Mineral spirits is more highly refined and has less odor than paint thinner. But which is better? For cleaning brushes, mineral spirits works a little better, but paint thinner might be the best choice since it works almost as good and costs 35% less. Other than the price and the smell, the differences between the two solvents are subtle:
- Both are petroleum products.
- Both can be used to thin oil-based paints and varnishes and to clean paintbrushes.
- Paint thinner is mineral spirits, but in a less refined form.
- Mineral spirits is not as stinky.
- Mineral spirits cost 35% more.
No matter which solvent you choose, use it in a well-ventilated space and observe proper safety precautions.