Which should you use to clean your woodworking tools: mineral spirits vs paint thinner? Both are effective at removing dirt and residues from your tools, but they have different properties that make them better suited for certain tasks. In this post, we’ll discuss the 9 differences between mineral spirits vs paint thinner, and help you decide which is the best option for cleaning your tools.
Also, you can check out mineral spirits vs other solvents for more options, for example, vs denatured alcohol.
What is Mineral Spirits?
To find out the winner in the battle mineral spirits vs paint thinner, we need to clarify what those are. Mineral spirits is composed of 100 percent petroleum distillates and contains no additives. It’s a notable product due to being clean and clear, as well as for its ability to thin oil-based paint. In addition, mineral spirits can be used for reducing or cleaning stains and varnishes. Finally, it serves another purpose in relation to oil – namely that it can cleanup spills or remove existing stains.
If you’re using pure mineral spirits to thin your paint, add 4 ounces of mineral spirits per gallon of oil-based paint. Do not mix water-based paints with any type of solvent–they should only be thinned and cleaned up with water. The majority of acrylic-latex paints now being sold are water-based.
- Works great with oil-based products
- Reasonable pricing
- Low odor and clarity
- Should not be used with asphalt products.
What is Paint Thinner?
Paint thinners help to make oil-based paint smoother and also clean brushes and other painting tools. Turpentine is a product made from the resin of certain trees, while acetone comes from an organic chemical process. Naphtha is created as a hydrocarbon mixture.
- Non-mineral spirits paint thinners, like turpentine, are cheaper than mineral spirits and have stronger solvency.
- Turpentine can remove dried paint where mineral spirits only removes wet paint.
- Not only do paint thinners have noxious fumes, but they’re also highly combustible.
- Once you’re done using them, you still need to dispose of them properly.
Difference of Mineral Spirits Vs Paint Thinner
Mineral spirits and paint thinner are essentially the same product, but mineral spirits have certain characteristics that set it apart from other products like turpentine or acetone. Unfortunately, “paint thinner” is used on labels that are referring to less refined forms of mineral spirits.
It seems like the battle between mineral spirits vs paint thinner will last long. Let’s explore them!
1. Chemical Composition
The main difference between mineral spirits vs paint thinners is that Paint Thinner includes other solvents, like xylene or acetone. Mineral Spirits are only composed of petroleum distillates without any additives.
Mineral spirits are more concentrated and potent than paint thinners because they’re refined. In other words, you would need less mineral spirit than paint thinner to achieve the same goal.
Mineral spirits take longer to evaporate than paint thinner, and they are not as flammable (this does not mean that mineral spirits cannot catch fire easily, so use with caution and keep away from any heat source or open flame).
On the other hand, paint thinners are more likely to ignite. But it’s important to note that all paint thinners are not created equal when it comes to flammability. For example, acetone is the mostflammable of the three options: paint thinner vs mineral spirits vs acetone.
4. Evaporation Rate
With a boiling point 401 degrees Fahrenheit, mineral spirits outlasts paint thinners which only reach 350 degrees.
Additionally, mineral spirits evaporate much more slowly, making them the ideal choice when you need long-lasting results. The battle of mineral spirits vs paint thinner in this feature temporarily has a winner: Mineral spirits.
5. Smoothness Differences
The main difference between mineral spirits and regular paint thinners is the former’s slower evaporation rate, which gives a smoother, more even finish. Although, certain types of modern paint thinners can produce comparable results to mineral spirits.
Mineral spirits is a less toxic option compared to pure acetone and other paint thinner options!
Mineral spirits go through a heavy refinement process, which is why they contain lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene and toluene than regular paint thinners.
Paint thinner fumes are toxic and can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, and even serious health problems like liver damage, kidney damage, or cancer.
Mineral spirits’ fumes are less toxic but can still cause nausea, headaches, and skin irritation. Therefore use both with caution in a well-ventilated area while wearing appropriate protective gear like eye goggles or a mask.
7. Environmental Effect
The environmental impacts of mineral spirits and paint thinners are significantly different.
Paint thinners often contain VOCs, which not only harm humans but also the environment. They present a fire hazard and may contaminate groundwater, so it is essential that they are disposed of properly.
Although mineral spirits are not as toxic as regular paint thinners, this does not mean they are environmentally friendly. They are still flammable and can contaminate groundwater if disposed of incorrectly.
Prices for mineral spirits tend to be significantly higher than other paint thinners, but many consumers believe that the quality is worth the extra cost. Mineral spirits vs Paint thinner in this feature is undistinguishable.
Paint thinners contain a more potent odor than mineral spirits due to the high VOCs content. Though mineral spirits have lower amounts of VOCs and, as a result, less pungent smell, some people find their kerosene-like odor overwhelming; these individuals often resort to using odorless mineral spirits.
So, Mineral Spirits Vs Paint Thinner, Which is Better?
Although both minerals spirits and paint thinner are comparable in their ability to clean brushes, paint thinner is the cheaper option of the two. The only other significant difference between these solvents is price.
- Paint thinner and mineral spirits are both petroleum products which can be used to thin oil-based paints and varnishes, as well as clean paintbrushes.
- However, paint thinner is less refined than mineral spirits and contains other types of solvents which make it a lot smellier and more volatile.
- Mineral spirits is not as stinky because it’s more refined; thus, making it slightly more effective in smaller quantities than paint lacquer thinner.
Make sure you are in a well-ventilated space and following all safety precautions before using any solvent.
We hope you enjoyed reading and learned a lot from this article about mineral spirits vs paint thinner. These tips and hacks are essential for anyone who wants to get started in woodworking or improve their skills. Thank you for choosing us as your source for information and we look forward to helping you in the future. Be sure to visit our website, WoodworkingSkills.com, for more articles like this one. We’re always happy to be of assistance!