TSP - yes or no ???

Discussion in 'Home Repair' started by Ether Jones, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. Ether Jones

    Ether Jones Guest

    Why do some paint manufacturers recommend washing wood with TSP, and
    others explicitly say DO NOT use TSP?
    Ether Jones, Jul 7, 2006
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  2. Ether Jones

    m Ransley Guest

    who says dont use tsp
    m Ransley, Jul 7, 2006
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  3. Just a guess,

    Many people don't want to use TSP, and don't use it correctly. So
    were ever you don't have to, I guess paint manufactures are willing to
    brag you shouldn't.

    Just a guess, and TSP prep-hater. ;)

    tom @ www.FreelancingProjects.com
    Tom The Great, Jul 7, 2006
  4. Ether Jones

    Phisherman Guest

    Some states (in the US) prohibit the sale of TSP due to environmental
    concerns. TSP is a very strong detergent and it is particularly
    effective in washing walls and outdoor things (furniture, siding,
    decks, etc.). in general wood should not be "washed" with a
    water-based detergent. It makes the fibers swell, and then when it
    dries you have a rough surface that needs sanding.
    Phisherman, Jul 7, 2006
  5. Trying to be environmentally correct is one
    reason. Also TSP is supposed to be more difficult
    to wash off than the silicate washing products and
    if you don't wash thoroughly, the paint adherence
    is adversely affected. Not my experience, but
    maybe I use a lot less TSP than some people.
    George E. Cawthon, Jul 7, 2006
  6. UMM, don't you think the OP is talking about
    washing painted surfaces? Name a state that
    prohibits sale of TSP. Some may regulate the
    sale, but I doubt that any prohibit the sale.
    George E. Cawthon, Jul 7, 2006
  7. Ether Jones

    Ether Jones Guest

    Shouldn't unpainted wood be washed before painting? How else are you
    going to remove the dust and dirt?

    Every paint can label I've read says you should wash the wood to remove
    dirt and dust.

    Some say even clean new wood must be washed to remove mill glaze.

    But what to use? I've heard TSP will interfere with paint adhesion if
    not thoroughly rinsed off. But if the wood absorbs the TSP solution,
    how can you thoroughly rinse it off?

    In such a case, would it be best to thoroughly soak the wood first with
    clear water, and only then apply the TSP (or other detergent solution)?

    Are there any chemical rinses which could be used AFTER washing to help
    rinse away or neutralize any remaining detergent, so it doesn't
    interfere with paint adhesion? What about oxalic acid for example?
    Ether Jones, Jul 8, 2006
  8. Ether Jones

    Ether Jones Guest

    I've seen at least one paint can label that explicity said NOT to use
    TSP. I'm quite sure of this, because it caught my attention. I didn't
    get the impression it was an environmental issue, but rather a product
    performance issue.

    But I've looked at so many paint can labels lately I don't remember the
    brand or product name. If I come across it again I'll make a note next
    Ether Jones, Jul 8, 2006
  9. Ether Jones

    Ether Jones Guest

    Why are you a TSP prep-hater? What are the issues that concern you?
    Any tips on how to do it correctly?
    Ether Jones, Jul 8, 2006
  10. Ether Jones

    zxcvbob Guest

    BTW, you should look for "trisodium phosphate", not "TSP". Some
    unscrupulous company is selling... I think it's sodium carbonate; under
    then brand name "TSP".

    Read the label. The fine print will tell you what's in there.

    HTH, :)
    zxcvbob, Jul 8, 2006
  11. Ether Jones

    Ether Jones Guest

    Why do all the paint can labels tell you to wash the wood, and many
    explicitly tell you to use TSP (which is obviously water-based) ?

    If you don't wash the wood, how are you supposed to remove the dust and
    dirt and grease and wax (old wood) or mill glaze (clean new wood)?
    Ether Jones, Jul 8, 2006
  12. Ether Jones

    Ether Jones Guest

    I think you're talking about "TSP substitute". I don't think TSP
    substitute is sodium carbonate (washing soda). I think it's sodium
    metasilicate. Big difference.

    It is my understanding that sodium metasilicate is a slightly less
    effective cleaner, BUT it rinses off more easily leaving no residue to
    interfere with paint adhesion. Can anyone confirm/refute this?
    Ether Jones, Jul 8, 2006
  13. You are absolutely correct! Any real paint store
    will have both products and confirm what you said.

    BTW, if you use TSP, you should not put it down
    your drain but poor it on your lawn or garden.
    Dilute it if the concentration bothers you. That
    way your lawn or garden benefits from the
    phosphorous and the stuff stays out of the sewer
    system and streams.
    George E. Cawthon, Jul 8, 2006
  14. Wood should not be washed if a smooth surface is
    wanted or you are not prepared to sand afterwards.
    In most cases a light sanding (no washing) is
    all that is needed.
    George E. Cawthon, Jul 8, 2006
  15. Ether Jones

    m Ransley Guest

    I dought any manufacturer of regular paint says dont use Tsp, and you
    cant of course remember who said it. Tsp will only affect gloss if not
    thoroughly rinsed. Mill glase, now you worry to much. Dust, just dust it
    off. Not all wood should be washed, if you use Tsp just rinse well with
    very clean water. Tsp has been the norm for cleaning wood for 50-60?
    m Ransley, Jul 8, 2006

  16. I long time ago, I learned about TSP's amazing powers. We would steal
    some off out ELT's to clean bilges. We had to add very little
    relative to the amount of water.

    Well, because I know of TSP's powers, I tend to rinse extra hard.
    Causing me to wipe down walls over and over, since the littlest amount
    of TSP could interfere with paint adheasion.

    So, I preferer not to use TSP, and use better paint, or sand down the
    surfaces to give the paint bite, and remove dirt.


    tom @ www.WorkAtHomePlans.com
    Tom The Great, Jul 8, 2006

  17. Many I'm ruled by my parinoia's :)

    I don't like washing wood, with water, but cleaning wood with items
    like vacuuming and tack clothes. Water can cause the grains to lift
    up uneven, and give the wood a 'bumpy' feeling. Also, not liking to
    use TSP, I have a hard time thinking I could remove 100% of TSP used
    on bare wood.

    So I try to sand, vacuum, and tack cloth where needed.


    tom @ www.FindMeShelter.com
    Tom The Great, Jul 8, 2006
  18. Ether Jones

    Ether Jones Guest

    No, I can't, but I've still got some more paint shopping to do, and
    I'll keep an eye out for it. I'll post the specific brand and product
    name if I come across it again.

    I doubt the correctness of this statement. Everything else I have read
    indicates that TSP affects the paint's adhesion, and can result and
    premature paint failure and blistering.
    Mill glaze apparently is a big issue for stains. Maybe not so much for
    Ether Jones, Jul 8, 2006
  19. I presume you are talking about a house or wood
    construction outside. In cabinetry and furniture
    construction and new interior construction, there
    is no need to wash new wood. Woodworkers don't
    wash wood, or if they do they sand afterwards.
    Water on raw wood has undesirable effect including
    raising the grain and warping. If it is old
    construction is should have been painted or some
    type of finish applied, As a result, washing
    doesn't affect the wood (except in small spots
    where the paint has worn or flaked off, and those
    places should be scraped or sanded).

    If there is grease on old wood, you might want to
    consider replacing the wood, but if you wash it,
    you need to let it dry thoroughly and then sand.
    If you have little spots that need washing, just
    wash those spots.

    To be more definitive, we need to know what you
    are talking about washing. In general, dirt or
    dust is removed by wiping with a damp cloth.
    Washing wood to get rid of mill glaze is just
    plain stupid. The only reason to get rid of the
    glaze is to improve adhesion and you do that by
    lightly sanding with 220-400 grit paper for painting.

    Yes you can neutralize TSP if you want. TSP is a
    base, that is why it is slippery (slippery is
    caused by dissolving the oils and your skin). So
    to neutralize it your guess about using an acid is
    correct. But, just use vinegar not oxalic acid.

    Be careful what you read on the instructions of
    paint cans. The manufacture has reasons for what
    he puts on the can (mostly for adhesion purposes),
    but may not care about some things that are
    important to you. A good book on painting and
    other finishes is far more likely to provide
    useful information. For example, a good
    undercoat can be slapped on just about anything
    including your hands and it will stick. But you
    don't want to put it on globs of mud or something
    that will show through.
    George E. Cawthon, Jul 8, 2006
  20. Ether Jones

    Ether Jones Guest

    It's an 8-year-old exterior wrap-around porch with white cedar decking
    and stairs, previously oil-primed and latex-topcoated.

    There's a 200 square foot section (including stairs) that's in bad
    shape. Large areas (as big as a postcard in some cases, or bigger) are
    blistering (both paint and primer) revealing large patches of weathered
    wood beneath (light grayish-brown).

    I don't mind paying top-dollar for a quality paint if I just knew what
    to buy and how to prepare the surface properly.

    Sanding is out of the question; I don't want the mess, or the dust in
    my lungs.

    I was leaning toward power-washing, but you (and others) have said
    don't wash bare wood, is that correct? (Or is this situation an

    What options does that leave? Scraping? I could do that, but how
    effective would it be? (Should I use a heat gun or just try to get the
    stuff that comes off easily with just mechanical scraping?). And how do
    I get rid of the ground-in dirt, if I don't wash it? In your previous
    post, you mentioned wiping with a damp cloth; does that advice apply
    to the situation I described?

    If I wash it, should I use just clear water, or TSP, or TSP substitute,
    or something else? If I use TSP, should I use an acid rinse to get rid
    of the residue?

    Lots of questions I know, but that's what I'm trying to figure out.

    I don't mind touching it up every spring. What I don't want is large
    areas of blistering that leave the wood unprotected.

    Do you have a favorite book in mind which you have found to be
    well-written and accurate, that you could recommend?
    Ether Jones, Jul 9, 2006
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