolve. All this to rediscover what I already knew; painters are a skeptical lot and with good reason. So many new products called “environmentally friendly” simply don’t work as well as the old “stinky” ones. Who can blame them? Time is money and redoing failed paint jobs can drive you out of business. Stick with products you know. Yet there is a rare breed of painters with an eye for innovation who are fed up with damaging solvents. For them, as for me, Dizzolve is a no-brainer: a plant based, healthy alternative to toxic solvents that works faster, better and cheaper than traditional thinners. Thanks to this group of forward-looking painters I have remained undaunted and have placed Dizzolve on shelves in over thirty states.  I am a guy with a table and a message: abandon solvents for the power of plants. Dizzolve works.

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