In the paint and decoration industry, there exist various types of solvents and thinners. Some solvents may have different names but look like the same product. Some are even used on the same applications and may produce nearly identical results which brought us to Acetone vs Mineral Spirits. What are the differences you ask?
Let’s take acetone and mineral spirits for instance, they might do each other’s job interchangeably, but they have noticeable differences.
If you’ve been scratching your head out wondering what solvent to use for cleaning your task at hand, you’ve come to the right place as we will tell you everything you need to know about acetone vs mineral spirits.
Is mineral spirits and acetone the same thing?
Mineral spirits and acetone are not the same. Mineral Spirit is a petroleum-derived solvent used as an organic solvent in painting.
Acetone is an organic compound, also known as Pronanone, which is colorless, volatile, flammable liquid. A common solvent is known to be used as a nail polish remover.
Acetone or Mineral Spirits for Rustoleum
Rust-Oleum spray cans are used for preventing your products (like bike, boat, metal tools…) from rusting and breaking down. For bigger products such as a beam or boat, it is highly recommended to use a thin it only if you’re planning to spray it.
You may not need to thin if you are going to use a brush as it does the job. Rust-Oleum recommends using acetone for thinning, however, a lot of mineral spirits works well too.
What is Acetone?
Acetone, also known as Propanone is a colorless and volatile liquid which is used in the manufacture of plastics as well as other industrial products.
Due to the fact that acetone is miscible with water, it serves as a solvent hence used for cleaning purposes.
It is also used in household products like personal care products and cosmetics and its application would be in the nail polish remover’s formulation. It occurs in the human body naturally as a byproduct of metabolism.
Acetone is very common in a very important solvent in the nail business and as soon as you walk in a nail salon, the distinctive smell that welcomes you is that of acetone as it’s used as a nail polish remover.
Acetone is flammable and evaporates easily and according to experts, it’s an organic compound due to the fact that carbon atoms present in the chemical formula of acetone have three carbon atoms, one oxygen atom, and six hydrogen atoms which can be simplified as (CH3)2O.
Acetone is classified under ketones due to the fact that it comprises a carbonyl group that binds oxygen and carbon together with a double bond.
Pure acetone is a colorless, flammable, aromatic and mobile liquid that usually boils at 133 degrees Fahrenheit. Apart from cleaning, acetone has other uses such as;
• Thinning polyester raisins
• Dissolves two-part epoxies and superglue before they harden
• Can be used in chemical peeling
• Can be used in skin defatting
• Used as an element in food additives
• Used for vapor polishing especially in the printing artifacts
Recommended Acetone to Buy
Klean Strip GAC182 Acetone has a 5-star review and really performs really great at removing paint.
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What is the Mineral Spirits?
Mineral spirit, also known as the white spirit is a petroleum-derived solvent containing small hydrocarbon content.
Basically, hydrocarbons are chemical compounds with hydrogen and carbon and are distinguished with methane and one carbon atom that bonds to four hydrogen atoms.
The most distinguishing characteristics of mineral spirit are volatility and flash point, which make them ideal for use as a solvent as well as paint thinner.
Paint experts use the white spirit as a turpentine substitute for paint thinning and cleaning their paint brushes. White spirits are most commonly used for paint thinning due to the fact that they have a less unpleasant odor and are less costly.
They are also used as lubricants for screw threads reaming and decreasing and cleaning machinery.
Mineral spirits come from distillate especially during the refinement of oil process and feature superior chemical properties that make it a perfect thinner.
They are volatile and include aromatic toxic behavior that poses a threat to anyone’s health.
During the production process, chemicals such as alicyclic and paraffin mix with benzene hydrocarbons to form varieties of minerals that cause groundwater contamination when spilled and smog when inhaled.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of acetone vs mineral spirits?
Advantages of Acetone
Acetone is regarded as solvent simply because it can effectively be used for heavy degreasing jobs or general cleaning.
In layman’s language, a solvent is a compound that may dissolve paint or grease from the surface of an item and in the day to day activities, it can be used to remove undesirable contaminants from plastic, metal and glass surface.
Acetone cleaner has tremendous advantages such as;
Disadvantages of Acetone
- It’s effective
- Easy to obtain
- Less regulated
- Safer to use
- Low toxicity
- Water soluble
- It is highly flammable hence can ignite or explode easily thereby endangering your life as well as people around you
- Coming into contact with acetone puts your skin at risk of damage due to depletion of oils and moisture that leave it dry and brittle
- Exposure to acetone may cause lung, throat and eye irritation
- Has many harmful effects that are a threat to human health
Advantages of mineral spirits
- They have little to orderless hence perfect for most users
- They are cheaper hence affordable
- Not an allergen meaning that they are a great alternative for individuals who can’t be exposed to other solvents that may cause allergy
- Doesn’t give off fumes hence can hardly cause nausea especially your room is well-ventilated
- Prolonged exposure can lead to throat and eye burning, dizziness, headache, confusion, and coughing
- Skin contact with mineral spirits may cause irritation and burns
If properly discuss Acetone vs Mineral Spirits then need to understand the risk of using these products.
Mineral Spirits Health Risks
Mineral spirits are regarded as safe cleaners and solvents. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports that mineral spirits are mild irritants and as soon as they reach their high flashpoint, they burn just like any other hydrocarbon-based solvents.
Mineral spirits emit hazardous toxins that could be harmful to human beings and according to experts, when painters are exposed to mineral spirits for a long time, they may suffer from a brain ailment.
With this information, mineral spirits should be stored and handled with utmost care.
For instance, they should be used in well-ventilated areas and located far from flame, heat source and spark.
When handling white spirits, you should have rubber gloves and ensure that the lid of the container is tightly fixed.
Cover your nose as well as throat to avoid inhaling the spirit for a long time, wash it off with clean water in case it accidentally falls on your skin and most importantly, keep it away from children.
Recommended Mineral Spirit to Buy
- U.S. Art Supply Odorless Mineral Spirits / Thinner – Is a Premium highly refined solvent formula that effectively thins and blends well into oil-based paint, stain, and varnishes. It can be used like turpentine with no unpleasant odor 125ml / 4.2 Fluid Ounce Container
- Excellent cleaner for paintbrushes, tools, and equipment immediately after use of oil-based paint products
- Cleans and degreases with minimal residue. Excellent for Blending with colored pencil art.
Acetone Health Risks
Dealing with acetone requires safety precautions as well as special care due to the fact that it’s highly flammable and even though it’s not highly toxic, exposure could be both painful and irritating.
When using acetone cleaner, you must be careful to prevent consumption, inhalation, and absorption and you must always wear protective gear.
To protect your skin from acetone contact, you need to wear milled butyl rubber gloves.
A face shield is necessary to protect your face and chemical goggles to protect your eyes as it can be a health hazard.
- No fire – Given that acetone is inflammable, completely avoid smoking, open flame, and open flame
- Ventilate – Acetone is volatile meaning that the fumes are likely to fill the room, so be safe and ensure the room is well-ventilated to avoid health issues such as dizziness or drowsiness. Also, remember to close the jar or container as soon as you can
- Avoid eye contact – Acetone usually cause eye irritation and in case it falls on your eyes, rinse with clean water
What is Lacquer thinners?
Lacquer thinners are petroleum-based solvents that are used to dissolve, dilute, and clean.
The downside is that they only work with lacquer products.
You do have to be careful when it comes to Lacquer thinners use as they have different product tailor made for different activities. Some lacquer thinners are sold for clean up while others may be only for thinning.
Always check the label before purchasing for the intended activity.
Advantages of Lacquer Thinners
- Stronger than most solvent
- Allows for lacquer finishes to resist sagging and running in vertical surfaces
Disadvantages of Lacquer Thinners
- More flammable than paint thinner
- Too strong for most fabrics and surfaces
Both Are Great Solvent
There are various solvents which can successfully be used for general cleaning, but only a few meet the needs of different individuals without the creation of extensive overhead.
If you are looking for cleaning solvents that won’t disappoint you, you should consider acetone vs mineral spirit for a flawless experience.
Join the battle of Acetone vs Mineral Spirits in the comments below and let us know which works best for you.