How To Clean Paint Brushes With Mineral Spirits

How To Clean Paint Brushes With Mineral Spirits


Needing to clean paint brushes with mineral spirits, because you used oil stains, varnishes, Alkyd oil paints? Knowing best cleaning techniques, for your brushes, using most common paint solvents on the market today.

Mineral spirits is a staple item for a painter, just as salt & pepper is to a chief, or a set of tools are for a mechanic. Mineral spirits has same flash point as paint thinners, in blue labeled cans being a necessity, for a brush working with paints.

Having lower flash points than some other solvents, which clean paint brushes much quicker, however mineral spirits or paint thinner being much safer to use.

A little of background with mineral spirits. Turpentine was nearly totally replaced on retail paint shelves by early 1950's with mineral spirits. Reason for this replacement or shift from Turpentine to white spirits was a higher grade of petroleum needed to make it. Distilling either type of mineral spirits is much cheaper, using less quality petroleum crude oil.

How We Clean Paint Brushes With Mineral Spirits & Thinners

Below is our brush cleaning techniques, also recommendations using mineral spirits. Knowing how to properly clean your valued paint brushes, using mineral spirits or paint thinners will ensure brushes many years to come.

Depending upon what you used your brush painting, paint thinners, or mineral spirits will clean your brushes without harming handles, shanks, or glues holding bristles together.

If paint is still wet with brush, placing brush in a small upright container, submersing bristles for several minutes is just fine. Swooshing brush, still submerged in solvent, thinning paint inside bristles, once it's pulled out, ready to dab dry with a clean painter's rag.

Keep dunking brush in solvent until bristles appear clean from oil paints or stains you previously used. Once bristles cleaned, they will not dry out stiff, allowing brush to be usable once again.

Now, if paint has dried in brush bristles, you'll need to keep brushes in solvent based products much longer. This could take several hours, if not days, depending upon how much paint has dried in bristles.

Therefore, best recommendations is never leave paint brushes dry up with any paint, much less oil based ones. I know you may be very tired after a strenuous day of painting, but cleaning brushes is part of that overall painting task, so you're not totally done until you have cleaned that brush!


Now let's face it, you never know when you'll need that quality paint brush again. Stocking an ample supply of mineral spirits is always best on-hand.

Nope, hot soapy water will not dissolve or cut Alkyd oil paints, to properly clean paint brushes without using a solvent like this. Saving empty coffee plastic containers makes a excellent and convenient container, cleaning them in.

After getting all oil paint out of brushes, I tend to soak them with Turpentine. Wrapping, sealing in plastic, saves original shape of bristles. Once unwrapping next time you use a brush, feels like brand new!

Well, must say Turpentine smells good to me, smelling like you've been working with paint. So having both solvents at your disposal, cleaning brushes after each use of Alkyd oil paints or stains.

Mineral Spirits Common Uses

    • Common household cleaners
    • Mineral spirits a staple in most painter's toolbox cleaning paint brushes
    • Dry cleaners uses mineral spirits for dry cleaning process
    • Mineral spirits is just one of several hydrocarbon solvents
    • Many commodity chemicals uses mineral spirits

Mineral spirits is a very versatile cleaning solvent, properly cleaning paint brushes, with tons of many other uses you might need cutting grease, grim, of course oils on anything from lawnmowers, to cleaning parts of any motorized tool in your garage.

Heck, cleaning up hand tools, besides paint brushes, is a common practice with mineral spirits in my shop.

Where To Find Mineral Spirits & Paint Thinners To Clean Paint Brushes

There are many places you can find mineral spirits today. From Walmart™, to Home Depot™, and every local paint store nearby. Generally these solvents are grouped together in the flammable section of each store.

There you'll find paint thinner in some stores, while others have mineral spirits, but both very similar cleaning paint brushes.

I bet there is mineral spirits within 10 minutes of your home. Unless of course you are in a very remote area of the US.

Even up near the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, in Grand Lake, you can find a quart or gallon of this!

Hope you enjoyed learning how to properly clean paint brushes using mineral spirits, paint thinners, also Turpentine. Just remember not letting your paint brush dry out with these paints & stains in brush bristles, and you'll be fine. Ready to use them next time you need to.

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[…] the excess water or mineral spirits out of the brush is going to be next question, as it would be mine, if I did not know […]


[…] PPG™, Valspar™, all have their own version of lifetime paints. No need using Mineral Spirits, as all these listed are water-borne 100% Acrylic Latex paints. Experiencing greatest results using […]


[…] PPG™, Valspar™, all have their own version of lifetime paints. No need using Mineral Spirits, as all these listed are water-borne 100% Acrylic Latex paints. Experiencing greatest results using […]

1 year ago

Thanks. Just visited Grand Lake in late October. Beautiful.