10 Dangers of DIY

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Think about the last time you DIY’ed something.

It doesn’t matter what it was: paint….stain….sanding…could have been any number of those.

But now, think about how well you protected yourself.

Did you wear a mask? Put on safety glasses? Used hearing protections? Wore gloves?

The truth is that it’s usually the last thing from our minds, isn’t it?

We think we can just “do this little step real quick” without using our safety glasses, or “just stain this project really quick” without using gloves.

All the while, we’re not thinking about the real dangers of DIY.

This post isn’t meant to scare you, but to make you realize that there are definitely dangers of DIY. Most times you’ll see lots of pretty awesome DIY projects, but emphasis isn’t put on how you should protect yourself if you’re trying these projects. It’s important, my friends!

So before you work on your next project, think about the dangers of what you’re doing and make sure that you’re properly protecting yourself!

 10 Dangers of DIY: What You Should Know Before Starting Your Next DIY Project

10 Dangers of DIY - What you should know before starting your next DIY project Thrift Diving

Danger #1: Not Using a Window Fan for Ventilation

Remember my awesome laundry room makeover that I did a couple of years ago during one of my 30-day room challenges?

BEFORE

laundry-room-makeover-ideas

 

AFTER

Pretty Laundry Room Makeover - Lavender - Thrift Diving Blog

 

Well, what you may not remember is how badly the walls were damaged.

They’d been covered by wallpaper when we moved in back in 2010. When I had peeled away all of the thick, vinyl wallpaper shortly after moving in, the walls were left like this for several years.

But at the start of our 30-day room makeover challenge (The June Room Challenge!), it was time to make over these bad boys once and for all!

 

laundry room makeover Thrift Diving

 

I sanded these walls down, patched them up with joint compound, and then sanded them again before painting.

But what I did wrong (as you can see in this horribly dark and hazy cell phone picture) is that I didn’t properly ventilate the room. Now, that may look like a horribly dark and blurry cell phone picture (and it is) but look closely: the reason why it was so hazy looking is because there was dust EVERYWHERE.

Opening a window isn’t enough, especially during big sanding projects, but I didn’t know this at the time. Stupid me, huh?

 

the-dangers-of-DIY-Sanding

 

There was dust everywhere, which is why the pictures are hazy. I even snapped a picture of my “white” dusty hair as proof.

What I should have done was added a box fan to the window to suck out the dust, improving ventilation in the room, instead of letting it settle and drift to other parts of the house.

 

The-dangers-of-DIY-wearing-a-mask

 

Next time you’ve got a big sanding job indoors (like sanding the walls or something), make sure that you’ve got proper ventilation. I highly recommend reading this article, too: Keeping the Dust Down, which has some other tips, such as making sure you’re not running your HVAC system during jobs that create heavy dust (like sanding your wood floors, for example!).

I’m also thinking about buying one of these box fans with a washable filter so when I’m sanding a project in the garage I can place it nearby and trap some of the dust. But this video online that I found shows how you can easily trap sanding dust by taping an HVAC filter to a box fan and create a cheaper DIY version. I like this one, though, because it’s washable.

box fan with filter

NOTE: Adding a box fan to a window is also good if you have to work with stinky chemicals inside, too!

 

Danger #2: Not Wearing Safety Glasses

Just because you’ve got glasses with lenses as thick as Coke bottles doesn’t mean you’re exempt from wearing safety glasses! 😉

Just let something fly off and smash into your glasses. I bet you they’d shatter, and then you’d end up with eye injuries.

Best to avoid that altogether, my friend.

Make sure you’ve got shatter-proof safety glasses that are made for workshops and DIY.

 

the-dangers-of-DIY

 

3M sells some pretty standard safety glasses for under $3.00 on Amazon. But if you already wear glasses, you might want to invest in safety glasses that go over regular prescription glasses.

Then, you’d had no excuse not to wear them, right? 🙂

I’d recommend getting about two pairs. I guarantee you’ll be like me and keep asking where you put your glasses. HA!

safety glasses that go over regular prescription glasses

Danger #3: Not Wearing Hearing Protection

Have you heeeeeeard how loud power tools are when you’re not wearing hearing protection? (excuse the pun, LOL).

Seriously, it’s the worse!

Even if you’re making “a quick cut,” don’t skimp on hearing protection.

Even when you’re working on your outdoors: string trimmers, chainsaws, lawn mowers–all those things, over time, can affect your hearing.

I usually wear the little foam ear plugs, but I’d like to get some over-the-head earphones. Usually, you can get them with AM/FM radios in them, or–gasp!–with Bluetooth so you can listen to your own music!

Hearing protection

 

Danger #4: Not Getting Your Hair Out of the Way

Never, never, never, never, never get your long hair near power tools of any kind.

If you haven’t seen this recent viral video, some young girl in China tried eating corn on the cob off of a power drill, which I had no idea was some stupid trend on YouTube.

(WHY, people, why….??!!!)

And well….she learned the hard way about getting long hair close to power tools.

WARNING: This is going to hurt.

 

 

As much as I feel sorry for her, it’s a great lesson on why you should never DIY with long, loose hair!

Always, always, always keep long hair (or long jewelry) away from power tools. Pull your hair up into a cute little ponytail, and remove anything that’s dangly.

(FYI….I hope her hair grows back quickly and that she learned her lesson!).

 

Danger #5: Playing With Your Phone

Yep, you’re working on a cool new project and you can’t wait to snap a picture of it and smear it all over social media.

I get it.

I’m the same way!

But you know….when you’ve got a power tool in your hand, now is not the time to be fidgeting with your electronics. Either put down the power tool or put down the phone. You can’t do both.

It might be helpful to even set up a playlist if you’re listening to music so it keeps going without you having to stop and turn on a new song!

You gotta stay focused when you’ve got power tools in your hand, yo!

 

checking cell phone

 

Danger #6: DIY’ing in Your Jammies

Jammies were made for sleeping.

Work clothes were made for working.

Simple as that.

Save the long flowy jammies for a lazy Sunday morning watching movies in bed. If you’re working on projects, have on your “project clothes.” And make sure they’re not baggy and lose. Now isn’t the time to be wearing hubbies 2X sweatshirt from his fat college days.

Wear something that’s snug, has lots of pockets, and isn’t going to get ruined–or worse–caught in a power tool!

 

Serena Appiah

Photo Source: Duluth Trading Company

Danger #7: Not Wearing a Mask

I tend to work out of my garage and my driveway.

I’m sure I look almost “alien-ish” when neighbors walk by and see this:

 

A mask like this blocks all the nasty spray paint smells

 

I absolutely love this 3M paint respirator.

I don’t use spray paint often, but when I do, I always wear this mask. The first time I used it, I was spray painting something in my garage and–good googely moogely–I couldn’t smell a thing!

I also use it when sanding (although I suspect I may need filters that are for particles, but it still helps).

So I look strange.

But at least my lungs are protected!

I highly recommend adding this respirator to your DIY toolbox!

Danger #8: Thinking All Gloves Are Created Equal (Or Not Wearing Them!)

Ask any DIYers and they’ll generally tell you they don’t paint with gloves. Ask me and I’ll tell you the same thing. I used to not wear gloves when using stain, either (yikes!).

Paints and stains, like latex paint, have solvents in them so it’s best to wear gloves when painting your walls, using stains, or any other refinishing solvent. If you’re allergic to latex, get the nitrile gloves.

But here’s what you must know: if you’re stripping furniture, you have to wear chemical-resistant gloves. Regular latex or nitrile gloves won’t work and the chemicals will eat right through them. Make sure you’re protecting your hands with chemical gloves like this:

 

chemical resistant gloves

 

Danger #9: Not Removing the Battery or Unplugging When Walking Away

Imagine you’ve got 3 little kids (like me). You put down a tool, forgetting to remove the battery. And one of those kids comes behind you and picks it up.

It’s my worse nightmare, to be honest with you.

When I’m working on a project, I always try to remember to remove my batteries (or unplug), but I can’t say that my brain has remembered 100% of the time. Hubby has come after me several times for leaving a tool sitting in the living room after a late-night project (like installing my own DIY crown molding). If he hadn’t found it, could one of the kids have walked up on it and started playing with it?

Do your best to remember to not leave your tools around. Even if it’s not power tools and is something like hammers, screwdrivers, or something equally frightening in the hands of a child.

RYOBI jigsaw only $30

Danger #10: Acting Like It’s a Race

Oh, yeaaaaah. I can’t tell you many of times I’ve been rushing to get a project done. Especially if it’s for a sponsored post with a due date, or for another time-sensitive project.

But regardless of whether you’re short on time or not, never rush through projects if you can help it.

Whether you’re rushing to cut a piece of wood… Rushing to stain something… Hurrying to nail something… These are all recipes for disaster. You could cut yourself; knock over a can of stain which could splash into your eyes, your kids’ eyes, or even your pet’s, etc. It’s just not a good idea.

Try to plan your projects so you’ve got plenty of time to get it down without needing to feel like you’re racing the clock.

 

BONUS: How to Find Green Products

When it comes to DIY, you might even want to find products that are more environmentally friendly instead of the old “tried-and-true” products that you know are toxic.

You’ll still have to wear the right gloves…eye protection…etc. etc…..but at least you’ll know it’s better for the environment.

 

Blue Bear Paint Stripper - ThriftDiving.com

 

(TIP: If you’re looking for other “green” products, here’s a great site I found where you can search here for green products and companies that make those kinds of products)

If You’ve Made Any of These Mistakes….

Join the club! 🙂

I’ve made some of these mistakes, too. I think the most important thing is to make better choices now that you know better.

Make a vow to yourself that you’ll be safe and you’ll be juuuuuust fine.

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10 Dangers of DIY - What You Should Know Before Starting Your Next DIY Project

 

So Tell Me…

Have you committed one of these DIY dangers? Leave a comment below and let’s chat about it!

 

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17 Comments

  1. I will have done most of these at some time – I hate having things around my face and head so putting on a mask is torture for me, but a bad reaction to a powder stripper (the real nasty kind that you mix with water and watch as it eats the universe!) got me past that. A week of wheezing versus the discomfort of a dust mask… it became an easy choice.

    I love your graphic for these rules as well – I’m printing that and pinning it to the door of my storage cupboard where all the DIY kit lives 🙂 If i see it enough I might just remember them all.

  2. Leslie May Popps says:

    I have one for you that isn’t on this list. You may remember it, Serena, because I wrote you about it! If you are working outside, WEAR SUNSCREEN or SUNBLOCK! I got a sunburn on the back of my neck, shoulders and arms in October in south Louisiana. I was so focused on my project and worked 4 days straight from 10 am till after dark. I even wore a tank top one day! I am very fair complected so still have the “tan” lines on my shoulders, lol. But seriously, I blistered and it hurt really bad for several days. I had all the other protective gear Serena recommends here and even drank plenty of water, but I forgot the sunblock! BTW, my vanity project still isn’t finished for reasons I won’t get into here, but that sunburn really did put a delay on the next steps.

    1. Oh wow, Leslie!! That is an AWESOME tip! You are so right!! We don’t think about sunscreen when we’re working on projects–just when we’re at the beach or hanging outside for fun. Thanks for reminding people of this!! (And reminding me!!!)

  3. I made the mistake of doing DIY in my house slippers in the garage. Big mistake! Tripped over my shoes and fell on my face. OUCH!

  4. Mad Margaret says:

    Big thanks for the tips. So timely. I was going to get rid of the box fan in the garage but will now use it to fan out unsafe chemicals. Also realized reading this that I used stripper without wearing the glasses. Will not make that mistake again. You are always helpful.

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