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Are Mineral Spirits Flammable?

Mineral spirits are incredibly useful when you are painting with oil paints. It can help you bring life back to old oil paints or clean up spills and clean your brushes. As popular as this product is, you might not know everything about it. For example, is this product flammable and dangerous?

So, are mineral spirits flammable? Yes! Mineral spirits are extremely flammable according to OSHA. This is due to the fact that it can catch fire and has a flashpoint that is lower than 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the degree that items are not considered flammable. Shockingly, the flashpoint sits around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since your main concern when using art supplies is remaining safe, it is incredibly important that you properly store your mineral spirits. Keep them away from anything that gets too hot and always avoid using them in an area that doesn’t have proper ventilation. Let’s read on to find out more!

Are Mineral Spirits Combustible?

If something is flammable, that doesn’t mean it is combustible. However, mineral spirits are both flammable and combustible. This means they are even more dangerous than you would expect, so you need to take extra precautions with the liquid.

Mineral spirits do have the potential to combust if it reaches a high enough temperature. While this temperature is extremely high (743 degrees Fahrenheit), it is still considered combustible. This is because it can catch on fire with no source of ignition. 

I like to use Gamblin Gamson Odorless Mineral Spirits, because while they’re still flammable, being odorless helps out a lot while painting.

You also need to be extremely careful with how you dispose of the rags or cloths you use when you are working with mineral spirits. Rags and cloths that have mineral spirits on them are likely to combust. This means that you can’t just dispose of oil-soaked rags or cloth anyway you want, you need to be cautious.

To greatly reduce the chance of your oily rags combusting, you need to have a metal container that has a lid, water to fill the metal container with, and a stone for weight. Wearing gloves, place the mineral spirit rag into the metal container and fill the container with just enough water to submerge the rag.

You will then need to place the stone in the container to keep the rag down and very tightly seal the container. Contact your hazardous waste facility to find out the procedure for disposing of this container. In some cases, they will pick it up from you, but in others you will need to transport to them.

Is Turpentine Flammable?

Turpentine is flammable and even has a lower flashpoint than mineral spirits. Turpentine has the ability to catch fire at just 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Even the fumes of turpentine are flammable. 

For this reason, it is extremely important to keep your turpentine in a sealed container that is kept in a dark, cool, well-ventilated area while you aren’t using it. It is also essential to make sure there is nothing that can potentially spark a flame while in storage.

I like to store my turpentine is an airtight stainless steel container. This ensures that its stored properly, and won’t catch on fire.

Not only is turpentine flammable, but it is also combustible. It has a much lower auto-ignite temperature than mineral spirits at 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing turpentine properly is incredibly important to ensure the safety of your home and everyone in it.

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Turpentine is so flammable that it can even be used to start a fire if you have nothing else. This is clearly not the best idea since turpentine and its fumes are toxic, but it can really help you out if you are in a pinch.

Can I Store Mineral Spirits in a Glass Jar?

A glass jar with a sealed lid is the best alternative to storing mineral spirits in the container you bought them in. Close the lid as tightly as possible to ensure that no fumes escape and cause problems. 

Storing mineral spirits in their original container will be your best option because you know it is safe. Since that container is what the manufacturers sold it in, it is designed to keep in mineral spirits and their fumes.

I recommend getting some Mason Jars if you want to store them in glass. I also use a Stainless Steele Airtight Container to store turpentine and other solvents. They’re both great options.

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You should be able to find glass containers that can safely store mineral spirits at your local craft or art supply store. Most of these containers will be glass or aluminum like the original container. You should always avoid plastic with mineral spirits because the liquid can easily eat through the plastic and cause several problems.

Are Mineral Spirits Harmful?

Mineral spirits are incredibly harmful. They are incredibly dangerous if you breathe them in, get them in your mouth or eyes, and they are dangerous to the environment. It is extremely important to use mineral spirits properly to prevent any damage to your health.

If you happen to get mineral spirits in your mouth by accident, you can experience some awful side effects. For example, you might get a headache, have uncontrollable coughing, experience bleeding in your lungs, vomiting, kidney damage, brain damage, or potentially death depending on how much you swallow. 

If you get mineral spirits on your skin, you may or may not have a reaction. Each person is different, so each person will have a different reaction. If you are lucky, you will just have some redness on your skin and maybe some discomfort. In more severe cases, you might develop a rash, feel some burning, or have an allergic reaction.

I like to use Gamblin Gamson Mineral Spirits because they are doorless, which tends to help while using it. Turpentine for example has a very strong odor, so using an odorless mineral spirits is always a plus!

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Breathing in mineral spirit fumes can lead you to have some discomfort in your throat and lungs. Should you already have a sensitive respiratory system, such as having asthma, you can experience airway spasms that lead to breathing problems.

Some of the most recognized side effects associated with mineral spirits include an increase in your heart rate, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and confusion. You might also have some shortness of breath or fluid in your lungs if you are exposed to mineral spirits for a long period of time. 

Mineral spirits are also hazardous to the environment. If you don’t dispose of them properly, they can easily make their way into the soil or water supply, causing problems for plants and animals in your area.

You never know if you are going to have mild side effects or severe side effects, so it is important to be as safe as possible. When you are working with mineral spirits, it is essential that you take all of the proper precautions to protect yourself. Wear long clothes, gloves, eye protection, and a mask. You will also need to work in a well-ventilated area or outside if you can.

Final Thoughts

Although mineral spirits are incredibly useful, they are also incredibly hazardous. They have toxic fumes, are flammable, and can spontaneously combust under the right circumstances. This liquid needs to be used with as much caution and protection as you possibly can.

You can’t dispose of mineral spirits or mineral spirit rags in your normal trash. They need to be taken to your local waste management facility so they can properly dispose of them. If you just throw the mineral spirits and rags in the trash, you risk them combusting or catching on fire which is a major hazard.

You will also want to make sure you protect yourself when you handle mineral spirits. They can be really harmful to your health, so you need to wear long clothes, face mask, eye protection, gloves, and anything else you can think of to protect yourself from coming in contact with the liquid.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your painted project turns out great! Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

To view my personal artwork collection click here.  All of my artwork is one of a kind and comes ready to hang. You can also find my work at The Gallery SOHO, in the Pomona Valley Art Association.

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