Mineral Spirits Vs. Paint Thinners: Which One Should You Choose?

September 22, 2022


Mineral spirits and paint thinners are two of the most popular solvents used for thinning oil paint, varnishes, and paints. Similarly, they can also be used to clean different types of paint equipment and oily materials.

Nonetheless, it is important to understand the differences between mineral spirits and paint thinners so that you can contact professional industrial cleaners in Edmonton and buy the best type of cleaning chemicals per your requirements.

Keep reading to understand the differences between mineral spirits and paint thinners.

What Are Mineral Spirits?

Mineral spirits are made up of 100% petroleum distillates. They have no additives to ensure maximum quality. A major reason behind the popularity of mineral spirits is that they are clean products that provide reliable results in thinning oil-based paint. The major usage of mineral spirits is their application in cleaning stains and varnishes.

Also Read: Top Mineral Spirits Uses In Your Home

Pros Of Mineral Spirits

You can expect the following benefits by using mineral spirits:

  • High effectiveness with oil-based products.
  • Mineral spirit products are affordable, so they can be used for thinning and cleaning purposes on various types of projects.
  • They are clean and have low to minimum odour.
  • Mineral spirits can be applied on wood as well for thorough cleaning to get rid of stubborn stains without damaging the wood. This kind of benefit is not possible with most types of paint thinners.

What Is A Paint Thinner?

Paint thinners are essentially mineral spirits that are not pure petroleum distillates and have additives in them, such as benzene. However, inexperienced individuals and even sellers sometimes use the terms paint thinner and mineral spirits interchangeably, so there is a chance that a paint thinner may not have any additives.

Keep in mind that the term ‘paint thinner’ is used to represent the function of the product. It does not necessarily reflect the makeup or composition of the product. In other words, the function of paint thinners is to thin paints.

A wide range of products, such as citrus-based products, can also be considered paint thinners. Water is often used to thin out water-based latex paints, so you can consider water to be a paint thinner in some situations as well.

Mineral Spirits VS Paint Thinners

Let’s elaborate on the differences between mineral spirits and paint thinners by going through their composition, odor, and safety.


Mineral spirits are derived from petroleum. They don’t have any additives. In contrast, paint thinners are a broad category that has a large list of cleaning agents. Pure mineral spirits are considered to be only one particular type of paint thinner.

The composition of paint thinners can greatly vary on the basis of their specific types. For instance, they can blend mineral spirits, acetone, or turpentine. Generally, paint thinner means the products are less refined forms of mineral spirits.


Both mineral spirits and paint thinners are equally toxic, so a lot of care is needed to handle such products. The ingredients of such products, such as benzene, can cause drowsiness when inhaled in a large amount.

Since long-term exposure to such dangerous chemicals can take a toll on your health, it is important to rely on experienced industrial cleaners and buy quality cleaning products to get the best results with maximum safety.


Both mineral spirits and paint thinners have an easily recognizable smell. It is similar to the smell of kerosene. Typically, the smell of a paint thinner is stronger than pure mineral spirits due to the presence of benzene.

Key Distinguishing Attributes Between Mineral Spirits And Paint Thinners

The following are the main differences between mineral spirits and paint thinners:

  • Mineral spirits refer to the product’s composition, while paint thinner is a broad, generalized term that refers to the product’s function.
  • Paint thinner and mineral spirits can be considered interchangeable products as paint thinners refer to both pure and impure mineral spirits.
  • The odor of paint thinners is significantly stronger than that of mineral spirits.
  • The cost of mineral spirits is typically a little higher than that of paint thinners as they are 100% pure, but the reliable result of using mineral spirits justifies its cost.

About Sunrise Industrial Cleaners

Sunrise Industrial Cleaners is a reliable company in Edmonton that provides a wide range of industrial cleaning products. We specialize in various industrial cleaning chemicals and offer high-quality products to help our clients fulfill their cleaning requirements.

Whether you are looking for pure mineral spirits or different types of paint thinners, you can contact us to get the best cleaning agents.

We’re here to help!

We take pride in providing our customers with premium industrial cleaning products at affordable rates!

(780) 465-0788