How to Neutralize Mineral Spirits (Smells and More)

It is not uncommon for DIY’ers to spill solvents such as mineral spirits while focused on their projects. These accidents can make you feel that all is ruined, but that is far from the case. Neutralizing white spirits to save your project does not have to be a difficult task. 

You can neutralize this effective solvent by cleaning up a mineral spirit spill on your floor, skin, clothes, or carpet with specific cleaners or just water and soap, depending on the situation.

Here, we have listed some valuable tips that will help you neutralize and clean up spirits safely and efficiently.

What Cleans Up Mineral Spirits?

Even if you take as many precautions as possible, spilling spirits on yourself, your clothing, floor, or other surfaces can happen. Fortunately, this does not mean that the material in question is ruined since there are several ways to clean up spirits.

You can use soap and water, detergent, floor cleaner, and carpet cleaner to clean up mineral spirits. What you use to clean up spirits depends on what material you have spilled it on.

Cleaning up spirits should not cost you much since you can do it with materials you probably already have at home. 

Mineral spirits are an oil-based solvent used for painting, degreasing, and cleaning, so it will not take out-of-this-world solutions to deal with them.

Cleaning carpet

Are Mineral Spirits Difficult to Clean Up?

Mineral spirits are usually easy to clean off. You must consider the material you spilled them on, but you can easily handle most spills or stains. Stains from this solvent are not permanent.

If you have spilled white spirits on your floor, simply mopping it up is not the best approach. You should certainly get as much solvent off your floor as you can with rags or a mop, but you have to follow this up with soap and water or a floor cleaner meant for your type of flooring.

If you already have a floor cleaner at home or in your shop, use it for the best possible results. If not, try soap and water first to save money.

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What To Do If You Spilled Mineral Spirits

Washing mineral spirits from your skin, clothing, carpet, and other surfaces is easy. You have to clean spirits as soon as possible. Often, all you need to neutralize spirits are items you already have at home or your shop.

We suggest always using safety gear when using this solvent since it is an irritant and highly flammable. Spirits are far from being as dangerous as other harsher alternatives but can cause rashes and skin burns and damage certain materials.

Mineral Spirits on Skin

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) refers to spirits as an irritant and warns about getting any on your skin. Wear protective clothing like painting overalls, rubber gloves, and a long-sleeved shirt while working with spirits.

Even if you take precautions, accidents can happen. If you get mineral spirits on any part of your body, get to a sink immediately and use soap and water to wash the spirits off your skin.

Mineral Spirits on Clothes

When mineral spirits spill onto your clothes, they can seem impossible to get rid of, especially the smell. Don’t worry—with a bit of effort, you can wash it off.

First, let the piece of clothing dry. After that, soak the fabric in stain remover. Wash the clothing by itself and dry it.

Interestingly, mineral spirits were invented in 1928 by W.J. Stoddard and Lloyd Jackson for a dry cleaning business. With that in mind, rest assured that you will get spirits stains off your clothes even if it takes more than one washing cycle.

How to Get Mineral Spirits Out of Carpet

Getting white spirits on your carpet will not ruin it, but you have to wash it as soon as possible. Get your carpet cleaner and carpet brush ready and follow these steps:

1.     Allow the mineral spirits to evaporate on their own. If the carpet is small enough, put it away so that kids or pets cannot get to it through this process. Even though the solvent evaporates, stains and smells must be dealt with.

2.      Lay the carpet out flat and apply carpet cleaner evenly.

3.      Use a carpet brush to work the carpet cleaner deep into the fabric.

4.      Wipe everything off with warm water and a rag.

5.      Let your carpet dry, and it should be as good as new.

mineral spirits smell

How to Remove Mineral Spirits Residue

It might seem as if spirits have left a residue right after applying them, but they will evaporate. You just have to give them some time to do so since this petroleum-based solvent’s evaporation rate is slow

Mineral spirits require 15 to 20 minutes to dissipate completely. Any apparent residue that lingers is most likely dirt or grime. Wipe it off with a bit more spirits on a rag and let that evaporate as well.

How to Dilute Mineral Spirits

If you want to neutralize the strength of spirits, you might look into diluting it with another liquid, but this is not necessary. Generally, spirits are used the other way around.

For example, you can use spirits as a paint thinner to dilute thin, oil-based paint if it is too thick for specific purposes. Failing to use a paint thinner and applying thick paint can cover essential details or fail to spread evenly.

There is no need to neutralize its strength when using spirits to degrease parts or as a cleaning agent.

Conclusion – Neutralizing Mineral Spirits

Neutralizing mineral spirits is a straightforward task. Don’t let spills ruin your day. Let the spirits dry a little, apply some warm, soapy water or cleaner, or whatever other advice applies best to the material you’ve spilled it on. Then, finish that grand project!