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Water-based latex paints have evolved và have become more prevalent in the trang chủ to the point where oil-based products are used less frequently. Yet some professional painters & do-it-yourselfers still prefer oil-based paint for its ability to lớn self-level and remain streak-free. Plus, most stains và varnishes are still oil-based, as well. Water cannot be used as a solvent for any of these products.

Mineral spirits & paint thinner are indispensable solvents for thinning oil-based paint, stains, & varnishes, as well as for cleaning up paint equipment and oily materials. Is there any difference between mineral spirits và paint thinner? If so, which of the two should you purchase?

What Is Mineral Spirits?

Mineral spirits is made of 100-percent petroleum distillates và it has no additives. Mineral spirits is a clean, clear hàng hóa that"s used for thinning oil-based paint. It can also be used for thinning or cleaning stains & varnishes.

What Is Paint Thinner?

Mineral spirits-based paint thinner is often blended with additives such as trimethyl benzene (benzene). Sometimes, paint thinner is mineral spirits with no additives, as well.

Since paint thinner describes the function of the product, not necessarily its makeup, it can essentially be anything that thins paint. So, even citrus-based products or turpentine, which is derived from pine trees, could be called paint thinners.

Mineral Spirits vs. Paint Thinner

Mineral spirits is a term that specifies the product"s composition, while paint thinner is a generalized term that describes the product"s function, not its composition.Both products are derived from minerals. This distinguishes them from products such as turpentine that are derived from living pine trees.Generally, mineral spirits and paint thinner are interchangeable products.Mineral spirits may be priced higher than paint thinners.As a general term, paint thinner can mean anything that thins or cuts paint, including products advertised as safe, green, or eco-friendly that have as little as 15- to lớn 40-percent petroleum distillates. It can even mean products that have no petroleum content, such as turpentine.


Mineral spirits is derived from minerals: in this case, petroleum. All products labeled as mineral spirits should contain 100-percent mineral spirits, unblended và with no additives. Pure mineral spirits is a paint thinner.

Products labeled as paint thinner can refer lớn pure mineral spirits, blended mineral spirits, turpentine, acetone, naphtha, or any number of other products capable of thinning oil-based paint. Most often, though, paint thinner means less refined mineral spirits with 5-percent or less benzene content added for better solvency & aroma.

Also, those blended & unblended mineral spirits differ vastly from solvents commonly advertised as paint strippers or paint removers. These solvents, meant to dissolve hardened paint, contain a host of chemicals such as alcohol, methanol, và xylene, khổng lồ name only a few.

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Both unblended mineral spirits and blended mineral spirits called paint thinners have an odor similar to camping lantern oil or kerosene. Due lớn the added benzene, paint thinner will have more of an odor than will pure mineral spirits. The smell is typically sweet and most users vì not find it objectionable. Due to the difference in odor, pure mineral spirits tends lớn be better for interior use.

Generally, both straight mineral spirits và mineral spirits-related paint thinner are low in odor in comparison lớn the foul, chemical-like smell of other classes of paint thinners.


Pure mineral spirits and related paint thinner have no difference in terms of safety. Each hàng hóa ranks the same in all safety categories of the OSHA-mandated Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for paints & solvents. When inhaled, benzene can cause drowsiness & even can render one unconscious.

Long-term exposure in high quantities may adversely affect your health. For that reason, always make sure that you are working in a well-ventilated area when using mineral spirits with added benzene.

Cost Difference

Mineral spirits usually costs more than blended paint thinners. Generally, pure mineral spirits will cost about 40- lớn 50-percent more than mineral spirits-based paint thinners with additives.

Common Uses for Mineral Spirits và Paint Thinner

Thinning oil- or alkyd-based paints while those paints are still in soluble formRemoving waxy films on wood surfacesSoaking oily car partsDegreasing or cleaning oily equipment or toolsCleaning spray equipmentRemoving sticky adhesivesEliminating heel & scuff marks from flooring

Uses khổng lồ Avoid

Neither sản phẩm will act as a paint stripper or remover for paint that has already cured.Never use mineral spirits or paint thinner for cleaning latex paint from brushes or surfaces.Never attempt khổng lồ use either mineral spirits or paint thinner as a fire starter for charcoal, wood, or any other type of flame.

Should You Buy Mineral Spirits or Paint Thinner?

Both mineral spirits & paint thinners that are blended mineral spirits perform largely the same functions. Both are clean, clear, & non-sticky solvents for thinning và for cleaning oil-based paints, stains, & varnishes.

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Pure mineral spirits is more expensive, so it is recommended that you use them more sparingly. Since paint thinner is less expensive, it is best for large residential use or commercial use. Because pure mineral spirits has a lower odor, it is best for indoor use.