What Are Mineral Spirits?
Mineral spirits are hydrocarbon solvents primarily used for paint thinning, cleaning, and degreasing that are toxic to humans upon prolonged exposure. Due to their toxicity, mineral spirits are increasingly banned from many areas, so what can be used instead?
Common Substitutes for Mineral Spirits
- Denatured Alcohol: A readily available ethanol product is often used as a cleaning solvent and fuel for camping stoves. Denatured alcohol can be mixed with water to reduce damage to surfaces, making it a great choice for removing mold and mildew, as well as grease stains and grime. Safe to use on wooden surfaces.
- Acetone: Widely known as nail polish remover, acetone is a great solvent for cleaning and degreasing. This product is not highly toxic and does not give off fumes like other products on this list. Best for cleaning metal, plastic, or glass surfaces.
- Turpentine: A popular substitute for paint thinner, distilled from pine tree resin. Great for cleaning painting tools and degreasing car parts, but considered toxic and should only be used in ventilated spaces to limit high exposure. Protective gear like respirators and gloves to prevent irritation is also recommended.
- Oil, Soap & Water: The most natural, non-toxic solvent for cleaning and degreasing. Requires a bit more elbow grease than other stronger cleaning solvents, but is widely available.
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