Mineral spirits, also known as Stoddard solvent, petroleum spirit, or white spirit, are a petroleum-based single solvent that are sometimes used as a substitute for turpentine in thinning paint and cleaning surfaces and paintbrushes. It is also used for thinning both interior and exterior oil-based varnishes, oil-based paint and can be used in wiping wood stains.
There are many different kinds of mineral spirits so they are divided into types and classes. One type, called Type II, is odorless and fairly common as paint thinner. Various chemicals are used in its production so it is not entirely safe. However, although it is still hazardous, mineral spirits are considered one of the safer solvents for finishing and refinishing furniture.
– Safer than other solvents
– Evaporation rate is moderate
– More affordable than turpentine
– More effective and economical than paint thinner
– Odor is not so strong
– Single solvent (characteristics are the same in every brand)
– Purer than paint thinner
– Does not dissolve coats
– Good cleaning agent
However, it also has the following disadvantages:
– Mild irritant
– Prolonged exposure may cause brain ailments
– Harmful vapors are released
Proper disposal of mineral spirits is important because its toxins can be harmful to the environment. The chemicals can also be highly flammable if left in the sun too long. When working with mineral spirits make sure to work in a well-ventilated area to avoid prolonged exposure. It is also best to work with gloves and a mask so no chemicals enter your skin or lungs