Distinguishing between Lacquer Thinner & Mineral Spirits

Lacquer Thinner vs Mineral Spirits

There are numerous types of solvents and thinners used in the paint and decoration industry, including lacquer thinner and mineral spirits. Both of these thinners are utilized for dissolving or thinning oil-based paint and for cleaning such paint. However, there are distinctions between the two, with each possessing unique features that one should be aware of when using them in any painting situation. This article examines the two solvents to emphasize their differences.

Lacquer Thinner

In the past, painters only had turpentine available to dissolve paints in order to thin them or clean up a space to remove paint. Nowadays, they have lacquer thinner, which is much more effective than turpentine. Lacquer thinner is a combination of several chemicals with the ability to dissolve paints, particularly lacquer paints. When using a sprayer to apply lacquer on a surface, a lacquer thinner is the only solvent that can be used to thin the paint or clean it. It is highly volatile and caustic in nature and can clean up a surface even after the paint has dried.

Lacquer thinners can easily clean adhesive residue from a variety of surfaces. They can also remove inks from metal surfaces. However, due to their strength, they can quickly deteriorate a surface. As a result, it is advisable to test them first on an area that is not important to see their effect before using them.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirit is a solvent used in the paint industry for cleaning and thinning paints and varnishes. It is a transparent product derived from petroleum. In the UK, mineral spirit is known as white spirit. This product was made less volatile and aggressive and was briefly used in the dry cleaning industry across the country. In households, it is used to clean brushes after painting work is completed. Mineral spirit is also known as paint thinner and is mixed in thick paints to thin them.

Key Takeaways

  • Mineral spirits are stickier than lacquer thinner due to their higher retention of the lubricating property of petroleum, which is also why they are used for lubricating various objects.
  • Lacquer thinner is more aggressive and caustic than mineral spirit, capable of removing dried paint and adhesive residue from different surfaces.
  • While mineral spirits leave behind an oily residue, lacquer thinners do not, but they can deteriorate a surface, unlike mineral spirits.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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