How Long After TSP Can I Paint (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 30-60 minutes

TSP stands for trisodium phosphate, which is an inorganic compound. Its chemical formula is Na3PO4. It is typically available as either a granular solid or a crystalline solid that is white in color. It provides an alkaline solution when it dissolves in water.



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Trisodium phosphate is often sold as an industrial product. It can be used as a builder, degreaser, lubricant, stain remover, cleaner, and as a food additive.

Trisodium phosphate is commonly used by painters when they want to clean and scrub down walls, that are intended to be painted soon. This is a very important step in the process of painting walls, and must not be skipped.

How Long After TSP Can I Paint

How Long After TSP Can I Paint?

Percent of trisodium phosphate in TSP75-80
Percent of sodium carbonate in TSP20-25
How Long After TSP Can I Paint?30-60 mins

TSP or trisodium phosphate is commonly used as a cleaning product. It is packaged and sold in a blended mixture, which contains about 75-80 percent trisodium phosphate and about 20-25 percent of sodium carbonate.

Trisodium phosphate is produced when phosphoric acid is neutralized by sodium carbonate to give disodium hydrogen phosphate. This compound is then made to react with sodium hydroxide to make trisodium phosphate, along with water as a by-product.

Trisodium phosphate is sold as a dry powder that is odorless. In order for it to work, it must be mixed in with hot water, giving a solution that is mildly cloudly.

It is used to clean because it produces an alkaline solution that can saponify oils and grease.

Trisodium phosphate is preferred by many because is inexpensive and has a low manufacturing cost. Because of this, it is easily available in most stores, in states that have not banned TSP. It is chemically superior when it comes to cleaning out dirt, grease, stains, mold, and more, because of its alkaline properties.

It is quite customizable as you can decide to make it a weaker solution or a stronger one, depending on the surface you’re working on. In addition, if you store it in a dry condition, then it will continue to have a long shelf life.

However, some states in the U.S. have banned the usage of TSP. It is also an irritant and can affect the skin and eyes. Because of its chemical composition, it has a tendency to darken aluminum surfaces and can harm mirrors and glass objects. Also, it can clump up if the TSP is not stored in dry conditions.

After using TSP, you can pain after 30-60 mins, once you wash off the TSP.

Why Does It Take That Long To Paint After TSP?

In order to clean using TSP, you must first wear protection such as goggles, waterproof gloves, and long sleeves. In addition, you must place a plastic sheet on the areas that you are planning to not clean. This is to protect those areas.

The proportions are a half cup of TSP for two gallons of water. This is for heavy-duty cleaning. For household cleaning, you can mix a quarter cup of TSP for two gallons of water. You must always mix the TSP with hot water, in order for the TSP to completely dissolve in the water.

Use a sponge and soak it in the mixture. Squeeze the sponge until it becomes slightly damp. Do not clean with a wet sponge as it may cause stray drops of water that remain on the surface. Then move the sponge from the bottom to the top, using broad strokes. This technique removes even the harshest of stains and debris. Do this method continuously and frequently.

If the surface is severely stained, then you may even clean with TSP for a second time. TSP takes 30 to 60 minutes to dry, so once it dries, then you may clean the surface with warm water.

Then, you may paint over the surface, once you’re sure that the TSP has been completely washed off.

You must wait 30-60 mins because the TSP must completely dry before you can wash it off. It must be washed off because TSP has a tendency to dry as a powder on the surface. This is why you can apply paint 30-60 mins after cleaning with TSP.


Therefore, we can understand that one can only start painting the wall once the trisodium phosphate is completely dried up, and washed down. This is because TSP can leave a powdery white residue on the walls once its dries. So it is imperative that you wash it down before you apply your coat of paint.

TSP is very useful, not only as a cleaning agent, but it can also be used as a degreaser, lubricant, deglosser, and more. This is why a lot of painters and builders prefer this cleaning agent.

TSP is very effective as it cleans out even the worst of stains. This includes soot, mold, grease, and more.


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