Handling And Disposal Practices For Mineral Spirits

April 19, 2024

Handling And Disposal Practices For Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits, white spirits or paint thinners are commonly used solvents in various industrial and household applications. While they effectively clean surfaces, thin paint, and remove grease and grime, improper handling and disposal of mineral spirits can pose significant environmental and health risks.

Moreover, mineral spirits are classified as hazardous waste by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDGA). This means they must be stored, transported, and disposed of under strict regulations and standards.

Therefore, cleaning products specialists recommend best practices for handling and disposal of mineral spirits. In this blog post, we will provide you with some practical tips and guidelines on how to do so safely and responsibly.

What Are Mineral Spirits?

Mineral spirits are petroleum-derived solvents commonly used as cleaning agents, degreasers, and paint thinners. They are clear, colourless liquids with a relatively low viscosity, making them effective in dissolving various substances.

They find applications in a wide range of industries and household tasks, including:

  • Paint Thinning: Mineral spirits are commonly used to thin oil-based paints and varnishes, making them easier to apply.
  • Cleaning Surfaces: They are effective in removing grease, grime, and other contaminants from surfaces such as metal, wood, and concrete.
  • Degreasing Tools and Machinery: Mineral spirits are often used to clean tools, machinery parts, and automotive components to remove oil and grease buildup.
  • Adhesive Removal: They can dissolve adhesives and sticky residues, making them useful for removing stickers and labels.

Importance Of Proper Handling And Disposal

While mineral spirits are versatile and effective solvents, improper handling and disposal can have adverse effects on human health and the environment. It is crucial to adopt responsible practices to minimize these risks.

Environmental Impact

Improper disposal of mineral spirits can lead to contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface water bodies. The chemicals present in mineral spirits can leach into the soil, affecting plant growth and contaminating groundwater sources.

Moreover, if mineral spirits are discharged into water bodies, they can harm aquatic ecosystems and disrupt the balance of marine life.

Health Hazards

Exposure to mineral spirits can pose significant health risks to humans. Inhalation of vapours may cause respiratory irritation, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to more severe health issues, including damage to the nervous system, liver, and kidneys.

Skin contact with mineral spirits may result in irritation, dermatitis, or chemical burns.

Safe Handling Practices

When working with mineral spirits, it is essential to follow safe handling practices to minimize exposure and ensure personal safety.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment when handling mineral spirits. This may include:

  • Chemical-resistant gloves: Protect hands from direct contact with mineral spirits.
  • Safety goggles: Shield eyes from splashes or vapours.
  • Respiratory protection: Use a respirator or mask to prevent inhalation of vapours.
  • Protective clothing: Wear long sleeves and pants to minimize skin exposure.


Work in a well-ventilated area to minimize inhalation of vapours. Open windows and doors or use mechanical ventilation systems such as exhaust fans to ensure adequate airflow.

Avoiding Skin Contact

Mineral spirits can cause skin irritation and chemical burns upon prolonged contact. Avoid direct skin contact by wearing gloves and promptly washing any exposed skin with soap and water.

Spill Prevention And Cleanup

Take precautions to prevent spills during handling and storage of mineral spirits. Use spill containment measures such as secondary containment trays or absorbent materials to quickly contain and clean up spills.

Proper Disposal Methods

Proper disposal of mineral spirits is essential to prevent environmental contamination and comply with regulations. Follow these guidelines for safe and responsible disposal:


Whenever possible, recycle mineral spirits through authorized recycling facilities. Many municipalities and waste management companies offer recycling programs for hazardous waste materials, including mineral spirits.

Contact your local recycling center or environmental agency for information on recycling options in your area.

Hazardous Waste Collection

If recycling is not available, dispose of mineral spirits as hazardous waste through designated collection centers or household hazardous waste programs. These facilities are equipped to handle and dispose of hazardous materials safely and in compliance with regulations.

Do not pour mineral spirits down the drain or dispose of them with regular household waste.


In some cases, small quantities of mineral spirits may be safely disposed of through evaporation. Pour the mineral spirits into a shallow container and allow them to evaporate in a well-ventilated area away from ignition sources.

Once the solvent has fully evaporated, dispose of any remaining residue as hazardous waste.

Professional Disposal Services

For large quantities or commercial applications, consider hiring professional disposal services to handle mineral spirits safely and in compliance with regulations. These services specialize in the proper handling, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste materials, ensuring environmental protection and regulatory compliance.

About Us

Sunrise Industrial Cleaners, based in Edmonton, has been a trusted name since 2004, offering top-notch industrial-grade cleaning products. Our commitment revolves around providing quality products at competitive prices, coupled with unparalleled personalized service.

Contact us today to experience unparalleled service and discover how we can meet your industrial cleaning needs.

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