A battle of Denatured alcohol VS Mineral spirits. If you are into woodworking, you have probably had to think about denatured alcohol vs mineral spirits at some point. Even though they are both great, they have unique strengths and limitations. A major point for choosing between denatured alcohol and mineral spirits is considering its effect on the stained surface.
So what’s the difference between denatured alcohol vs mineral spirits?
- Denatured alcohol is ethanol that has other chemicals added to it to make it poisonous.
- Mineral spirits are petroleum products.
They’re both solvents, but mineral spirits don’t mix with water. Other names for denatured alcohol include wood alcohol and methylated spirit; while paint thinner and mineral turpentine are common names for mineral spirits.
The terms denatured alcohol and mineral spirits are often interchanged. Different countries use different names for the same product. Most people use the term ‘spirit’ to describe any distilled solvent.
What Does Denatured Alcohol Mean?
Denatured alcohol, the first rival of denatured alcohol vs mineral spirits battle, is ethanol (ethyl alcohol) with additives to make it poisonous. Ethanol is the same active ingredient found in alcoholic beverages, like beer and wine. The term ‘denatured’ means that it has been chemically treated so that it can no longer be consumed as a beverage. This means denatured alcohol is not drinkable but still safe to use in industrial applications.
Denatured alcohol is any type of ethanol that has been rendered undrinkable. This process makes it poisonous and dangerous to consume. There are many ways to denature alcohol, but most commonly it involves adding methanol – a substance that can be toxic if it comes into contact with skin.
Even though the main additive is methanol, denatured alcohol may also have isopropyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, or other substances. While ethanol comes from vegetables, fruits, and grains, methanol comes from wood stock. If you consume denatured alcohol, you will experience the side effects of other chemicals in the mixture.
The effects depend on the denaturing agents and chemicals. Some of the most common effects include; an increased risk of cancer and organ damage. Methanol may lead to death or permanent blindness. You should not attempt to consume it.
What Can You Use in Place of Denatured Alcohol?
If denatured alcohol is difficult for you to find, there are many other useful substitutes. Some viable options are methanol, acetone, grain alcohol, and absolute isopropyl alcohol.
Your choice should depend on how you want to use it. Absolute isopropyl alcohol may only be available with a permit. 99% isopropyl alcohol is a good substitute but its drying time is longer than denatured alcohol.
You can use either water-based or alcohol-based cleaners towards the end stage. Alright, that’s all about denatured alcohol, let’s continue the battle denatured alcohol VS mineral spirits with the decoding of mineral spirits.
What is Mineral Spirits?
To continue our battle of denatured alcohol VS mineral spirits, let’s look at the definition of Mineral spirits. Mineral spirits petroleum distillate that has gone through a purification process, leading to it being very light and colorless. It doesn’t mix with water, so it is frequently used for washing off dirt and grease from metal parts.
There are many benefits to using mineral spirits, including removing dirt and grime from metal surfaces and preserving the quality of metals. Additionally, mineral spirits can be used to clean paint brushes and wooden furniture. When applied as a polish, mineral spirits can effectively clean varnished, shellacked or lacquered wood furniture.
- There are many uses for mineral spirits.
- For example, it can be used to clear scratches and skid marks from tiles. It is also great for erasing mistakes when painting.
- When combined with cutting oil, mineral spirits makes a good lubricant for cutting threads.
- Mineral spirits is also a good substitute for turpentine. It does not have such a strong odor as turpentine and is not as flammable, making it safer to use than turpentine.
- Painters can use it to dilute paint without causing nausea or breathing problems.
- In addition, mineral spirits is lot cheaper than turpentine as a paint thinner .
What Can Be Used Instead of Mineral Spirits?
If you cannot find mineral spirits near you, do not worry–there are still plenty of options available. Some excellent substitutes for mineral spirits include denatured alcohol, turpentine, acetone, and charcoal lighter fluid.
Mineral Spirits vs Denatured Alcohol to Clean Wood
Both mineral spirits and denatured wood are appropriate for cleaning wood. You may use either one of them to clean wood before treating it with stain, paint, or shellac. This battle denatured alcohol VS mineral spirits seems harder!
Cleaning Wood with Mineral Spirits
- To clean wood, we can use a number of mineral spirits, start by pouring a small amount of mineral spirits onto a lint-free rag.
- Use the rag to wipe the wood in slow and even strokes, taking care not to scrub. If you pick up debris with your rag, switch to a clean part of the rag.
- You may need to use several rags before you’re finished.
- Once you’ve removed all the sawdust, use another clean to remove any remaining mineral spirits from the wood surface. From the wooden can use drying time between coats of polyurethane to polish the wood if you like; just make sure you sand off all residue before moving on to the next coat.
You don’t need a lot of mineral spirits to clean up the debris. Mineral spirits take 15 to 20 minutes to dry. The time depends on the temperature. Consider your project’s needs before proceeding to the next step. Your wood should appear dry once the mineral spirits dissolve.
Cleaning Wood with Denatured Alcohol
- Wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands. Use denatured alcohol in a well-ventilated space.
- Use turpentine to clean your wood. It will get rid of sealing wax and dirt.
- Apply denatured alcohol to a paintbrush and use it to brush your wood. The shine should dissolve immediately.
- If, however, it starts to cloud and soften, you need to mix your denatured alcohol with an equal part of lacquer thinner.
- Paint a thick layer of alcohol thinner onto the wood. Use steel wool to scrub off the stripping compound.
- Wipe off the stripping compound and shiny finish off the wood before it dries.
- A gentle rub with denatured alcohol is enough to remove paint or fingernail polish from wood.
‘Is denatured alcohol the same as mineral spirits?’ the answer is no. Even though you may use them for similar functions, they are different.
When thinking about denatured alcohol vs mineral spirits to clean wood, you must understand their differences.
Which One is The Best for You: Denatured Alcohol vs Mineral Spirits?
Here we go, the final ultimate answer for denatured alcohol VS mineral spirits, who will be the winner?
Depending on your needs, you will want to choose a different solvent. I have found that both denatured alcohol and mineral spirits offer unique benefits. Most painters prefer mineral spirits because it is versatile and affordable. Another bonus is that it does not emit an offensive odor like turpentine can.
- Denatured alcohol is a great choice for cleaning wooden surfaces and paintbrushes. It’s very efficient as a cleaner and can be easily found at most hardware stores.
- However, denatured alcohol is also a toxic chemical, so it’s important to take some precautions when using it.
- Make sure you’re buying from a reputable supplier who has the right environmental accreditations and always use denatured alcohol in well-ventilated areas to avoid health complications like dizziness or nausea.
To find a good cleaning agent, you must depend on trial and error. A draw for the battle of denatured alcohol VS mineral spirits. Let’s check out a short video before ending:
Can I replace denatured alcohol with mineral spirits?
Denatured alcohol, otherwise known as methylated spirits, and mineral spirits are two of the most commonly used solvents in woodworking. Both substances serve different purposes for commercial and DIY projects; however, they cannot be swapped out for one another.
Paint thinner vs Denatured alcohol: Are they the same?
Denatured alcohol is a noxious and poisonous type of alcohol.
Can I use acetone in place of denatured alcohol?
Denatured alcohol is our recommended surface cleaner because it is less hazardous than acetone.
Is it safe to pour denatured alcohol down the drain?
You can’t pour ETHANOL down the drain at any concentration–you must collect and dispose of it as hazardous waste.
Can mineral spirits take off paint effectively?
If you have water-based latex paint on your brush, you can clean it up with some soapy water. For oil-based paints, however, you’ll need to use mineral spirits or another type of paint thinner since these types of paint are not soluble in water.
Regarding the debate between denatured alcohol vs mineral spirits, this is it. I really hope that you find this article to be helpful, and I strongly advise you to exercise extreme caution whenever you use any of those chemicals to clean your wood or anything else in the house. We appreciate your time and look forward to seeing you at our other Woodworking Skills articles.