Paint thinners and mineral spirits are essential when you want to brush or into a spray gun an oil-based paint. Another important thing is that they help remove the paint from a roller or a brush after ending the painting. Mineral spirits and paint thinners both are great when you need to clean oil-based paint.

Yet, there are obviously some differences, such as cost and odor. A paint thinner is a term that describes the function of the product, while a mineral spirit is a term that defines the composition of the product. The origin of both products is from minerals. One of the differences that distinguish them from other products is that their source is from living pine trees. In this case, we talk about different products such as turpentine.

What is mineral spirit?

A mineral spirit is a solution when a cleaning agent needs a cleaning agent, and it is used for paints. It is defined as petroleum distillate that is a splendid depressant product and assists as a solvent in various products: aerosols, varnish, spray paints, and wood preservatives. Many mineral spirits produced are consumed in the painting industry for brush cleaning and paint thinning.

Petroleum is the mineral spirit’s basics and a proof cheaper than turpentine. Generally, it is a safe product, not toxic and flammable. Many mineral spirits include kerosene as odor, yet mineral spirits that are refined have been produced to allow people to use them in oil painting and screen printing.

Paint Thinner

Paint thinners are solvents when mixing them to make thin oil-based paints. A paint thinner is also a solvent used with the purpose to clean paint brushes and other things. Its consistency is very thick, and those professionals who will use the paint, need to do a paint thinning. You can achieve this by putting a paint thinner small amount to get the consistency of the paint you desire.

As paint thinners are strong chemicals that can even dissolve paints, they are dangerous chemicals, and one should keep exposure to them on a minimal basis. Another thing to remember is that they are solvents for thinning and cleaning paints and should not be used to polish furniture as they can damage the furniture.

Differences between mineral spirit vs paint thinner:

A paint thinner with odor includes various solvents that provide a more toxic smell, while mineral spirit has a very low odor compared to paint thinner. Plus, as we already mentioned, a paint thinner produces quite poisonous vapors and the most important -very dangerous.

We recommend you use solvents in a ventilated room even though mineral spirits are smelling less. If you start developing a headache or you feel strange, you should straight away leave the room.


A mineral spirit is expensive, and a paint thinner is cheaper. Why? Because a paint thinner is less effective regarding pats washing capabilities and solvent properties. The mineral spirits-producing process is quite demanding than the process of a paint thinner. In most cases, the price is crucial, so it is essential to know these things.


When speaking of mineral spirits vs paint thinner, we can say that the first ones are more purified than a paint thinner. Typically, they are the preferable auto manufacturing solvents, coatings and paints, refinery, and many other industries.

Common uses

Minerals spirits vs paint thinner. Still, a difficult choice, isn’t it? First of all, mineral spirits have an incredible application number and are pretty versatile. And the most familiar mineral spirits’ use is a paint thinner based on oil. It paints and thins vanishes in successfully and the most important thing- it is very usual to put in a sprayer for thinning paint.

Many people find its odor threatening. Yet, different mineral spirits are odorless, and you can use those types to avoid the noxious smell. Thinner mineral spirits are usually found in wood preservatives, paints, varnishes, asphalt products, and aerosols.

Effectiveness Factor

As we already mentioned, mineral spirits are effective solvents when cleaning is needed. The process of refinement and purification explains its effectiveness. Many professional artists and painters tend to use mineral spirits because of their efficacy.

Compared with a paint thinner, a mineral spirit does a great job speaking of thinning paints based on oil. These are crucial differences between these two, and for now, the paint thinner’s advantage over mineral spirits is a lower cost.


Alcohol is a completely different solvent compared to petroleum distillates. The alcohol is used as shellac thinner and solvent. It is solvent because it breaks down the flakes of solid shellac and the dried finish. Plus, it is named as thinner because it thins the shellac liquid when flakes are broken down.

On the other hand, mineral spirits cannot break down shellac; they can just thin it. There are two alcohol types that you can find in paint stores: denatured alcohol (shellac thinner) and methyl alcohol(methanol).

Methyl alcohol vaporizes faster than shellac thinner, but the first one is quite toxic and could blind you, even kill you if you breathe a high-level concentration of vapor in an extensive period.

Solvent Recycling

Solvents require recycling and distillation when they become dirty or contaminated. Recycling Solvent Systems use mineral spirits and a paint thinner that permit many companies to reclaim and recycle their slash disposal and used solvent. When speaking of proper solvent recycling, it is crucial to the environment, and it is essential for business while avoiding the new solvent production and reducing management costs.


The versatility of mineral spirits is the main benefit. Many business owners and homeowners consider it quite effective in different situations. It is pretty safe compared to other similar solvents. It’s flammable, but its low pressure of vapor makes it less fire dangerous. Mineral spirits do not have a more pungent odor than acetone, especially mineral spirits that are less toxic. Plus, mineral spirits are pretty affordable.


Did you know that mineral spirits are available to recycle? So, Instead of throwing them after one use, you can recycle them with little effort. Just let mineral spirits already used stand overnight in a container so that you will allow any paint solids and sludge to settle to the bottom. After that, put the mineral spirits into a clean container. The remaining sludge should be safely disposed of as regular mineral spirits.

Dispose of mineral spirits and avoiding to pour the drain down because it can contaminate the groundwater. You should contact the local department of solid waste for facility information that normally collects mineral spirits.

Also, it is crucial to follow regular guidance for disposing and storing rags that are soaked in mineral spirits. It is possible for spontaneous combustion as other oily rags, so we recommend you to keep them in a metal lid container throwing away the container at the local department of the solid waste center.

Ending thoughts on what is the difference between mineral spirits and paint thinner

With this article, we want to provide all spirits vs paint thinner differences that you should be aware of. Every person who wants to use a paint thinner or mineral spirits should understand the limitation and the benefits of taking necessary precautions. Both mineral spirits or paint thinners are generally quite effective solvents that people should use wisely and carefully.

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