Mineral Spirits vs Paint Thinner – what’s the difference?

What is the difference between mineral spirits vs paint thinner?

Mineral spirits are a type of solvent typically used for parts cleaning and machine washing. A petroleum distillate, mineral spirits are often used as a substitute for turpentine, and tend to build up grease and grime. Mineral spirits also include thin oil-based materials such as varnishes. Paint thinner, in contrast, is a less refined mineral spirit that contains other types of solvents. Here are some key differences between mineral spirits vs paint thinner.

1. Odor

As mentioned above, paint thinner contains multiple solvents and thus gives off a more noxious smell.

It is very important to always use solvents in a well-ventilated room, even though mineral spirits are less potent smelling. If you begin to feel light-headed or develop a headache, immediately remove yourself from the room.

2. Hefty Price tag

Paint thinner is cheaper than mineral spirits and it's easy to see why – they tend to less effective in terms of solvent properties and parts washing capabilities.

3. Capabilities

Mineral spirits are a much more purified form than paint thinner and are thus the preferred solvent of the paints and coatings, refinery, auto manufacturing and other industries.

Why should I recycle my mineral spirits or paint thinners?

Paint thinner and mineral spirits are petroleum-based products, which may be toxic and/or flammable and must be handled with care. Some of the solvents, for example, Toluene and Xylene, will affect your nervous system and cause irritability, and in large doses could cause serious health problems. You should never use them in any sizeable quantity without proper ventilation. Serious injury can result if these products are swallowed or inhaled. Vapors accumulate invisibly in closed spaces and can reach dangerous levels without adequate ventilation.

What options are available for recycling mineral spirits?

Many industries, for example, gun manufacturers and auto refinishing shops, use a significant amount of mineral spirits as a solvent for parts washing. Used solvent combined with paint waste is often the largest waste stream in a facility and is typically managed by shipping it to an off-site recycling facility or by recycling the waste on-site. Recycling solvents on-site help to alleviate regulatory requirements and future liability, saving money in the process. In the past, it used to take upwards of 2 years to experience an ROI on an on-site solvent recycler. Now, IoT-enabled solvent recycling technology makes solvent recycling easy and affordable for any sized facility.

About Solvent Recycling Systems

When solvents become contaminated or dirty, they require careful solvent distillation and recycling. Solvent Recycling Systems uses an innovative paint thinner and mineral spirits solvent recycler that allows companies to recycle and reclaim their used solvent and slash disposal costs by up to 98%. Proper solvent recycling is not only essential to the environment, it's critical for your business — reducing the need for new solvent production can substantially reduce your waste management costs.

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