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How Long Should Paint Thinner Sit?

As the name suggests, paint thinner helps thin out the paint to make it easier to work with. But that's just one of its many uses. And if you're wondering how long should paint thinner sit, we asked experts for the answer on that matter.

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According to professionals, paint thinner should sit around for at least twenty minutes on average.

Sometimes, it takes more or less depending on the brand of the paint thinner that you are using. As such, it's always best that you check the guide left by the manufacturers on the paint thinner.

In this article, we'll see why it's necessary to let paint thinner sit first, as well as talk about its other uses. Not only that, but we'll be discussing some safety hazards that come when using paint thinner. So, be sure to continue reading to find out more about this topic.

Adhesion between wood by screw on dark background and thinner in clay pots of cover wood, How Long Should Paint Thinner Sit?

How Long To Let Paint Thinner Sit And Why?

As mentioned earlier, manufacturers would leave behind a detailed list of instructions when using their paint thinner.

And among them was the duration of how long a paint thinner should sit. This time varies but it always averages out to around twenty minutes.

The reason why you need to let paint thinner sit is so that it has enough time to soften paint on the walls. By reacting with the air, the paint thinner would get to work in breaking down the paint to help strip it down easily.

The can with a thinner from the upside view

But as we talked about in the beginning, paint thinner also helps thin out paint that you're going to use. You do this by mixing the correct type of paint thinner and the paint that you wish to use inside a container with the recommended ratio by the manufacturers.

In this instance, there's no need for you to let the paint thinner sit before use.

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How To Use Paint Thinner To Clean Painting Tools

Paint thinner also helps clean painting tools after every use. And in this section, we will discuss the simple steps in doing so.

Also, always remember to wear a mask, safety goggles, and gloves when handling paint thinner. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and shoes are also a must when working with paint thinner.

Pour Paint Thinner Into A Small Container

The first thing that you need to prepare is the container. Make sure that you're not using a plastic container during this step in the process. That's because the chemical composition of the paint thinner can eat away at the plastic and cause a leak.

As much as possible, use a metal container to hold the paint thinner. Make sure not to overfill it as well. Leave at least a quarter of space so that the paint thinner won't overflow once you start dipping things in.

Pouring a paint thinner in a mixing container in a workshop

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Clean The Painting Tools

Gather around all the painting tools that you had recently used. This includes paintbrushes, paint rollers, and the like. Then, dip them all into the container and let them sit around for at least five minutes so that the thinner can break down the paint.

Wiggle the painting tools around the paint thinner every couple of minutes to help shake the paint off. Then, prepare another container and fill it up with a warm, soapy solution. Dishwashing soap and the like can work.

Next, transfer the painting tools into the soapy solution and proceed to clean each one thoroughly. Make sure to always keep your gloves on during this process.

Remove all the residual paint before transferring them to a shaded place to let dry.

This step varies depending on how much paint is on the painting tools and how long they have been there.

For tools that have hard paint on them, you may need to soak them overnight. If the paint hasn't softened the next day, repeat the process until the paint starts stripping off.

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Use A Dry Rag For Larger Objects

For objects larger than the painting tools, use a dry rag that's lying around your home. Soak the rag lightly into the paint thinner and start wiping off the paint from the trays and buckets that you used during the painting.

If you find it difficult to do so, wipe away as much of the paint first before applying a thin layer of paint thinner over the objects. Let it sit for around twenty minutes before you continue wiping the paint off.

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How Long Does It Take For Paint Thinner To Evaporate?

Cans of paint, thinner, brush, roller, on the floor of parquet

The evaporation rate of a paint thinner greatly differs depending on the situation. When applied thinly over a surface, it would take a few minutes for it to evaporate.

If we're talking about a paint thinner inside a container, then it depends on the amount. It would take around two hours for 10ml worth of paint thinner to evaporate inside a small cup. For context, that's around two teaspoons on average.

If we're talking about a large container filled with paint thinner, it would take days or even weeks for it to completely evaporate.

However, bear in mind that this discussion applies to a paint thinner left out in the open without a cover. You won't have to worry about the paint thinner evaporating if you would store it correctly.

Safety Concerns When Letting Paint Thinner Sit

Earlier, we mentioned what you need to wear when handing paint thinner. Why? A mixture of volatile organic compounds, VOCs for short, is what creates paint thinners.

Inside a poorly ventilated room, the gas that this mixture releases slowly builds up. And if you inhale too much, it can cause serious health problems.

Light dizziness and mild headache from inhaling paint thinner can lead to severe damage to your lungs and would slowly work its way throughout the rest of your body.

Not only that, but paint thinner can cause serious damage to the skin if you get some on accidentally. It can lead to severe rashes and pain, almost like a burning sensation spreading throughout the skin.

In some cases, it can lead to a serious injury that would end up with you at the hospital.

As such, it's best to always be mindful when handling such a product around your home. Make sure to always wear the necessary safety gear and store the paint thinner properly after every use.

Tips When Handling Paint Thinner

We mentioned this throughout the article but the use of safety clothes, safety goggles, and masks when handling paint thinner is important. Without them, you expose yourself not only to the paint thinner itself but the fumes that it releases.

Another thing to take note of when working with paint thinner is proper ventilation. This is so that the fumes won't build up inside the room and create a highly combustible atmosphere.

Make sure to keep the doors and windows open when working with paint thinner, and make use of exhaust fans when necessary.

If you accidentally get paint thinner on your skin, don't fret. Wash the affected area with soap and cold water to avoid skin irritation.

For situations where someone accidentally splashes paint thinner near their eyes or ingests some of it, seek medical help immediately. 

How To Store Paint Thinner?

A gallon of thinner placed next to old concrete wall, while a painter is removing sticky rough glue and tape remain on the wall, as a p

After every use, make sure to properly seal the container of the paint thinner. Then, store it in a cool, dry area that's out of reach from children and pets.

On the paint thinner, there should be a guideline on how to properly store the paint thinner. Each paint thinner has a slightly different set of directions to follow based on the manufacturer.

While all would require a cool and dry place for their paint thinner, the manufacturers may specify the ideal temperature needed.

This is so that the paint thinner would not evaporate. Additionally, paint thinners are combustible. They can easily explode and start a fire in areas that exceed the recommended temperature.

So it's ideal to store your paint thinner inside a shed, garage, or even a basement, provided that they meet the criteria. Just as long as the temperatures in those places don't get too hot, there won't be any issue.

Concluding Statement

Adhesion between wood by screw on dark background and thinner in clay pots of cover wood

To recap, most paint thinners need to sit for at least 20 minutes upon application to achieve their optimal effect. Of course, this time varies depending on how long the manufacturers had instructed.

When used properly, paint thinners make stripping paint off the walls an easy task.

If you found this article to be helpful, be sure to check the links below. They talk about whether paint thinner can leave a residue after use and what are the best paint thinners available for oil paint.

So, if you find these two topics to be of interest to you, continue reading to find out the answers.

Does Paint Thinner Leave A Residue?

X Best Paint Thinners For Oil Paint