How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint

Written by matt goetz
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How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint
Safely remove windows coated with lead paint. (old can old window image by Sherry Wilson from

If you have windows painted with lead paint in your home, you can remove them yourself and avoid exposure to lead. Lead paint removal ensures that you and your children will not experience any health problems associated with lead poisoning. Take special safety precautions when removing windows painted with lead paint; otherwise, you can become poisoned and experience serious health problems. Lead poisoning from old lead-painted windows occurs from ingestion or inhalation of paint chips and hazardous dust.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Poly plastic
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Damp mop
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Protective eye wear
  • HEPA respirator
  • Utility knife
  • Heavy-duty garbage bags
  • HEPA vacuum
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP)

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  1. 1

    Inspect the condition of the lead-painted windows, and hire a lead abatement professional if you can see lead paint severely peeling from the windows; otherwise, proceed to safely remove the windows yourself. Contact a lead abatement professional if you're tearing down the walls for renovation.

    How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint
    Hire a professional to safely remove peeling windows painted with lead paint. (window image by Laur from
  2. 2

    Prepare the work area so it will not become contaminated with paint chips and lead dust. Remove any movable items and furniture from the room. Protect larger items with sheets of poly plastic, and secure it with tape so it stays in place. Protect the entire floor in the work area with sheets of poly plastic. Protect the floors leading out of the work area to avoid contamination from falling debris and dust during disposal.

    How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint
    Protect the work area from exposure to lead paint chips. (rusted paint chips peeling image by Sherri Camp from
  3. 3

    Turn off the air conditioning or heating in your home. Close the air duct registers, and cover the openings of the registers with plastic. Turn off all of the ceiling fans inside your home. Close the doors and windows, and turn off your air conditioning window units. Cover the air conditioning window unit with plastic, and tightly secure the plastic with masking tape.

    How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint
    Shut off the air ventilation system. (climatisation image by Nath Photos from
  4. 4

    Fill a plastic spray bottle with water, then spray the entire surface of your lead-painted window before you begin disassembling it. Spray water onto the sill, sash, window well, jamb and the joints of the window. Using a damp mop, mop the surrounding walls.

    How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint
    Spray water on your window before removing it. (green spray bottle image by Jim Mills from
  5. 5

    Wear protective clothing and durable gloves before touching any windows painted with lead paint. Wear goggles or safety glasses for additional protection against lead particles. Wear a high-efficiency particle absorbing (HEPA) respirator for maximum protection against lead paint dust particles. Use a HEPA vacuum to clean the walls and surrounding area after you have safely removed the windows.

    How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint
    Wear protective gloves before touching windows painted with lead paint. (work gloves image by timur1970 from
  6. 6

    Using a sharp utility knife or small door jamb saw, carefully cut up the joints of the window to begin disassembling it. Remove the window sash by first cutting and removing the window stop and the jamb. Using the spray bottle, spray water on each cut to prevent any dust from entering the air. Avoid breaking or splintering the wood, which can cause the lead paint to chip. After disassembling the window sash, carefully remove the glass.

    How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint
    Cut the window joints with a utility knife. (Utility knife image by Andris Daugovich from
  7. 7

    Dispose of the plastic sheeting and old lead paint window debris by wrapping it in plastic and placing it in a heavy-duty garbage bag. Follow local regulations regarding disposal of lead paint materials. Wear protective gloves and clothing during the disposal of lead paint. Keep family members, children and pets away from the lead paint window debris. After removing the debris, clean the room with a HEPA vacuum and wash the floor with trisodium phosphate (TSP). Carefully dispose of any rags or towels you used to clean the area.

    How to Safely Remove Windows Painted With Lead Paint
    Properly dispose of lead paint window debris. (garbage image by Mat Hayward from

Tips and warnings

  • If you cannot find TSP, use washing powder containing TSP.
  • Wear your HEPA respirator at all times when removing lead paint windows.
  • Do not use a regular household vacuum cleaner to clean old lead paint window debris.
  • Do not leave the air conditioning or heat on while removing windows painted with lead paint.
  • Pregnant women and children should leave the work area and only return after you have completely removed the lead paint.
  • Do not attempt to personally remove severely cracked or peeling windows. Hire a professional lead abatement contractor.
  • Do not burn lead paint window debris.

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