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Painting with oil-based paint requires perfect consistency. Choosing the right colors is important, but it’s equally as important to select the right thinning and correcting substance to achieve the desired consistency.

It’s easy to thin oil-based paint with mineral spirits or paint thinners before pouring into a spray gun. As an added bonus, they make it easier to remove the paint from sprayers and brushes at the end of a painting job. Mineral spirits are easily accessible to DIYers. But what happens if you run out of your favorite solvent?

Mineral spirits are no longer an acceptable painting medium for DIYers because of new environmental standards. Mineral spirits were banned in California due to the laws concerning volatile organic compounds, which aim to improve air quality for residents. Fortunately, there are other mineral spirits substitute that you can find around the house that also work well.

Using the following guide, you will be able to chose the right alternative to Mineral Spirit for your project.

alternative to mineral spirits

What is the alternative to mineral spirits? (Quick Summary)

  • According to our research, there are five mineral spirits substitute
  • Denatured alcohol (Mineral spirits substitute for wood)
  • Acetone
  • Turpentine
  • Oil, soap and water (Natural alternative to mineral spirits)
  • Natural Citrus Solvent (Safe alternative to mineral spirits)
  • Charcoal lighter fluid

The most interesting fact

The non toxic alternatives to mineral spirits are denatured alcohol, charcoal lighter fluid, and acetone. Paint thinning and stain removal can be safely achieved with these compounds.

1. Denatured alcohol Good Substitute for Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits and denatured alcohol both function as solvent cleaners. There are many industries that use this solvent, including lacquers, cleaning preparations, polishes, and others. There is 10% methanol, acetone, ethanol, benzene, isopropyl, gasoline, methyl ethyl ketone, castor oil, and pyridine is present in denatured alcohol, which are pretty toxic. So, avoid breathing it in or getting it on your skin.

You can clean shellac, oil-based paint, and stains from glass with denatured alcohol. However, it cannot be used for thinning paint because it can cause the paint to dry slowly. Therefore, I would only use denatured alcohol as a solvent and not to thin paint. In other words, it is a cleaning product that will meet your needs.

Uses of Denatured alcohol

  • Buildings with high humidity suffer from mold and mildew. Mold and mildew are toxic for your health, but luckily, they’re easy to remove. You can use an equal mix of denatured alcohol and water to spray directly on mold and mildew. After a few minutes, wipe with a rag.
  • You can remove paint and re-use your paintbrush by soaking it overnight in denatured alcohol and then rinsing it in warm water the next day.
  • Denatured alcohol helps to clean and sanitize surfaces. Denatured alcohol should be diluted in warm water. Put on gloves and wipe down areas/surfaces such as door handles, tables, mirrors, sinks, stoves, metal parts, and countertops.

Cons of Denatured alcohol

  • The addition of chemicals makes denatured alcohol unsafe for consumption.
  • Denatured alcohol can cause excessive dryness, skin irritation, and redness.
  • There is a risk of fire because denatured alcohol is highly flammable.

Can i use paint thinner instead of mineral spirits

2. Turpentine: Mineral Spirits Substitute For Wood

Turpentine is a naturally occurring paint thinner. It’s a great alternative to mineral spirits for thinning oil-based paint. As with mineral spirits, denatured alcohol or turpentine can be used to treat wood. Also, turpentine is ideal for removing paint and varnish.

Turpentine is comparable to mineral spirits when it comes to its ability to remove stubborn stains. You can mix salt and turpentine together and form a mixture. After that let it sit over the stain for 15 to 20 minutes to remove the stain.

What is Turpentine used for:

  • Turpentine is commonly used to thin paint before applying it.
  • When you mix Turpentine with paint, it will dry faster.
  • This is a wonderful product that will make furniture polishing a lot easier. It increases the life expectancy of your furniture, and also enhances its appearance as well.
  • It is an alternative to white spirit for cleaning brushes and wood.

Cons of Turpentine

  • Mineral spirits are less toxic than turpentine. So, the use of turpentine requires the use of a respirator.

3. Charcoal Lighter Fluid-Odorless mineral spirits substitute

Is charcoal lighter fluid the same as mineral spirits?

Yes, Mineral spirits are similar to charcoal lighter fluid, so you can use them the same way. Basically, charcoal lighter fluid ignites the charcoal faster in barbecue grills.

Uses of Charcoal lighter fluid

  • It also works to start campfires.
  • It can be used with briquettes.

Cons of Charcoal Lighter Fluid

  • The Charcoal Lighter Fluid cannot be used indoors.

4. Acetone-mineral spirits substitute for cleaning

What do you think, can you use acetone instead of mineral spirits?

Yes, acetone can be used as a substitute for mineral spirits for removing sticky residues and degreasing. Solvents like acetone are commonly used for cleaning metal, plastic and glass. In contrast, mineral spirits are not for plastics.

Acetone is effective at removing paint such as enamels, oil-based paints, and acrylic paint. It works great on fresh and dried paint. Acetone is used extensively within the woodworking industry to cleanly sand and refinish wooden furniture.

Can you use acetone as paint thinner?

Acetone is certainly used for paint thinning. It is used for lacquer thinners, while mineral spirits thin oil paints. There is no need to wear a mask with Acetone since it is not a volatile organic compound (VOC) like other mentioned options.

Using Acetone Instead of Mineral Spirits

  • Use an acetone-soaked cotton swab to remove stains. The acetone also smoothes out scratches on metal, glass, and plastic.
  • Acetone is commonly used in nail care. It helps you to remove the nail paint. For this purpose, dip a cotton pad into the acetone and apply it to the nail surface. Afterwards, gently rub the nail surface to remove nail polish.

Cons of Acetone

  • Ingestion of acetone is dangerous.
  • Acetone dehydrates the nail surface and surrounding skin
Applying Natural alternative to mineral spirits

5. Soap, oil and water- natural alternative to mineral spirits

Soap, oil and water may be the cheapest mineral spirits substitute, but it is the safe alternative to mineral spirits at home. Polishing furniture or removing stains is not possible with this substitute, but it is effective at sanitizing and cleaning houses.

Uses of Soap, Oil & Water

  • Soap, water and oil will clean and preserve your brush bristles without harsh solvents.

6. Natural Citrus Solvent- Safe alternative to mineral spirits

Citrus Solvent is a safer paint thinner. As a natural alternative to mineral spirits, Natural Citrus Solvent can be used anywhere.

Uses of Citrus Solvent

  • It cleans and degreases surfaces.
  • It is suitable for antique furniture.

Conclusion On mineral spirits substitute

If mineral spirits are banned or unavailable in your region, then you do not need to worry about the alternative of mineral spirits. You can use good mineral spirits substitutes including Turpentine, Denatured alcohol and Acetone. There are advantages and disadvantages to all solvents. Therefore, pick the one that fits your project.

FAQS On Substitute Mineral Spirits

What are mineral spirits composition?

Mineral spirits are paint thinners. The process of Petroleum distillates is used to make mineral spirits, which are additive-free. A mineral spirit is used to thin oil-based paints.

Can I use vinegar instead of mineral spirits?

You can use vinegar for cleaning dirt, grease and dust. It can dissolve mineral deposits and polish some metals.

Is rubbing alcohol the same as mineral spirits?

Like denatured alcohol, it can be used to clean and even to strip paint. Denatured alcohol is best for thinning shellac, whereas mineral spirits work well for thinning oil and removing grease.

What is the same thing as mineral spirits?

Below are a few good mineral spirits alternatives for cleaning:

Denatured Alcohol: Besides cleaning, it works best as an excellent paint remover.

Turpentine: It is paint thinner and cleaning agent like mineral spirits.

Acetone: It is commonly used for cleaning metal and removing nail polish.

Martina Hitchcock-Holapaints writer

Martina Hitchcock

Martina Hitchcock is a versatile author with expertise in different fields. As a paint sprayer expert, she has in-depth knowledge of paint spraying techniques, tools, and equipment. Martina is also an experienced home remodeler who has worked on various projects, including kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring installations, and room additions. Her knowledge of home improvement and remodeling is extensive, and she enjoys sharing her insights and tips with readers. You can follow her on Facebook.

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