Follow us on Pinterest
Welcome, Guest! Log In  |  Join Now

Solving solvent uncertainty

What is the difference between mineral spirits, paint thinner, and turpentine? Can they be used interchangeably for cleaning brushes or thinning oil-based finishes?

Submitted by WOODreader2

The least expensive of the three, paint thinner is often made from reclaimed mineral spirits, so trace impurities prevent the manufacturer from labeling it purely as mineral spirits. But you’ll notice little difference in the way they perform. Because of the strong odor of both, you may prefer to pay a little extra for odorless mineral spirits, which has had some of the smellier parts chemically extracted. This weakens it slightly as a solvent. Derived from the sap of pine trees, turpentine has a noticeably stronger “piney” smell than mineral spirits or paint thinner and is the stronger solvent for cleaning brushes. It also evaporates faster in thinned finishes, leaving less “open” time before the finish turns tacky. But it can be used in place of mineral spirits or paint thinner with no other noticeable difference.

Community Answers 0

Answer this Question

Enter an Answer to this Question
500 characters left

Connect With Us
more smart savings
  • Recent Posts
  • Top Posts
See More >
Free Year + Free Gift! Order NOW and get 1 FREE YEAR of Wood® Magazine! PLUS you'll get our Great Projects for Your Shop guide instantly! That's 2 full years (14 issues) for the 1-year-rate – just $28.00. This is a limited-time offer, so HURRY! (U.S. orders only) (Click here for Canadian orders)


First Name:

Last Name:





100% Money-Back Guarantee: You must be pleased, or you may cancel any time during the life of your subscription and receive a refund on any unserved issues – no questions asked. Wood® Magazine is currently published 7 times annually – subject to change without notice. Double issues may be published, which count as 2 issues. Applicable sales tax will be added. E-mail address required to access your account and member benefits online. We will not share your e-mail address with anyone. Click here to view our privacy policy.