This article looks at safer solvents that can act as a substitute for toxic solvents like mineral spirits, turpentine, methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, toluene, xylene, glycol ethers, and fluorinated or chlorinated organic solvents.
This article provides a list of alternatives that are non-toxic or less toxic. Many of them are all-natural. But natural does not necessarily equate to safer – turpentine after all is an all-natural product.
I also list one solvent-free option for cleaning brushes used with oil paints. That’s a fantastic way to limit your solvent exposure.
The solvents in the article are often referred to as paint thinners but the products I list have many uses:
- Thin oil-based paint to make it easier to apply or to extend its life
- Make spray applications of oil paint easier
- Clean up brushes, rollers, and equipment used with oil paints and varnishes
- Wipe up oil paint splatter
- Thin tung oil
- Clean and degrease metal equipment or parts
- Remove graffiti
- Remove tar, asphalt, gum
- Clean up caulking
- For artists working with oil paints – to produce special effects, and to change the way oil paints handles and evaporates
- Use with pastels, encaustic, oil-based colored pencils, letterpress, and sculptural work