Cheap and Easy Way to Test for Lead Paint

We’ve heard all about the hazards of lead paint and have covered how to remove it. Sometimes I find myself thinking twice about certain pieces of furniture that I find at thrift shops and have turned down a good find or two since I don’t have the space to strip and repaint a vintage find in case the object in question does have lead on it.
One of my fave DIY couples, the Petersiks, came across this problem on a recent thrifting excursion. They reminded me of the brilliant lead paint testers, available at Home Depot, Lowe’s and most hardware stores, that cost less than $10.
Here’s how they work.
Snap the lead stick two times and shake it a bit (we heard some goo get released, almost like snapping a glow stick) and then rub it for about 30 seconds on an area of the furniture in question.
Rub side to side on a few different chipped areas of the painted piece and a the testing sticks will release a goo that you rub in. Check different spots of the furniture just in case.

According to directions, varying amounts of lead could be detected by this method, so a soft pink hue on the chair or the tip of the lead stick would indicate trace amounts of lead while a brighter pink tip of the stick or mark on the chair would warn us of higher concentrations of lead.
Next time I’m thrifting, I might take a few of these with me, just so I don’t leave with non-buyer’s remorse!
photo: YoungHouseLove

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