Mineral spirits are a commonly used solvent for cleaning floors and furniture. It is a petroleum-based product that has been refined into a clear, colorless liquid that can be used as an alternative to water or alcohol.
However, mineral spirits are flammable if exposed to open flames or sparks. It can also ignite easily if exposed to high temperatures, like around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This is also known as the flashpoint of mineral spirits.
Due to its flammability, mineral spirits should always be stored in a well-ventilated area away from the direct flame and must be careful when handling.
In this article, I will analyze the flammability of mineral spirits, different aspects of usage, and some must-know things.
We’ll discuss the following:
- What is Mineral Spirits?
- What are Mineral Spirits used for?
- What is the flashpoint of Mineral Spirits?
- At what temperature do Mineral Spirits ignite?
- Are the fumes of Mineral Spirits flammable?
- Can It Spontaneously Combust?
Read also: Is Crisco Flammable?
What is Mineral Spirits?
According to Wikipedia, Mineral Spirits are an organic solvent that is used to clean, polish, deodorize, and remove mineral deposits from metals. It is commonly used to clean copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel, and other metals.
Mineral Spirits can be mixed with other solvents like Isopropyl Alcohol to make an even cleaner solution. The chemical formula of the solvent is C6H12O2. It is colorless and evaporates quickly.
There are two types of mineral spirits. The first is called “mineral spirits,” and the second is called “mineral turps.” The first is more flammable than the second, but both are classified as mineral solvents. They have similar chemical structures.
Mineral Spirits is a versatile product used for many different purposes.
Some of them are given below:-
1. Mineral spirits used as paint thinner:
Mineral spirits create a thin layer of paint that is easier to remove. This makes it perfect for drying and leaching paints from surfaces before painting them over with another color.
In this way, the existing task will be completed in just one step rather than two or three different steps using other types of solvents.
2. Mineral spirits used as a lubricant:
Mineral Spirits can be mixed with other types of solvents to make cleanup or drying easier for engine repairs, gluing objects together, and many more complex tasks on metal appliances.
It also makes an effective glue if heated and used after stirring in some new solvent.
3. Mineral spirits used as a clean agent:
As stated above, it works great on all types of metal surfaces, and even cleaning items like toys, jewelry, or accessories made from glass can be much easier when using this product for its clean agent’s ability.
4. Mineral spirits used as a stripping agent:
For intermixed with water and other cleaning solvents, this solvent will dislodge grease extremely well where almost every edge of the object or area of the object will be perfectly smooth.
This advanced solvent removes many other types of dirt found on wood, metals, nails, or metal. It also works fine for removing rust from many types of materials.
5. Mineral spirits used as a solvent cleaner:
In addition to many other cleaning applications, it is quite effective in destroying unwanted organic compounds from materials such as paint, varnish, and oils.
This solvent integrates oil reservoirs like water for the purpose of removing pollutants on the object or staining area by diluting with water.
6. Mineral spirits used as a degreaser:
This particular solvent has excellent cleaning abilities on non-porous surfaces like plastics, metals, and wood-based objects, so it is appropriate for use in the above applications.
7. Solvent for cleaning doors, stove parts, or heating ducts:
The solvent effectively cleans slightly oily surfaces. It makes the popular small objects like windshield wiper blades and door seals much shinier by removing grease from them.
8. Degreasing solvent, lubricant, and rust remover:
This all-purpose liquid eliminates lubricants. It also includes some distillates of petroleum fatty acid salts used to decrease copper or metal utensils, which can be cleaned up fast using a cotton swab.
9. Rat glue remover:
This solvent is used to remove residues of solvents, adhesive tapes, and all kinds of sludge insects from glass surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned for reuse.
10. Clean and deodorize air conditioners:
As an agent for cleaning several kinds of petroleum solvents and other liquid cleaners such as benzene, mineral spirits work very well in removing this mixture from the unit.
Is Mineral Spirits Flammable?
Mineral Spirits are flammable, but they are considered to be less flammable than other types of solvents.
If you are aware of this, then you can be more careful while using it. It is flammable when exposed to the flame of a torch or lighter. Also, you should not leave it in direct sunlight.
When burning at high temperatures, it can become a flammable solid and release toxic fumes that may cause irritation to the eyes and throat.
However, they are safe to use around air conditioners and electronic equipment with proper venting so that it does not get on your skin, furniture, or other items in the home.
Flashpoint is a term used to describe the temperature at which a liquid ignites. When it’s being burned, the flashpoint of solvent refers to its volatility and how fast it can catch fire when mixed with air.
According to the Material Safety Data Sheet, Mineral Spirits have an average flashpoint of 105 F. However, it may be somewhat less when compared to other solvents.
Also, large quantities poured into open areas could catch fire when exposed to a spark. This is not recommended since it can cause injury to people or damage property.
The general public should be aware that large quantities of these materials must be handled with care because they could also pose risks in the event of a fire, explosion, and other such mishaps as well as a result in harm to humans or property damage.
The Elemental analysis of Mineral Spirits is 95% CO2, 5.5% I, 0.3 % S & 0 .4 Bio-solvent Organic Solvents are contained in them, which consist mainly of water, ethanol, and acetone, among others.
When this type of solvent is exposed to ignition for a long period of time, it turns into carbon dioxide (CO2).
As we know, the flashpoint of mineral spirits is around 105 degrees Fahrenheit, so mineral spirits can ignite if the temperature goes close to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
When we refer to “fumes” of mineral spirits, such as those coming from your car’s floor mats after the application and drying techniques you use for them at home, it means that they can come in contact with oxygen and if there is a fire or ignition source it can easily catch fires.
This means that air vents placed where appropriate should be considered as part of your safety containment policy when using mineral spirits for plasterwork or general cleaning purposes at home.
People often confuse flammable with combustible. However, there are many instances where they do not fit.
For example, dry ice is flammable but not combustible because it can be used to create a cold environment for the storage or transport of frozen foods.
However, Mineral Spirits can be both flammable and combustible depending on the kind of application it is used in. We found that mineral spirits can combust spontaneously if a suitable environment is available.
We advise against using a trigger-type sparker to dry the mineral spirits. The risk of causing an explosion from spontaneous combustion is very small, but it still exists.
Spontaneous ignition may happen if any sign of condensation forms on surfaces or objects where they would contact the mineral spirits, which could initiate a chemical reaction.
If you charge the solvent in a closed container, it can become flammable when exposed to heat. This phenomenon occurs due to distillation leaving behind some of its properties such as water and acetone. Although this may be true, use safety measures such as proper ventilation so that no fire will occur.
Mineral spirits are flammable, which means they can ignite if exposed to a flame. Therefore, use mineral spirits carefully in the kitchen, in the garage, or when working with wood. If you are unsure about how to use mineral spirits safely, please let us know in the comments below.
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