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Will Mineral Spirits Melt Plastic?

You’ll likely have some mineral spirits that you want to keep at home if you love painting. However, many people question where they can store the liquid. It is a strong chemical, so you’ll want to be careful.

So, will mineral spirits melt plastic? Yes. Mineral spirits can dissolve some types of plastic. Over time, the liquid wears down plastic containers. You will want to store your mineral spirits in a glass jar instead.

Many oil painters enjoy using mason jars to store their mineral spirits. The jars are cheap, air-tight, and can hold plenty of brushes! If you’re ready to learn about how to store your mineral spirits safely, make sure to continue reading. 

Can You Store Mineral Spirits in Plastic?

You shouldn’t store your mineral spirits in plastic! Mineral spirits can easily break down materials like plastic or rubber. It can break thin plastics down very quickly, so you won’t want to store this chemical in them. If you put the mineral spirits in plastic, you could run into several issues.

Instead, you can keep the mineral spirits in their original container. The original container usually seals well, preventing the liquid from evaporating. However, you can also safely store the mineral spirits in glass or metal containers.

I personally use Mason Jars to store my mineral spirits and other harsh solvents. They are airtight and will keep your solvents safe.

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Soft plastics such as ABS, EPDM, and HDPE dissolve very quickly when in contact with mineral spirits. However, some gallon plastic bags are safe to use with mineral spirits. Make sure you check the packaging before pouring your mineral spirits inside.

Does Mineral Spirits Hurt Plastic?

Mineral spirits will hurt plastic. The liquid can damage the surface of the plastic, causing it to break down. Eventually, it could even leak through, leaving you with a mess to clean up.

If you soak plastic in mineral spirits, which is common with 3D printing projects, you should only do it for 20 seconds at a time. If you let the plastic soak for too long in the liquid, it’s going to melt it.

My favorite mineral spirit is Gamblin Gamsol Mineral Spirits because they work great, and are odorless!

Overall, you want to remember that mineral spirits can hurt plastic. You don’t want to expose plastics to the chemical for significant amounts of time.

What Solvent Can Dissolve Plastic?

Many solvents can dissolve plastic. Acetone and mineral spirits are two common solvents that can break down plastics. While both liquids can thin paint, they’re not the same. 

Acetone is more known for dissolving plastic than mineral spirits. It also works well for cleaning up spilled paint and cleaning paint brushes- much like mineral spirits. However, acetone can interact with different types of plastic and have varying effects. 

Abstract Painting

For example, acetone will dissolve PVC and polystyrene. It won’t dissolve nylon or polypropylene, however. If you want to dissolve a plastic in acetone, check that it works first.

Will Paint Thinner Melt Plastic?

Paint thinners can consist of mineral spirits. They won’t melt all plastics quickly but can easily break down thin, soft plastics. It can melt through styrofoam almost instantly! Paint thinners can also smear acrylic plastics and dissolve them, although much slower.

If your paint thinner comes in a plastic container, you can trust that it won’t eat through it. However, you won’t want to pour the liquid into a plastic container. It’s best to use a glass one instead.

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Metal containers are another option, although you’re less likely to have an empty one at home to use. Mineral spirits help prevent corrosion in metal, so it’s safe to store them inside. Overall, you have plenty of options for storing your paint thinners- without putting them inside a plastic container. 

Can You Pour Mineral Spirits Down the Drain?

If you’re working with mineral spirits, you’re probably wondering what to do with them when finished. You should never pour mineral spirits down the drain! Solvents that go into the drain can enter the environment and cause much harm and pollution.

Instead, you can store your mineral spirits in a glass mason jar for further use. If the liquid is dirty and you want to get rid of it, you can soak it up using spare rags that you take to the hazardous waste facility in your area.

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These facilities deal with solvents such as mineral spirits. They safely dispose of it so that the liquid doesn’t make its way into the environment. You may want to contact them and determine how they prefer you deliver the mineral spirits.

In short, you should never pour any chemicals down the drain! You can be sure that it won’t end up in the groundwater, which would harm your neighborhood and the environment.

Does Mineral Spirits Damage Plexiglass?

Mineral spirits shouldn’t noticeably damage plexiglass, although you shouldn’t use this chemical to clean it. Most people only allow the chemical to sit on the plexiglass to not damage the surface. It’s fine for the liquid to make brief contact.

However, leaving the mineral spirits on the plexiglass for long periods could cause damage. If you need to clean plexiglass, you’ll want to use some soapy water and cloth instead. 

That said, mineral spirits won’t damage actual glass at all. You can pour the thinner into a glass jar and clean your paintbrushes. Some artists place a piece of steel wool at the bottom of the jar first, so they can rub the bristles on it to clean them easier.

Another great option to clean oil paint brushes with is Linseed Oil. This works great, and is less harsh than turpentine.

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When you finish working on your oil painting for the day, you can close the jar tightly. Glass jars usually have a firm seal, so you can easily store the mineral spirits for the next time you paint. If you don’t put the lid on, the mineral spirits will evaporate quickly.

Is Paint Thinner the Same As Mineral Spirits?

First of all, mineral spirits are a type of paint thinner. Although, that doesn’t mean that every paint thinner is mineral spirits. If you’re painting with oils, you should use mineral spirits over the other types of paint thinners.

Mineral spirits thin oil paints effectively and are great for cleaning paintbrushes. Depending on the type of paint thinner you choose, you might not get the deep clean you want.

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Additionally, mineral spirits consist of refined, distilled petroleum. They’re less toxic than other types of paint thinners. Many oil painters use it to give their paint a smoother finish when it dries. Many brands of mineral spirits also have formulas that don’t have a strong scent.

However, mineral spirits tend to cost more than other paint thinners. The liquid also isn’t compatible with some paints and can irritate your skin. Make sure to wash your hands after touching chemicals! 

Final Thoughts

In short, mineral spirits can melt plastic, depending on what type of plastic it is. While it does make it useful for 3D printing, it’s harder to store the chemicals at home for painting. Many painters choose to use glass mason jars to hold the liquid. Although, if the liquid came in a plastic container, you could continue to store it in there.

Overall, mineral spirits are perfect for working with oil paint! If you want to get into the medium, you’ll need to learn how to store it safely. You should never use plastic because the spirits can wear through it over time.

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

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