Mineral Spirits vs. Paint Thinner

Learn the differences and similarities between mineral spirits and paint thinner.

A can of paint thinner and a can of odorless mineral spirits | Construction Pro Tips

Comparing Mineral Spirits and Paint Thinner

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:

Similarities and Differences Between Mineral Spirits and Paint Thinner

  • 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 between mineral spirits and paint thinner, use it in a well-ventilated space and observe proper safety precautions. Next, check out our best tips for cleaning and maintaining your paint sprayer.