Mineral spirits, or white spirits, is a petroleum-based solvent that painters, cleaners, mechanics, and DIY’ers utilize for different projects. When not using spirits, keeping them in a suitable place is crucial. But how should you store spirits?
Mineral spirits must be stored in a cool and dry place because they are flammable and can ignite at as low as 105°F (41°C). Keeping this solvent tightly sealed in a metal or heavy plastic container in your garage or outside shed is ideal for keeping it from igniting or going bad.
In this article, you will learn more about the best way to store mineral spirits and avoid pitfalls to keep this solvent safely on your property.
Safety with Mineral Spirits
Mineral spirits are much safer than other solvents you can use for the same purposes. However, safety concerns have to be considered when using and storing this liquid, including fires, respiratory problems, and skin irritation.
Possible Fires from Mineral Spirits
One of the things that worries DIY’ers the most about spirits is that they are flammable.
While spontaneous combustion is not associated with spirits, they can ignite if they come into contact with a heating source or sparks. Because of this, you have to store mineral spirits away from anything that produces heat to avoid a fire.
It should go without saying that smoking around white spirits is not a bright idea.
Working around spirits regularly does not produce many concerns as long as safety measures are in place. Respiratory problems do become worrisome with extended or prolonged exposure to this solvent.
While not common, breathing in high concentrations of spirits fumes can lead to respiratory irritation or pulmonary edema.
OSHA considers spirits to be an irritant. Prolonged physical exposure to spirits can cause dermatitis or a rash.
If you get any spirits on your skin, wash it off with soap and water right away to avoid irritation or worse.
As you can see, using spirits does carry some risk. Employing safety gear is a must.
We recommend you use goggles, gloves, and safety clothing such as painting overalls when handling and storing mineral spirits.
You will be able to use this safety gear repeatedly as you take on more DIY projects that require spirits.
How to Store Mineral Spirits
Because of safety concerns with spirits, simple steps will keep spirits in good shape for future use and ensure your safety.
You have to store spirits in a place devoid of moisture and away from heating sources. You should also store mineral spirits in their original container to keep them from spilling or evaporating.
It is not wise to store spirits under your sink or in a room in your house. If you have a garage or outside shed, these are much better options.
What to Store Mineral Spirits In
· Use the original container
It is best to keep mineral spirits in their original container. Some people choose to pour some solvent into a different container for a specific job, but this can cause the spirits to leak over time. Also, if a child or animal gets to this liquid, you will know precisely what you are dealing with if it is in its original container.
· Use high-quality types of plastic or metal containers
Sometimes, keeping solvent in their original mineral spirit container is not an option because it breaks from falling or being hit. If you run into this mishap, pour any excess liquid into a high-quality solvent-resistant plastic or metal container. Make sure to label this container to know exactly what is in it later.
· Seal Containers Tightly
A tight seal will ensure that your spirits are there for you to use years and even decades later. Double-check that the seal is secured no matter what container you use to store your spirits. Skipping this can lead your mineral spirits to evaporate.
Where to Store Mineral Spirits
Consider the fact that spirits are a petroleum-based flammable product and have a low flashpoint of 105 to 145 °F (41 to 63 °C). Even though mineral spirits do not self-ignite, fires can happen.
A cool and dry outside shed with no heating sources is perfect for this purpose. Your garage is an excellent second option if you do not have an outdoor shed.
You would not want mineral spirits to suddenly ignite while under your sink or even in your basement. These solvents should be handled with care, considering their hazards.
If you do not have a garage or shed, keep your spirits and other toxic solvents in a dry and cool spot where children and pets cannot get to them. You might also want to place them in a box with newspaper or rags in case they leak.
Likewise, store any materials you use with spirits in the same place after washing and drying them. If you need to dispose of spirits, take them to a hazardous waste facility.
Mineral Spirits Evaporation
You do not have to set a timer if you wait for white spirits to evaporate completely. You just have to look at the surface you are working on. If the wood, metal, or other material in question still appears wet, you should allow more time for evaporation.
Since mineral spirits are petroleum-based solvents, they will evaporate when exposed to air. A layer of white spirits will generally dissipate in 15 to 20 minutes, leaving behind no residue. The exact amount of time can vary.
Stored mineral spirits evaporate at a much slower rate. According to the tips above, if you store your solvent, you will hardly notice any of it gone once you need to use it again. This means that your spirits will be good for more jobs in the coming years.
If you store them properly, you will not have to worry about buying spirits for each new project.
Ultimately, it is imperative that you store mineral spirits in a dry and cool place, such as a shed or garage. You must also keep this solvent away from heat and sparks because of its flammability. Finally, keep it away from young children.
Storing your spirits the right way guarantees safety and long-lasting shelf life.