Does Mineral Spirits Remove Paint?

The Challenge of removing old paints on different surfaces is a frequent thing of every day-to-day life. Often, people have devised many options to clean paints while others are still stuck.

Perhaps you have used mineral spirits or have seen someone use it and wonders which other things can it be used for. Can mineral spirits kill germs, insects, or bleach paint? Does Mineral Spirits Remove Paint

Well, YES, the mineral spirit is a petroleum-based compound that works effectively in paint removal. This solvent can also be used in degreasing, removing paint pills, paint prep, thinning paint, and stain removal.

You can also use mineral spirits on surfaces such as automotive lacquer, sealed stones, finished furniture, wooden floor finish, a wood without a wax finish, bathtubs, tile, linoleum, laminated wood, sinks, wet paints as well as metal surface polishing.

Mineral spirits come with numerous advantages such as transparent look, less toxic, less smelly, budget-friendly, more effective, and versatile all-around thinner. See Also: Can Goo Gone Remove Paint?

Details: Do Mineral Spirits Remove Paint?

The mineral spirit is not suitable for the removal of latex paint (or water-based paints) as it leaves stains behind or leads to incomplete paint removal.

Further, avoid applying mineral spirit on surfaces such as unfinished wood, naked stones, unpainted walls, leather material, suede, fire points (flammable), and coated glass.

Importantly, ensure that you wear a respirator mask and hand gloves to prevent adverse effects that result from mineral spirit when it comes into contact with your skin.

a. Active Components in mineral Spirits

Mineral spirit is a petroleum-based compound that works effectively in paint removal.

The product integrates a unique structural formulation that breaks and dissolves oil-based paints instantly upon application – it’s an organic compound (has a carbon base structure).

The solvent features stick-action properties that liquefy paint and thus, forming a thick viscous compound, which can be wiped out easily.

Moreover, the Mineral spirit is highly volatile and evaporates quickly without bleaching or reacting with the surface under paint removal if the right application procedure is followed.

The etching action is achieved in a couple of seconds, while the high degree of activeness allows deep penetration into the dense paint layer.

The transparent properties of mineral spirit make it easier to monitor the area under cover during the application, making it more useful and reliable in the current market.

b. Area of Use – Where to Apply

Mineral spirits work for oil-based paints (not for water-based paints) for excellent surface finish.

The solvent dissolves paints on surfaces such as wood without a wax finish, bathtubs, tile, linoleum, laminated wood, sinks, automotive lacquer, sealed stones, finished furniture, wooden floor finish, wet paints as well as metal surface polishing.

Moreover, you can also use mineral spirit in degreasing, removing paint pills, paint preparation, thinning paint, and stain removal without much hassle.

However, the right procedure and administration should be carried out during application (as explained later in this article) to prevent bleaching and staining of the surfaces.

NB: Since the mineral spirit is mainly used for paint thinning, it’s recommended that you carry out a drop test before you start the application to ascertain the effectiveness of this product over a given surface or given type of paint you intend to clean. 

See Also: Can Alcohol Remove Paint?

c. Concentration Requirements and Precaution to be observed

Mineral spirit is manufactured in various degrees of concentration. However, this doesn’t mean that its activeness is the same in all types of paint thickness. 50% concentration works for thin surfaces and in the removal of fine adhesive without many problems.

However, 70-95% concentration of mineral spirit is needed for the complete removal of a thick layer of the paint surface. Besides, a thick paint layer may require an extra-quantity of spray for significant penetration and paint thinning.

The degree and quantity of use are self-determined according to removal action rate since as you continue to spray over the painted surface, active agents erode the paints instantly, leaving an original clean coating.

During the process of mineral spirits application, it’s recommended that you follow some of the precautions highlighted below:

  • Avoiding applying mineral spirits near the fireplace – flammable
  • Cover your mouth and nose adequately during application – to avoid irritation and chocking
  • Use mineral spirit for paint removal upon recommended surfaces and paints only
  • Hand gloves must be won to protect skin from burns or scars in case of contact

If you touch mineral spirits accidentally, wash the affected area with plenty of cold water immediately. 

See Also: Deck Sealer for Pressure Treated Wood

d. Areas to Avoid using Mineral Spirit in Paint Removal

Unlike other paint removers/thinner, the mineral spirit is manufactured specifically for thinning and cleaning oil-based paints only.

Otherwise, you will end up destroying/straining surfaces or material, and to some extent, the product may react with the fabric.

Though most mineral spirits come with user instructions, it’s important to avoid using them upon materials and surfaces such as unfinished wood, naked stones, unpainted walls, leather material, suede, fire points (flammable), and coated glass.

Indeed, the mineral spirit is not suitable for use in latex paint removal since it leaves stain marks behind or even lead to material corrosion/reaction.

NB: Remember, having the right mineral spirit concentration is vital in achieving an excellent surface finish. 

See Also: Painting Vs Staining Deck

e. Advantage of Using Mineral Spirit in Paint Removal

Unlike other paint thinners and paint removers, mineral spirits has unmatched advantages as listed below:

  • Quick cleaning action
  • Effective etching action
  • Less smelly –will not have extreme nasal irritation as compared to Acetone
  • Less toxic – take longer to cause disorder upon ingestion
  • Relatively cheaper –economical
  • Transparent – gives clear visibility
  • More versatile

f. Side Effects of Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits require special handling as they have adverse effects on the user if proper precautions are not adhered to. Some of the side effects include:

  1. When swallowed or ingested, mineral spirits cause severe throat pain, vomiting, and burn the alimentary canal/digestive system.
  2. When inhales, it may cause a feeling of dizziness, nausea, or breathing difficulties. It leads to a swollen throat or cause thick phlegm clogging.
  3. If confined in a lowly ventilated room, it leads to drowsiness, dizziness, and even one can faint upon inhaling.

Mineral spirits cause skin irritation, burn, or rashes upon contact. Active agents cause permanent scars if not attended to immediately. 

Read Also: Deck Stain for Weathered Wood

How to use Mineral Spirits at your place?

During the application, you will need to follow the following steps chronologically in order to achieve an excellent finish.

Ensure you have the following items too; mineral spirit, a basin, clean water, sponge/rag, scrapper, soap detergent, clean piece of cloth, and paintbrush.

  1. Clean the surface you want to remove paint using a paintbrush
  2. Drop test the surface using mineral spirit – ensure the paint removal is effective
  3. Spray the painted area and leave it to etch for 3 to 6 minutes
  4. Scrap the paint (for thick layers)
  5. Using the paintbrush, clean the paint thinner/material
  6. Soak the sponge in soap detergent mope the cleaned area
  7. Dip the rag/cloth is clean water and dry the surface
  8. Repeat this procedure for other surfaces

Alternatively, the mineral spirit can be used for the following purposes too:

  1. As a lubricant in thread cutting operations
  2. Cleaning scratches and skid marks on tiles
  3. Removing sticker adhesives and stains
  4. Cleaning paintbrush used in heavy-duty oil/paint
  5. Polishing wooden material coated with a thick layer of lacquer, varnish, or shellac
  6. In erasing mistakes caused when painting

Removing sticky resins and gum on the carpet and cloth material 

See Also: Automotive HVLP Spray Gun for the Money

What is the Best Substitute for Mineral Spirits in Paint Removal?

The following are some of the best alternatives for mineral spirits in paint removal.

1. Denatured alcohol

Just like mineral spirits, denatured alcohol removes dry or wet paint by dissolving it into a semi-liquid state, which is easily cleaned in a couple of minutes after etching.

This product works effectively for water-based paint and latex paint removal. You will effectively clean surfaces such as rooftops, walls, containers, car bodies, walls, furniture tops, and wet floors.

Denatured alcohol compound contains about 70% to 90% ethyl, which breaks stains and paint structure instantly.

However, you will have to prepare the right concentrate before application. Unfortunately, denature alcohol may not work for surfaces such as unsealed surfaces, unfinished surfaces, aluminum, leather, and wallpapers.

2. Acetone

Acetone, also known as propane (in some regions), is an organic compound (carbon-based) that features a combination of propylene and benzene in its structure.

It’s a highly flammable, colorless solvent that is used mainly used in the cosmetic industry for nail polishing, skin defatting, and as a paint thinner.

However, Acetone comes with a strong pungent and irritating odor – respiratory mask or protection is needed during application.

As a solvent, Acetone has a water-base advantage that makes it dissolve/mix with water uniformly.

It removes wet paint/thinner entirely upon application. Moreover, this product can be used in chemical peeling, printing artifacts for vapor polishing, and thinning polyester raisins.

3. Turpentine

Turpentine is a universal thinning solvent that is extracted from pine tree sap and agitated to an appropriate action degree that works for oil-base paints and latex paint removal.

You can use turpentine for either of the following purposes:

  • Degreasing automobile parts
  • Cleaning tubs and paint thinning
  • Cleaning painting tools – e.g., paintbrush
  • Removing gum, stickers, and other adhesive

However, turpentine is highly flammable and comes with a strong pungent smell that makes it less popular as compared to mineral spirits. Therefore, great precautions should be taken into place during application. 

See Also: Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners


Mineral spirits can remove paints on surfaces such as wood without a wax finish, bathtubs, tile, linoleum, laminated wood, sinks, automotive lacquer, sealed stones, and finished furniture without any problems. 

The right concentration and procedure should be followed (as highlighted in this article) in order to achieve the best final results. Besides, the mineral spirit is transparent, less toxic, effective, and more reliable, thus making it more common in the current market.

Similar Posts