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4 Substitutes for Mineral Spirits You Can Find At Home

paint atelier

We often find ourselves so immersed in a project that we don’t notice our mistakes until way later. With painting, this might mean that we have to undo the work that we have just done. Fortunately, mineral spirits can clean our mistakes right up! But what if you’ve lost your mineral spirits?  Luckily, there are several items that you can find around the house that will do a similar job. While they might not be quite as strong in some cases, they may be more safe and useful in a pinch. Let’s take a look around the house and see what we can find!

Denatured Alcohol

denatured alcohol ethanol
Image: Ri_Ya, Pixabay

Denatured alcohol is probably the closest thing you’ll find in your home to mineral spirits, as it is also designed to be a cleaning agent. It is wonderful with lacquers and polishes and triples as an excellent paint remover. While this might not be as good for cleaning mechanical items, it can clean up a paint job right away.

Neat uses for denatured alcohol:

Use as a sanitizer.

If you add warm water to denatured alcohol, you suddenly have a potent sanitizer to clean your house with. In fact, keeping denatured alcohol around can help you reduce the number of cleaning products in your home.

Easily get rid of mold and mildew.

As we know, mold and mildew are awful for your health, but fortunately, they’re easy to get rid of. Put denatured alcohol in a bottle, spray on top of the affected area, let it sit for a while, and then simply wipe away with a rag. You’ll be breathing easier in no time.

Clean your paintbrush.

Let your paintbrush sit overnight in denatured alcohol, and in the morning, rinse it with warm water. It will be like new again.

Do remember that denatured alcohol is still a powerful chemical that you do not want touching your skin nor do you want to breath it in. Be careful when using this product.


Image Credit: Ihor Matsiievskyi, Shutterstock

Many people think that acetone and mineral spirits are the same, but they are not. Acetone works as a thinner and is commonly used in cleaning products as a solvent. Because of this, it makes a wonderful paint remover and is good for cleaning machinery.

Neat uses for acetone:

Clean up those nails!

Commonly used in nail salons, acetone is the go-to paint remover for nail artists. Simply swab the painted area with acetone, wait two or three minutes, and then wipe off with a fresh cotton swab. You’ll be free of your old paint job and ready for a new one!


Turpentine mineral spirits (Image Credit: Ellywa, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Turpentine is another thinner but is a naturally occurring one! Made from the sap of live trees and then steamed into existence, turpentine is a safer alternative to denatured alcohol, albeit less powerful. It is, however, a wonderful paint thinner and remover, used both in the industrial field and cosmetics.

Neat uses for turpentine:

Use as paint thinner.

Almost every painter uses turpentine when dealing with oil-based paints. The properties of turpentine make it perfect for loosening and thinning oil paints, giving you the ability to execute the perfect coat every time.

Use a stain remover.

If you mix turpentine and salt at a 1:1 ratio, you have one of the best stain removers you could possibly find. After making the mixture, get a paintbrush, and brush the slat/turpentine mixture over the stain. Let that sit for 20 minutes, rinse, and voilà!

Use as furniture polish.

Not only does turpentine work wonderfully as a polish, but certain mixtures also turn it into a protecting force for your furniture! Also, consider mixtures that include things like lavender and beeswax.

Soap and Water

soap and water
Image credit: suju, Pixabay

This may be the least effective alternative to mineral spirits on this list, but it is the safest, and we are 100% confident that you have it in your home. You won’t have to protect yourself from chemical burns or wear a mask when using it. Of course, you can’t polish your furniture or remove stains, but you can sanitize your house or, more relevantly, clean all your paintbrushes.

Neat uses for soap and water:

Blow bubbles!

It doesn’t matter if you have kids or not; no one is ever too old to get the joy out of blowing bubbles. Have fun out there. You deserve it after all that painting!

Good luck with your substitutions, and happy painting!

WORTH READING: Mineral Spirits vs Acetone: What’s the Difference?

Featured Image Credit: stux, Pixabay


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