Difference Between Mineral Spirits and Acetone Spirits (with Table)

Mineral spirits and acetone spirits are two very widely used thinners. People mostly confuse them and use one for the other.

Most people confuse between mineral and acetone spirits the main reason being that they both are used as thinners. Mineral and Acetone spirits are not the same and should not be treated as the same.

Painters use mineral spirits as a thinner to thin the paint before using them with paint sprays. Acetone spirits on the other hand are used to thin lacquer.

Some people do not prefer to use Mineral spirits this is because they are oil-based and leave a residue behind. Acetone is a natural compound and is also found in our body in small amounts.

Solvents and thinners are indispensable necessities for painting. Acetone and mineral spirits are two of the most well-known ones. They are comparative, however, there are different applications where each one is ideal in their specialized application.

The difference between mineral spirits and acetone spirits is that mineral spirits are used to thin oil-based paints while acetone spirits are used to thin lacquers.

Comparison Table Between Mineral Spirits and Acetone Spirits.

Parameters of ComparisonMineral SpiritAcetone Spirit
Used to thinMineral spirits are used to thin oil-based paints.Acetone spirits are used to thin lacquers for example nail polish.
Water solubilityMineral spirits are not water-soluble.Acetone spirits are water-soluble.
FlammabilityMineral spirits are less flammable hence they present less fire hazard.Acetone spirits are highly flammable hence they present a high fire hazard.
OdourMineral spirits are either odourless or smell like kerosene. Acetone spirits have a very pungent smell.
Appearance/ColorMineral spirits are transparent. Acetone spirits are colourless.
LifeMineral spirits have a very long life as they evaporate very slowlyAcetone spirits have an indefinite shelf life. They may go bad if they are exposed to air, water or light.

What are Mineral Spirits?

Mineral spirits are made out of petroleum and are very cheaply available in the market. These also have a very long life.

Mineral spirits are also called as white spirit, mineral turpentine and Stoddard solvent. These are purified petroleum distillate which was made as a substitute for turpentine. They became instantly more popular than turpentine after their introduction.

Mineral spirits are usually odourless and sometimes may smell like kerosene. They are an organic solvent which has various applications. They are mostly used as a paint thinner and hence also called as ‘painter’s friend’.

Mineral spirits are also recyclable. They have to be disposed of very carefully as they may contaminate groundwater if not disposed of properly. They can also cause skin burns.

Mineral spirits have a primary role in the oil industry, furniture industry, dry cleaning industry and mechanical industry.

Mineral spirits are water-soluble in nature and transparent in appearance. They are less flammable and hence pose very little risk to fire.

Klean Strip - Solvent Mineral Spirits Quart

What are Acetone Spirits?

Acetone is an organic solvent. In earlier days when chemical synthesis was not introduced acetone spirits were produced using fermentation. Production of acetone spirits using chemical synthesis methods started in the 1960s.

Acetone spirits are widely used in the beauty industry and the plastics manufacturing industry. It is also known as propanone. It is the primary ingredient in nail polish and acne remover treatments. It is also used as a degreaser.

Acetone has a strong pungent smell. It is soluble in water and has a transparent appearance. It is highly flammable and hence poses a high risk of catching fire.

Acetone spirits can be used to remove nail polish, dissolve ink stains, remove scuff marks from floors, remove permanent marker, clean tools and dissolve glues.

Acetone had to be disposed of very carefully. If one drains it down his/her sink it may damage the PVC pipes. Acetone is a paint stripper but not a paint thinner.

Using Acetone to Clean Laminate Floors | swisskrono.com

Main Differences Between Mineral Spirits and Acetone Spirits

  1. Mineral spirits are used to thin oil-based paints while Acetone spirits are used to thin lacquers like nail polish. Many-a-times people use them interchangeably it must be noted that mineral spirits and acetone spirits cannot be used interchangeably.
  2. Mineral spirits are not water-soluble while Acetone spirits are water-soluble.
  3. Mineral spirits are less flammable due to this they pose less fire hazard. Acetone spirits are highly flammable hence they pose a high fire hazard. In simple words, Acetone spirits present more hazard towards fire due to their high flammability.
  4. Mineral spirits are either odourless or smell like kerosene while Acetone spirits have a very pungent smell. Odour-wise they are very easy to differentiate the one with a bearable odour is mineral spirit while the one with a pungent or unbearable odour is acetone spirit.
  5. Mineral spirits are transparent while acetone spirits are colourless.
  6. Mineral spirits have a very long life as they evaporate very slowly. On the other hand, acetone spirits have an indefinite shelf life and they go bad only when they are exposed to air, water or light.

Conclusion

Mineral spirit and acetone spirit are both organic solvents. Both of them are very useful and have significant applications in our day to day lives.

Both of them cannot be used on plastics. Both can be used as degreasers and can also be used to remove paints. Both of them are flammable and have to be used in highly ventilated areas.

Mineral spirits are used in the oil industry, paint industry, dry cleaning industry and mechanical industry. Acetone spirits are used in beauty and plastic manufacturing industry. Mineral spirits and acetone spirits cannot be used interchangeably.

Appearance-wise mineral spirits are transparent while acetone spirits are colourless. Another aspect where they differ is their smell. While mineral spirits are odourless and sometimes may smell like kerosene, acetone spirits have a very pungent smell.

Mineral spirits do not evaporate as quickly as acetone spirits. Both of them are widely used and if a person knows the correct use of them he/she can generate a lot of productivity out of them.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10915810701876786
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10915810701876786