How to Dispose of Mineral Spirits (3 Easy Steps)

Mineral spirits are safe solvents to use on all types of DIY projects. Despite this, spirits can pose a danger when DIY’ers fail to handle them properly. How do you dispose of mineral spirits?

The best way to dispose of mineral spirits is to take them to an approved waste disposal facility because they’re flammable and toxic. Refrain from pouring them down the drain.

Take mineral spirits to a waste disposal facility

You must follow a few steps to get your mineral spirits ready for proper disposal, as you will learn below.

Can I Pour Mineral Spirits Down the Drain?

It would be easy to get rid of spirits by pouring them down the drain, but should you do it?

No, you should never pour mineral spirits down the drain. Pouring this petroleum-based solvent down the drain can contaminate groundwater. On top of this, these solvents are flammable.

Additionally, you should not dispose of spirits by throwing them out with your regular trash or releasing them out in the woods.

Your local hazardous waste disposal facility will gladly help you get rid of mineral spirits for a small fee.

do not pour mineral spirits down drain
Do not pour mineral spirits down the drain

Steps to Dispose of Mineral Spirits

Since you cannot pour mineral spirits down the drain, you have to dispose of them in accordance with local standards or laws.

Here is what you need to do to get rid of spirits:

  1. Get in touch with an approved waste disposal facility. They will gladly help you get rid of your spirits. Keep in mind that there might be a fee associated with hazardous material disposal.

    Depending on your location, the nearest waste disposal center might be a bit far, but this is a necessary step.
  2. Keep the spirits in their original container and place them in a bag or box for transportation. Put them in the trunk of your car or the back of your truck for safety while driving. Remember that this is a flammable solvent, so do not transport it on the passenger seat.
  3. Before taking your spirits to the hazardous waste collection site, call and ask them for instructions or guidelines. They might have specific days for spirits drop-offs or might be able to pick them up at your location. Doing this can save you an unnecessary trip and gas.

Related Posts

Dealing With Mineral Spirits Residue

Best Non-Toxic Alternatives to Mineral Spirits

Safety Concerns with Mineral Spirits

Thinning paint and degreasing motor parts are two common uses for spirits. This solvent is popular with professional painters and mechanics alike because of this. 

Homeowners and DIY’ers can also get plenty of use out of spirits to get garden tools perfectly clean, rid of grime in your kitchen, and more.

As valuable as spirits are, one of the hassles people often have to deal with is how to dispose of them. 

Because mineral spirits are flammable and toxic to the skin and lungs, it’s vital to dispose of them properly. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the environment and injuring yourself or somebody else.

The fact is that using this solvent comes with some safety concerns. You cannot get rid of it like you would non-harmful leftover liquids.

Mineral Spirits are Flammable

Perhaps the most noteworthy danger associated with spirits is that they are flammable. 

The flashpoint of mineral spirits is only 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not smoke when using spirits on any DIY project. Keep this flammable liquid away from heating sources or sparks while using it and when it is in storage.

You have to dispose of spirits properly to keep them from burning.

Inhalation Hazard

We know that spirits are dangerous to the skin, but what about other parts of the body? Inhaling spirits can pose a significant health risk.

Accidentally breathing mineral spirits vapors or mist can cause drowsiness and nausea. Always use this solvent either outside or in a well-ventilated area. If you are going to work for a prolonged period of time with spirits, using a respirator is a good idea.

Skin Contact

We recommend using gloves and protective clothing like painting overalls when handling mineral spirits. This solvent can cause severe irritant dermatitis with prolonged or repeated use.

If you accidentally get spirits on your skin, wash it off with soap and water immediately to avoid possible burns or irritation. Likewise, take off any clothes that come into contact with the spirits and wash them before using them again.

Can I Reuse Mineral Spirits?

Reusing spirits is a great idea since it will save you money. But will they still work later on?

You can reuse mineral spirits since they don’t expire. If you have used some of this solvent to clean paint brushes or something else, you can leave it alone for a while. The paint or dirt will settle at the bottom. You can then pour the top clear liquid out.

To avoid tainting your unused spirits, you might want to pour this recovered solvent into a different container than its original one. 

Just make sure that the container you use is made for this purpose. Using containers that are not solvent-resistant can lead to them cracking and the liquid pouring out.

Do Mineral Spirits Evaporate?

If you have a significant amount of leftover spirits that you want to get rid of, follow our advice above and take them to a waste disposal facility. 

Small amounts of leftover solvent can be allowed to simply evaporate. Mineral spirits dissipate completely within anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to a few hours or days when used on surfaces, depending on the amount. 

Leave the container open so the small amount of liquid slowly evaporates. Either do this outside where it will not be disturbed or in a well-ventilated room for safety.

Conclusion

Mineral spirits are perfect for painting, degreasing auto parts, general cleaning, and DIY projects. You just have to dispose of them properly when it is time to do so.

It might be a good idea to get in touch with the nearest waste disposal facility now and ask about guidelines for spirits disposal. This way, you will be prepared when you need to get this done.