Types of Paint Thinners

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Putting color on the walls is one of the first thoughts that renters or homeowners have when they check out their new space. Selecting the color for the paint is a simple process since the choice rests mainly in a person's opinions. However, there are different paint types out there from which to choose, such as water-based paint, oil-based paint, latex and many more.

Types of Paint Thinners
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What some people may not think about is the difficulty that comes with cleaning up some of these paints afterward. Paint thinner can be used to remove some of these stubborn paints from various surfaces and can also serve as a means to thin the paint, exactly like its name suggests.

What Is Paint Thinner?

Paint thinner is a product that can be used to clean up messes made from using oil-based paints. From surfaces like floors to tools like paint brushes, paint thinner can be used to remove paint remnants. This may seem like a great discovery; however, paint thinner is a very harsh chemical that needs to be handled with care.

It is extremely important to minimize any contact that the paint thinner may have with your body. Wearing goggles and gloves is a good start to making sure you are using paint thinner safely. The most important part is to wear a mask over your nose and mouth because breathing in the chemicals is extremely harmful for a person's health and can lead to extreme results such as death if too many fumes have been inhaled.

Paint Thinner Substitutes

Many people will choose paint thinner over other alternatives because it is usually the cheaper option. However, if you wish to avoid paint thinner, types of thinner substitutes are available on the market. Mineral spirits, acetone, turpentine, naphtha and toluene are a few of the chemical replacements that can be used to remove or thin out paint. The most common on this list are mineral spirits and acetone.

Using Mineral Spirits as a Substitute

Mineral spirits is a more costly option as a paint solvent, but it is less toxic and easier to handle. This is a petroleum-based chemical that can be used to do the exact same things as paint thinner. Mineral spirits is used as a paint solvent if the paint ends up on things you didn't intend to paint, like tools or floors, and it can also be used to thin out paint if a person chooses to use a spray method to apply the paint.

Mineral spirits can be used on more paint types than paint thinner, such as lacquer and shellac-based paints, and it can be used for other projects around the house like cutting grease stains or removing marks from linoleum.

Using Acetone as a Substitute

Another popular choice for a paint solvent is acetone. It is a low-risk option in terms of health and is usually a very low-priced option as well. However, since it is a mild chemical solvent, it cannot perform all the tasks that paint thinner can. Acetone can be used to thin paint, but the type of paint once again comes into play. Since it is not considered a strong chemical compound in comparison to its competitors, acetone may not give the paint the effect you desire.

On a positive note, acetone can rid you of paint stains on multiple surfaces while keeping the integrity of the item intact. This cannot be said about its stronger chemical competitors, so making sure you have the right paint solvent for the right type of job is essential in selecting what product is right for your project.


Taking on the role of the household's 'handyman' was a natural path for me. Watching my dad as a child be able to fix anything made me want to be just like him. Now with a toolbox of my own I tackle any task that my home throws my way. If the task can be accomplished with my own two hands, I have never been the type to hire someone else to do it. There is nothing more satisfying than staring at your completed project while you brush some dirt from your hands.

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