Get Rid Of Mineral Spirits Smell (Clothes, House + More)

Mineral spirits, or white spirits, are an effective solvent produced from petroleum. It is helpful in various DIY and industrial applications. But what do you do to get this solvent off clothes after an accidental spill?  

If you accidentally get mineral spirits on your clothes, you should take them off immediately. Let the piece of clothing dry to allow the solvent to evaporate. To eliminate the offensive odor, pour a bit of stain remover over the affected area and wash by hand.

What Do Mineral Spirits Smell Like?

This solvent can help you get paint to the consistency that you are looking for, as well as degrease metal and more. As handy as spirits are, you will often hear or read complaints about its bad smell.

Mineral spirits have a kerosene-like smell that can be very unpleasant to many people, especially if it happens to get on clothes or other fabric. Getting rid of this foul odor is possible, but it will take some effort.

What makes Mineral Spirits Smell so Bad?

Mineral spirits have a very distinct smell similar to that of kerosene. If you get spirits on your clothes, you will smell them. You will not want to wear the garment again until the odor is completely gone since it can be so offensive.  

The pungent smell that mineral spirits emit is caused by highly volatile shorter hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are either non-present or only slightly present in odorless spirits, making them a good alternative if you want to avoid the smell.

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How to Wash Mineral Spirits Smell off Clothes

It is wise to use a long-sleeved shirt and overalls when you use minerals spirits. This solvent carries health hazards that include irritation to your skin. Wearing protective clothing will help you avoid getting any solvent on your body.

Still, if something goes wrong and you spill spirits, you will likely get it on your clothes. Mineral spirits on your clothes is not as harmful as getting them on your skin, but it is still annoying because of the stain and the smell.  

Fortunately, you will not have to throw away your clothing just because you got some solvent on them. Here are a few simple steps that will help you to wash spirits off clothes:

1.      No matter what stage of a DIY project you are in, take off the affected clothing right away. You can get back to your project later, but you risk getting spirits on your skin if you leave the clothing on.

2.      Hang the clothing somewhere to dry so that the solvent has time to evaporate. Mineral spirits evaporate completely. How long this process will take depends on how much liquid you got on your clothing and the weather. Small amounts of solvent should evaporate in less than 20 minutes.

3.      Spray stain remover over the stain. It is worth buying a high-quality stain remover to get the stain and smell out of your clothing. You may not get good results with cheap brands, or you might have to repeat the process a few times.

4.      Hand wash the clothing in a bucket with warm water and liquid laundry detergent suitable for handwashing. Avoid washing these clothes in a washing machine. Putting your spirits-stained clothes in a washer might save time, but the solvent can damage and smell up your device.

mineral spirits smell gone washing machine

How to Get Mineral Spirits Smell out of House

If you spilled mineral spirits in your house, you might have gotten some not just on your clothes but also on your carpet or floor. Don’t worry because there is a solution to this dilemma.

Just as you can get the smell of spirits off your clothes, you can do the same in your house.

If you got any of this solvent on your carpet, these are the steps you need to follow to get rid of the smell:

1.      Let the mineral spirits evaporate on their own.

2.     Apply a good layer of carpet cleaner over the affected area of the carpet. As with stain remover for clothes, it is best to opt for a high-quality carpet cleaner to get spirits out of your carpet correctly.

3.      Use a carpet cleaning brush to work the carpet cleaner into your carpet. Make sure the brush you use is not too rough to avoid damaging your carpet. Use circular motion.

4.      Wet a rag or small towel and wipe the carpet with it.

5.      Use a dry towel to get as much liquid off your carpet as you can.

6.      Allow your carpet to dry.

7.      If the smell of mineral spirits persists, repeat these steps.

If you spilled spirits on your floor, you can use floor cleaning agent and plain water to mop the area. Follow up with a dry mop to get your floor dry.

Are Odorless Mineral Spirits a Better Alternative?

Odor-free mineral spirits are a good alternative if you find that the smell of regular mineral spirits is too strong for you to handle. You just have to understand that this option is not necessarily better since the smell might still be perceptible, and the solvent’s strength will decrease.

Odorless mineral spirits are intended to have no smell, just like the name implies, but a lot of DIY’ers report still noticing a vague smell. This might not be so bad, but the decreased strength of odorless spirits means that thinning paint and degreasing with it will be more difficult.

The health hazards of odorless mineral spirits stay the same as with regular spirits, meaning that you need to employ the same safety measures.

Conclusion – Getting Rid of Mineral Spirits Smell

Getting rid of the pungent smell from mineral spirits on your clothes or other parts of your home can be done with a few simple steps.

Hopefully, you can avoid spilling any excess solvent at all when completing DIY jobs, but now you know how to deal with them if it happens.