Can Mineral Spirits Remove Paint? (How-To)

Mineral spirits are very effective at cleaning and getting rid of stains from just about any surface. But will mineral spirits remove paint? Here is the answer to that.

Mineral spirits will remove paint stains and finishes from different surfaces including metal and concrete. Mineral spirit is a solvent that is made up of petroleum distillates. This makes the compound strong enough to dissolve and remove paint from just about any surface.

Not only can mineral spirit remove paint. But, it is also safe to use because it has been heavily refined and it doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that can harm you.

However, this is only a snippet. This post reveals more about using mineral spirits to remove paint including the steps involved in carrying out the task. So let’s dive in.

Will Mineral Spirit Remove Dried Paint?

Mineral spirits will remove dried paint from a surface easily by breaking and dissolving the paint particles. This makes it easier to remove and wipe off the dried paint from the surface. Mineral spirits also work by dissolving the polymer and separating the paint pigment making the paint lose its bond and fall off.

Removing dried paint from a surface either a paint stain or a finish can be a bit tedious. This is because the paint would have cured and hardened over time. But with mineral spirits, this task is made easier.

Mineral spirit is made from petroleum distillation and is heavily refined. This makes the solvent capable of removing dried paint from any surface easily.

However, mineral spirit is more suited to removing dried oil-based paints. This is because mineral spirit is a mild irritant and it contains active petroleum distillates that are more suited to dissolving and removing oil paints

This doesn’t mean that mineral spirits can’t remove dried water-based or latex paint. But you should try removing the dried latex paint with a less potent solvent like rubbing alcohol first. Then for stubborn latex paints, that refuse to come off with the rubbing alcohol, you can dab the paint with mineral spirit.

Mineral spirit will dissolve latex paint within minutes by separating the paint pigments. When the paint pigments are separated, the latex paint will lose the bond it has on the surface and fall off.

But how do you remove paint using mineral spirit? Let’s take a closer look.

Related Read: Does Nail Polish Remover Dissolve Paint?

How To Use Mineral Spirit To Remove Paint (In 5 Easy Steps)

Removing paint or finish from a surface using mineral spirit is effective but a task that also requires caution and the right steps. But before we go into detail on how to remove paint, here are a few tools you will need:

  • Mineral Spirit
  • A Pair Of Work Gloves
  • A Face Mask
  • A Bucket Of Warm Water
  • Clean Rags
  • A Scrubbing Brush
  • Mild Detergent
  • A Paint Scraper (Or A Putty Knife)

Now let’s get to work.

For the quick readers, here is how to remove paint using mineral spirit.

  • Clean The Affected Surface
  • Scrape Paint Off The Surface With A Paint Scraper
  • Apply Mineral Spirit On The Paint
  • Wipe The Paint Off The Surface
  • Clean The Spot With Warm Soapy Water

Let’s go into detail. But ensure to put on a face mask and a pair of work gloves before you begin with the task.

1. Clean The Affected Surface

The first thing you want to do is to clean the painted surface before you apply mineral spirit.

The first thing to do is to clean the affected surface with a rag. Cleaning the paint before removing it may seem insignificant but it helps you to get a clearer view of the affected surface and where the paint is. This is even more important if you are working on a dusty surface.

To clean, just wipe the surface with a rag.

2. Scrape The Paint Off

Once you clean the surface, you have to scrape the paint off by using a putty knife.

The next thing to do is to use a paint scraper to remove the bulk of the paint from the surface. You can also use a trowel, metallic putty knife, or any flat object to scrape paint off the surface. Be gentle while scraping the paint off especially if you are working on a soft surface. You wouldn’t want to ruin the surface by putting dents and holes in it.

Scraping paint off before using mineral spirit helps to reduce the amount of paint the mineral spirit has to remove. This also helps to reduce the amount of mineral spirit required. For the record, mineral spirit is expensive.

When you have scrapped the bulk of the paint off, vacuum the spot or dust with a soft brush. You wouldn’t be able to get rid of all the paint from the surface with a paint scraper but not to worry, this is where the mineral spirit comes in.

3. Apply Mineral Spirit On The Paint

Now, apply mineral spirit to the paint and wait a few minutes.

Mineral spirit can be applied directly from its container, a spray bottle, or with a rag. If the remaining paint after you have scrapped isn’t much, you can douse a rag with mineral spirit and use the rag to dab the painted spot. If the remaining paint after scraping is much, you can spray mineral spirit on it or pour it directly on the paint.

However, you should take note of the type of surface you are working on before applying mineral spirit.

If you are trying to remove paint from a sensitive surface or material like fabric or plywood, you should mix the mineral spirit with water first to dilute the concentration.

But if it’s a tough surface you are working on like concrete, you can apply the mineral spirit directly. After applying the mineral spirit, let it sit on the surface for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.

Related Read: Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol To Remove Paint?

4. Wipe The Paint Off

After applying mineral spirit to the paint, take a rag and wipe down the paint.

After a few minutes, you should notice that the paint is coming off even without wiping the surface. The mineral spirit will dissolve the paint pigments making the paint lose bond.

Some paint types might even liquefy (turn liquid) when exposed to mineral spirits. When you notice that the paint is beginning to fall off, change color, change consistency, or liquefy, it’s time to wipe it off.

Use a damp rag to clean and wipe the paint and the mineral spirit off the surface. After wiping the paint off, examine the surface to be sure all the paint is gone. If you still have paint on the surface, apply more mineral spirit on the paint and wipe again.

When you are satisfied with the result, you can move on to the next step.

5. Clean The Surface With Warm Soapy Water

Once you remove the paint by using mineral spirit, you should clean the surface again.

The next step after removing the paint is to clean the surface with warm soapy water. Mix some detergent in a bucket of warm water. Then use the mixture to clean the surface.

If you are working on a porous surface, soak a rag in the warm soapy water and wipe the surface with the rag.

If you are working on a hard surface like concrete, you can wash the surface with soapy water and a scrubbing brush.

The reason for washing the surface with soap is to get rid of any leftover mineral spirit on the surface. Though mineral spirit isn’t toxic, it can still corrode certain surfaces if the concentration of the mineral spirit is high. So washing after using mineral spirit is important to prevent corrosion.

Another thing to know is the type of surfaces that you can use mineral spirits on. Let’s check out some common materials to see if you can use mineral spirit to remove paint from them.

Will Mineral Spirit Remove Stains?

Mineral spirit will remove stains including paint stains, grease, slime, and grime from different surfaces. Mineral spirits can also act as a strong disinfectant to get rid of stains caused by mold and bacteria. This is because mineral spirits contain petroleum distillates which are very active solvents.

Mineral spirit is so effective at getting rid of stains that it is used to clean surfaces and workspaces after heavy-duty tasks. The compound is also used by many professional painters as a cleaning agent after painting. It is used to clean paintbrushes, rollers, paint sprayers, and other equipment used after painting.

To remove stains with mineral spirit, you need to pour the mineral spirit on a lint-free rag and then dab the stained spot with the rag. You can also pour the mineral spirit into a spray bottle and spray the stained spot with the mineral spirit. Let the mineral spirit sit on the spot for a while and then wipe the spot with a rag to get rid of the stain.

To clean painting equipment or work tools with mineral spirit, you can soak the equipment inside a bucket or bowl of mineral spirit for a few minutes. Then use a brush to scrub and remove the loose stains off the equipment.

After, soak the equipment in warm soapy water to remove any leftover mineral spirit on the equipment before storing them.

Now you know how to remove stains with mineral spirit. Let’s check other surfaces.

Related Read: How Long Does Oil-Paint Last?

Will Mineral Spirit Remove Paint From Concrete?

Mineral spirit will remove paint from concrete by dissolving the paint pigment. Mineral spirit will also remove tar and other tough substances off concrete. Not only is mineral spirit efficient to use on concrete, but it’s also safe because mineral spirits can’t etch, stain, or damage concrete surfaces.

Removing paint either a stain or a finish from concrete will take a lot of elbow grease if the right solvent isn’t used. But mineral spirits make the task easier.

Mineral spirit will remove oil-based, acrylic, and water-based paints from concrete by dissolving the paint pigments and the polymer. The polymer is what acts as the binding agent so when it is dissolved, paint can be easily removed from concrete.

To remove paint from concrete, pour mineral spirit directly on the paint and leave it till you notice changes in the paint.

When the paint starts to appear different than it was, use a scrubbing brush to scrub the paint off the concrete. You can add more mineral spirit to the concrete if you still notice paint on it. When the paint is completely off, wash the concrete with warm soapy water and leave it to dry.

Related Read: Does White Spirit Remove Paint?

Will Mineral Spirit Remove Paint From Metal?

Mineral spirit removes paint from different surfaces, including wood. But, will mineral spirits remove paint from metal? Let's see.

Mineral spirit will remove paint from metal but it isn’t best suited for use on metal surfaces. Metallic paint including rust-oleum paint can be removed by using mineral spirits.

However, using mineral spirit to remove paint from metal isn’t the best of choices. This is because the entire process is capable of damaging the metal surface underneath the paint.

Pure mineral spirits are highly concentrated and at this concentration, the mineral spirit is capable of corroding metal surfaces. Also, after using mineral spirit on a surface, it’s advised to clean the surface with warm soapy water but the problem with metal is that warm soapy water increases the chances of rust.

So to remove paint from metal, you can use a less potent solvent like rubbing alcohol or you can strip the paint by using sandpaper or a sanding sponge. Chemical-based paint strippers are also not ideal for use on metal.

Related Read: Can Goo Gone Remove Paint From Clothes?

Will Mineral Spirit Remove Paint From Wood?

Mineral spirits will remove paint from wood. The solvent is strong enough to dissolve and remove different types of paints from wooden surfaces.

However, you shouldn’t use mineral spirits on chemically treated wood because the petroleum distillates in the mineral spirit might react harshly to the chemicals used in treating the wood. This reaction might produce toxic fumes and damage the wooden surface.

Also, you shouldn’t let mineral spirit soak in the wood. So if you want to strip paint off a porous wood like Cedar, it’s best to find another alternative. This is because porous wood doesn’t have the grain packed together.

There are usually tiny pores or holes that allow the mineral spirit to sift through the wood and be absorbed. When this happens, the wood will become discolored or stained and it will be very difficult for paints to adhere to the wood in the future.

So while mineral spirits can remove paint from wood, you shouldn’t let the mineral spirit soak in the wood to prevent damages.

To use mineral spirit on wood, it’s advised to mix the mineral spirit with water first to dilute the concentration of the solvent. Then you can use the mixed mineral spirit on the wood but do not let it sit on the wooden surface for too long.

The risks associated with using mineral spirits on wood might put you off. So if you don’t want to use mineral spirit, you can use rubbing alcohol or a paint stripper designed for use on wood to remove paint from wooden surfaces.

Related Read: How To Dissolve Latex Paint?

Will Mineral Spirit Remove Paint From Brick?

Mineral spirits will remove paint from bricks by liquefying the paint. Painted bricks are usually stripped using mineral spirits or paint strippers.

So to remove paint from brick, you can use mineral spirit. Just douse a rag with mineral spirit and use it to wipe the brick from top to bottom. You can also spray the mineral spirit on the brick using a spray bottle.

Allow the mineral spirit to soak into the brick for a minute. Then you can scrub the brick with a brush or a sponge.

In addition to removing the paint, the mineral spirit will also act as a cleaning agent to get rid of grime from the brick. So not only can mineral spirits remove paint from brick, but it’s also safe to use because it won’t damage the brick and it will also make the brick cleaner.

Final Words

Overall, mineral spirit is an effective solvent that can remove virtually any type of paint from any surface. But before you apply mineral spirit, inspect the surface or ask a professional painter if you can use mineral spirits on the intended surface.

Surfaces like metal, porous wood, and fabric shouldn’t be stripped using undiluted mineral spirit. But if the surface wouldn’t be damaged or smeared by petroleum distillates, you can use mineral spirit on it.

So there you have it. If you liked this post, ensure to check out others like it on this website for more painting tips. Have a nice day.

Leave a Comment