How Long Do Mineral Spirits Take To Dry?

Figuring out how long your paint remover takes to dry fully can sometimes be tricky. For example, do you want to use mineral spirits to remove oil-based paints or stains from a surface in your home but have no clue how long they take to dry? What are mineral spirits, and how do you use them?

Luckily, we've extensively researched these questions and have the answers below!

You can typically expect mineral spirits to dry within 20 minutes. However, dry times can depend on the temperature where you use your mineral spirits, with warmer temperatures being best for your product.

Additionally, you want to wait until the mineral spirits dry or evaporate on a surface before touching, repainting, or using it.

As we start this post, we'll discuss how long it takes for mineral spirits to dry and show you how to use them. Whether you're refinishing a painted surface, need to remove stains, or have other questions, we're here to lend a hand. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

What Are Mineral Spirits? How Do You Use Them?

Mineral spirits is a clear product that you can use to remove oil-based paint, stains, and varnishes and clean up paint equipment and oily materials.

One quart of odorless mineral spirits

This product works wonders for removing oil-based products, which can be very difficult. Mineral spirits are made with 100% petroleum distillates and don't have any additives.

Therefore, they are somewhat potent, often on the more flammable side. Luckily, mineral spirits should dry pretty fast on surfaces, so you don't have to worry.

In addition, you also don't see mineral spirits being used on non-oil-based paints, stains, and varnishes since they're oil specific. Most new paints are water-based, so mineral spirits have declined in popularity and use over the years.

With that said, they're still incredibly handy for antique restoration, as many older pieces have oil-based products on them. Some also know this product as "white spirit," so keep an eye out for that name.

Many compare mineral spirits to paint thinner, as they're very similar.

How Long Do Mineral Spirits Take To Dry?

How long do mineral spirits take to dry, How Long Do Mineral Spirits Take To Dry?

You can usually expect mineral spirits to dry within 15 or 20 minutes. Since temperature and moisture can affect this drying timeline, you want to try and have your mineral spirits in a warm, dry place.

For example, if you need to remove oil-based paint from a cabinet, we recommend doing this somewhere it isn't too chilly or humid.

Room temperature should be fine for mineral spirits, and that will have them evaporate within 20 minutes. However, if you're in a super wet, hot climate, you may need to wait longer.

Using mineral spirits can be compared to paint thinner/remover, so treat it similarly. In addition, you want to try and avoid being anywhere near a flame while using mineral spirits because they're highly flammable.

Remember, your mineral spirits are purified petroleum, so the smell will be enough to keep you away from them. Ideally, you will leave your piece alone for 15-20 minutes with the mineral spirits on them.

After that, you can continue working and refinishing your surface.

How Can I Get My Mineral Spirits To Dry Faster?

If you notice your mineral spirits take ages to dry, you aren't using enough product on your surface. Many experts and DIYers claim that the more mineral spirits you use to remove oil-based products, the faster the dry time.

As we mentioned before, mineral spirits also dry best in warmer temperatures. Therefore, using them outdoors in the dead of winter might explain the longer dry time.

The same applies to super wet conditions, which can also slow down mineral spirits. We recommend using enough product to remove the oil-based paint/stain/varnish you have and allowing it to evaporate for 20 minutes.

Sometimes, this process will take longer, and that's okay. Just be patient and avoid letting your surface sit out in the elements while using mineral spirits.

Can You Use Mineral Spirits On Wood?

Yes! One of the more popular materials to use mineral spirits for is wood. As we said, mineral spirits are specifically for removing oil-based products from a given surface.

On top of that, they also don't damage or strip wood, making them a great option. According to experts, mineral spirits work with finishes by softening them to lose bonds with the wood surface.

So, if your wood piece has an oil-based stain and you use mineral spirits: the natural wood should begin to show after an application.

However, it is a good idea to test your mineral spirits on an unseen area of the wood before application. Sometimes, older pieces will stain or change color after mineral spirits.

Again, since you're likely refinishing them anyways, that may not be a problem, but it's still something to consider. The last thing you want to do is work too aggressively with the oil remover only to damage your wood surface.

Since mineral spirits dissolve oil finishes, it is possible for them to also affect the surface below.

Can You Clean Old Furniture With Mineral Spirits? How Long Does It Take To Dry?

Another popular method of using mineral spirits is for cleaning older furniture and decor. Generally, you want to take a rag and moisten it with mineral spirits before cleaning.

Once your rag is covered in the solution, you can gently use it along the surface of your furniture and decor. However, you only want to do this on oil-based residue, which includes polish, wax, oil, and greasy grime.

You can even use mineral spirits to clean fingerprints or dirty hand marks from older furniture, so that's something to remember the next time you clean.

The dry time should be 15+ minutes. Depending on your home's climate and the amount of mineral spirits you use, your dry time could be a little longer, closer to 20-25 minutes.

You may have to apply more mineral spirits for more severe oil soiling or damage, hence a longer wait.

U.S. Art Supply Odorless Mineral Spirits Thinner

This mineral spirit product works well for removing oil residue on most surfaces, can be used like turpentine, is perfect for cleaning and DIY projects, doesn't have a strong odor, works inside and outdoors, and comes in a 125-milliliter container.

Follow this link to view it on Amazon.

Do You Need To Rinse Off Mineral Spirits Once They Dry?

Wiping the table with microfiber cloth

Although this isn't always necessary, you can rinse or wipe down a surface you treated with mineral spirits. Remember, you use this product to remove oil-based products and residue, so it might leave a bit of tackiness behind.

In that case, we suggest grabbing a damp cloth and wiping down the spot(s) where you used mineral spirits. However, you want to ensure your mineral spirits dry before wiping them off or rinsing.

For example, if you're painting with oil-based products, it's fine to wash off the mineral spirits from your piece or brush. Many experts warn against doing this in the sink since mineral spirits are petroleum and can harm wildlife and the environment.

A Butterfly House claims that even with soap and water to clean the mineral spirits, letting them go down the drain can be considered harmful/negligent.

Therefore, it might be best to throw away mineral spirit-soaked towels, materials, and leftover products rather than pour them down any drains.

Luckily, if you're using your mineral spirit product for cleaning or refinishing something, you can simply let them evaporate into the air as they dry.

Should I Wear Gloves When Using Mineral Spirits?

Treatment of a wooden surface for protection against aging

Yes! If you need to use mineral spirits, we recommend putting on a pair of gloves. Since this product is petroleum, it can cause skin irritation and burning.

Many experts suggest wearing nitrile gloves when working with mineral spirits since they can best protect your skin. When it comes to design, try and choose elbow-length gloves for added protection.

Of course, you can also wear normal gloves to the wrist, followed by a long-sleeve shirt.

Some mineral spirit products even include gloves, so a bundle might be something you're into. On top of skin protection, you also want to use mineral spirits in a well-ventilated space.

Without proper air circulation, you can get sick from the fumes, leading to headaches, illness, and even a hospital visit. Petroleum, especially in higher concentrations, can become risky, so please wear gloves and work in open-air spaces.

PEIPU Nitrile Gloves

These nitrile gloves have a powder-free, disposable design, are perfect for cleaning and working with heavy-duty products, protect skin against liquids, gases, oils, grease, glass, and sharp objects, and come in all different sizes.

Check out these nitrile gloves on Amazon.

Which Dries Faster: Mineral Spirits Or Paint Thinner?

Startex brand of green paint thinner

Between mineral spirits and paint thinner, you can expect both products to have somewhat quick timelines. With that said, paint thinner may dry a bit faster (five minutes) than mineral spirits but often takes around 20.

According to The Idaho Painter, many prefer the slower dry time of mineral spirits, as it has a slightly smoother, more level coat on surfaces.

In contrast, paint thinner can be more abrasive, leaving surfaces less smooth and attractive.

To Finish

Whether you need mineral spirits for cleaning or removing paint from your furniture, it's always good to understand its dry time. We found that mineral spirits should fully dry in about 20 minutes on most surfaces.

You can use mineral spirits for paints, stains, and varnishes if they're oil-based. Moreover, you can use it on a rag to clean the wear and tear from your furniture caused by oil.

Temperature and moisture can also affect mineral spirit dry time, so keep that in mind.

And while we have your attention, check out these helpful related posts:

How to Get Paint or Stain off Vinyl Siding [4 Ways]

How Long Does Rustoleum Take To Dry? [Inc. Metal, Plastic, & Wood]

How Much Paint Thinner To Use for Spray Gun? [Ratio Recommendations]

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