Mineral Spirits vs Acetone (Differences & Uses)

Most of us have used mineral spirits and acetone at some point when we have painted our homes. Solvents such as mineral spirits and acetone have a wide range of applications. They share some similarities, but many people are unaware of the noticeable differences between Mineral Spirits and Acetone.

As part of the painting process, they do everything from thin the paint to clean it up. They are not the same thing. Mineral spirits and acetone are not interchangeable. Painters use mineral spirits as a solvent because they are petroleum-based. On the other hand, an organic molecule called acetone is used to remove paint or nail polish.

Taking a look at Mineral Spirits Vs Acetone will help you get the most out of both solvents and to avoid pitfalls.

Mineral spirits vs acetone for cleaning

Mineral Spirits vs Acetone Comparison Table

Mineral Spirits Acetone
ToxicityLowHigh
Flammable YesYes
Water SolubleNoYes
Thinning Paint Oil based paintsLacquers
Nail Polish RemoverNoYes
Removing AdhesivesYesYes
Dissolve GlueNoYes
ColorColorlessClear solvent with low viscosity
Vapor pressureLowHigh
Use in the beauty industry NoYes
SmellOdorless or like kerosinePungent

Acetone vs Mineral Spirits for cleaning

Mineral spirits and acetone can be used to clean painting tools, spilled paint, and the house. When it comes to removing paint from different surfaces, acetone is the ideal option because it is capable of removing old, dried paint, whereas mineral spirits work well for fresh paint removal. You can usually find mineral spirits more easily and at a lower price.

Acetone vs Mineral Spirits for thinning paint

Both solvents are commonly used paint thinners. Painters use mineral spirits to thin oil based paints paint before spraying it. Alternatively, acetone spirits are used to thin lacquer.

Both solvents have similarities, as thinners and cleaners, but they are ultimately different solvents and need to be treated differently.

It is better to thin paint with mineral spirits. Acetone works more like a paint stripper because it alters the paint’s nature. As a result, it works well for removing paint, but less effective for thinning. You should take great care when disposing of acetone.

Mineral spirits and acetone have different properties, which makes it important to understand their differences.

Acetone

Natural organic compounds such as acetone are found in the environment and in fruits and vegetables. It’s a clear, flammable, volatile solution that works well on anything from nail polish to stripping paint. Many cleaners also contain acetone because it is a powerful stain remover.

Homeowners and industrial workers around the world use acetone as a paint stripper, cleaner, and highly effective plastic solvent. It is also used to coat cars, cabinets and furniture with protective coatings, according to Verywell Health.

Uses For Acetone

  • Acetone is used in chemical peeling and as a degreaser.
  • It is an excellent nail polish remover.
  • It is even used in food additives to activate metabolic processes.
  • You can also use acetone on clothing to eliminate ink stains.
  • Scuff marks on floors can also be removed using acetone.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits can be made by distilling petroleum. It does not dissolve in water. Mineral spirits are organic solvents used for a wide range of purposes. In the painting industry, mineral spirits are the preferred cleaner when it comes to cleaning paint brushes and other equipment.

It can be used as a solvent to make a variety of products, such as spray paints, wood preservatives, aerosols, and varnishes. It appears transparent and has an odor similar to kerosene. In polyurethane and oil-based paints, mineral spirits are often used as an additive. They are cheaper, safer, and flammable that produces strong, toxic fumes that may trigger headaches and irritation, so you should work in a ventilated area.

Alternatively, you can purchase odorless mineral spirits, which are refined to remove unpleasant odors. You can also learn more about the substitute of mineral spirits.

How are Mineral Spirits used?

  • You can use mineral spirits a variety of tasks, but wearing rubber gloves is recommended due to its harsh nature, which may leave the skin dry, irritated, or burning.
  • Mineral spirits are often used to thin or reduce the consistency of paint, stain, or top coats.
  • Painting brushes, metals and other equipment can be cleaned with mineral spirits.
  • You can clean wooden surfaces such as furniture and floors with mineral spirits, but you should not use it on waxed surfaces.
  • Moreover, it is not useful for stripping dried paint, but it is essential for thinning paint with it.

Which is better acetone or mineral spirits?

Paint thinners such as mineral spirits vs acetone each have their place, and understanding how to use them properly can help you succeed. Both acetone and mineral spirits are used as solvents for paint thinning and cleaning. Unfortunately, acetone is not replaceable by mineral spirits in several aspects of life. However, these two solvents need to be differentiated to avoid risks. 

Acetone is good for stripping paint, degreasing and cleaning while mineral spirits thin paint and are useful for wide applications.

FAQS on Mineral Spirits vs Acetone

Can I use mineral spirits instead of acetone

No, you cannot use mineral spirits. Acetone is not the same thing as mineral spirits. Acetone is more like a paint stripper and is used to thin lacquer, but mineral spirits can thin oil-based paint.

Will acetone remove mineral spirits?

Mineral spirits are removed by acetone, which dries quickly. Acetone is a strong solvent that helps to remove masking tape and stickers effectively. You can also clean mineral spirits with hot soapy water.

What can be used in place of acetone?

Methyl acetate, ethyl acetate, and methyl ethyl ketone are other alternatives to acetone that provide versatility and high performance.