What Can I Use Instead of Paint Thinner?

Paint thinner is a solvent used to reduce the viscosity of oil-based paints, varnishes, and stains while simultaneously cleaning brushes and painting equipment. Its odorless formula is ideal for indoor use.

However, inhalation of its fumes can be toxic to health and harmful to the environment. Luckily, natural alternatives exist which work just as effectively.

Citrus Thinner

Citrus thinner is an eco-friendly and safe alternative to mineral spirits and turpentine for cleaning brushes, tools and other oil-based items. Also known as d-limonene, this naturally occurring chemical found in citrus peels and fruits such as grapefruit can be used as degreaser as well as de-waxing solution. Furthermore, citrus thinner biodegrades quickly, is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, non-polluting product is biodegradable, safe for both humans as well as the environment if accidentally consumed accidentally in small doses; available from paint stores or online retailers alike.

As citrus solvents can dry out skin, proper ventilation should also be implemented when handling these products and stored in an area with adequate ventilation when not being used.

Real Milk Paint Co.’s citrus solvent is an eco-friendly, non-toxic alternative to traditional turpentine and mineral spirits, made up of 98% orange peel oil (d-limonene) and 2% water; free from additives, emulsions, surfactants and driers; quickly evaporates than its counterpart; does not contribute to depleting Earth’s upper layer ozone layer or cause smog when inhaled; does not discolor original or ground paints when used as thinner;

Oxalic acid, a citrus-based paint thinner, offers another natural alternative to turpentine for home painting projects. Available either as powder or liquid form, it can be mixed 1:1 with water to produce an effective paint thinner solution with much milder odor compared to its predecessor turpentine.

Environmentalists seeking natural alternatives to turpentine have several natural solvent options, including soy-based solvents like Eco-Solve from Natural Earth Paint. According to its makers, Eco-Solve replaces conventional petroleum-based paint thinners and cleans oils, varnishes, waxes, wax, tars resins and mastic adhesives effectively. Chelsea Classical Studio also markets an all-natural option known as Spike Lavender Oil that consists of olive oil lavender oil and lye that acts as an all-natural alternative for chemical cleaners like Turpentine or Spike Lavender Oil from Chelsea Classical Studio as an all-natural alternative for chemical cleaners turpentine.

White Spirit

Oil-based paints are typically composed of a combination of oils and diluents such as mineral spirits, turps, naptha or white spirit as diluents; this liquid acts as a thinning agent to help the paint spread and dry evenly while also cleaning brushes, equipment and surfaces of any remaining paint debris. When used incorrectly however they can cause eye irritation or respiratory distress; to stay safe wear gloves, eye protection and face mask when using them properly and ensure working in an adequately ventilated area so as to minimize fumes from these chemicals!

Mineral spirits are a popular alternative to paint thinner, as they are clear hydrocarbons with low flash points and high boiling points that have less of an unpleasant odor compared to turpentine and are safer for use around household items. Although mineral spirits may be safer than turpentine, they still release toxic fumes that should be avoided; thus it is recommended to only use them in large, ventilated rooms where two windows should remain open to ensure proper ventilation of the room.

Odorless mineral spirits are available at hardware stores and offer an effective alternative to turpentine. While they have lower flash points and boiling points than regular mineral spirits, they still produce some unpleasant odors when in close proximity without adequate ventilation. You may be able to find artist-grade versions which do not contain additives and are safer for sensitive areas.

Citrus oil is a natural odour eliminater and can be mixed with mineral spirits to make a low-odor solvent, helping reduce drying times of oil-based paint and acting as a thinner. Unfortunately, enamels or stains should not be painted over as citrus oil may leave an adhesive residue behind; for these projects it would be more suitable to opt for traditional oil-based solvents like turps or degreaser as these will be easier on both your health and the environment.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the least toxic household products when it comes to paint thinner, providing an alternative effective for brush cleaning in most households. While it cannot be used with oil-based paints, vinegar does offer an efficient means of cleansing brushes and can often be found near home.

Apple cider vinegar offers many health benefits and is widely used as a natural cleanser. According to one recent study, ACV may help with weight loss, blood sugar control and inflammation reduction; additionally it is believed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. While ACV has not been approved by the FDA as a treatment method for any medical conditions it should always be discussed with your healthcare provider first before taking.

There are other natural products that can serve as thinners for oil-based paints, including linseed oil, stand oil and walnut oil. Linseed oil is one of the more popular options, due to its quick drying times and affordable cost; however it has a strong odor which may make working with it hazardous if working in small or poorly ventilated spaces; therefore some artists opt for more natural options like turpentine instead.

Mineral spirits, found at most hardware stores, is another popular alternative to paint thinner. Artist-grade mineral spirits provide an odor-free work space in smaller, well ventilated rooms – more expensive than linseed oil but an ideal replacement for turpentine!

Acetone can also be used to reduce the viscosity of oil-based paints, and is readily available at most hardware stores for mixing with paint at the appropriate ratio. However, please keep in mind that excessive use may ruin its pigment and ruin its final result.

As this article indicates, all the products mentioned do the same thing – they dissolve the bonding agent that holds pigment to canvas. Their main difference lies in being safer to work with than others and drying more slowly than turpentine; to find what works for you best experiment with several of them and see which works the best!


Acetone and mineral spirits can serve as alternatives to paint thinner. Since both liquids are highly flammable, it is important that they are used only in well-ventilated areas where fumes don’t build up, along with wearing protective gear such as masks, rubber gloves and goggles – and changing into old clothing to avoid discoloration from chemicals used during their usage.

Oil-based paints must first be thinned before application, using various solvents such as turpentine and mineral spirits as solvents to thin the paints down. Turpentine is a petroleum product often used to clean brushes and remove excess paint from surfaces, with its strong smell being an unpleasant side effect; additionally it’s toxic inhalation can lead to headaches, dizziness, eye irritations, weakness and muscle twitches if exposed for too long.

Naphtha and methanol can also be used to thin oil-based paints, though these options tend to be less flammable and toxic than turpentine, although proper ventilation must be maintained when using these products. They should not be used with latex paints due to potential health risks.

Many people wonder what can they use instead of paint thinner when they run out and need to complete a project. While there may be temporary solutions like using water or another solvent to remove excess paint from surfaces, such options aren’t suitable for tasks that require precision or accuracy.

Finding a store selling paint thinner is the ideal solution in these situations, and purchasing some in advance could come in handy in case of emergency situations. Furthermore, be sure to dispose of any oil-soaked paper towels or cloths properly by either placing them into soapy water or placing an empty container filled with water so as not to become fire hazards once dried out.