Paint Thinner

Last updated: June 12, 2020

What Does Paint Thinner Mean?

A paint thinner is a solvent used to reduce thickness of oil-based paints or clean up after their use. They can also be used to remove tar buildup and other compounds.

Commercially, solvents labeled "paint thinner" are usually mineral spirits with a flash point at about 104°F (40°C).


Corrosionpedia Explains Paint Thinner

There are several different substances that can be used as paint thinner. Typically, what is referred to as paint thinner is mineral spirits. Mineral spirits are also called white spirits, and are made up of hydrocarbons that are left over from petroleum distillation. Other substances that are used as paint thinners include:

  • Turpentine
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Naphtha
  • Acetone
  • Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)
  • Dimethylformamide (DMF)
  • 2-Butoxyethanol
  • Any of the other glycol ethers

Some other solvents also used in the production of paint thinners include:

  • Ethylbenzene
  • Xylene
  • N-butyl acetate
  • 1-Butanol

A paint thinner solvent has multiple uses in domestic and industrial chemical cleaning process. Paint thinner solvents are most suitable for shellac products and it does not damage other coatings. Many paint thinner solvents are strong, corrosive inorganic acids manufactured with hydrogen chloride. Brick cleaning, concrete etching and swimming pool maintenance are common applications of paint thinners. Some paint thinners are destructive to cellulose, with muriatic acid as the best example.

Paint thinner solvents' affordability is very high compared to other chemical products. Frequently used paint thinner chemical substances are characterized by low odor and less toxicity.


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