Difference Between Lacquer Thinner and Mineral Spirits

Lacquer Thinner vs Mineral Spirits

There are many different types of solvents and thinners used in paint and decoration industry. Two such thinners are lacquer thinner and mineral spirits. Both are used for dissolving or thinning oil based paint and also to clean such paint. However, there are differences between the two products with each having its characteristic features that one should be aware of while making use in any painting situation. This article takes a closer look at the two solvents to highlight their differences.

Lacquer Thinner

While it was just turpentine that was available to painters when they needed to dissolve paints in a bid to thin them or just to clean up a place to remove a paint, they now have lacquer thinner which is far more effective than turpentine. Lacquer thinner is a combination of several chemicals that have the capability to dissolve paints, especially lacquer paints. When using a sprayer to apply lacquer on a surface, a lacquer thinner is the only solvent that can be used to make the paint thin or to clean it. It is very volatile and caustic in nature and can clean up a surface even after the paint has dried up.

Lacquer thinners are good enough to clean adhesive residue from a variety of surfaces easily. They can also remove inks from metallic surfaces. However, because lacquer thinners are very strong, they can deteriorate a surface rapidly. Hence it makes sense to test them first on an area that is not important to see their effect before using them.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirit is a solvent used in the paint industry for cleaning and thinning of paints and varnishes. It is a product that is transparent in appearance and is derived from petroleum. In UK, mineral spirit is known as white spirit. This product was made less volatile and aggressive and used for a brief period in dry cleaning industry across the country. In households, it is used to clean brushes after the painting work is over. Mineral spirit is also known as paint thinner and mixed in thick paints to thin them.

Lacquer Thinner vs Mineral Spirits

• Mineral spirits are stickier than lacquer thinner. This is because they retain the lubricating property of petroleum much more than lacquer thinners. This is also the reason mineral spirits are used for lubricating several objects.

• Lacquer thinner is more aggressive and caustic than mineral spirit. It can even remove dried up paint and even residue of adhesive from different surfaces.

• Mineral spirits leave behind oily residue, but there is no such issue with lacquer thinners.

• Lacquer thinners can deteriorate a surface, but there is no chance of damaging a surface with mineral spirits.

• Lacquer thinner has more odors than mineral spirit.

• Mineral spirits are used in screen printing, to clean the screen.

• Mineral spirits are costlier than lacquer thinners.

• Only lacquer thinners can be used for thinning and cleaning of spray paints.