Difference Between Paint Thinner, Lacquer Thinner, Naptha, Acetone And Alcohol? - Painting - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 04-30-2011, 06:50 PM   #1
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Difference between Paint thinner, Lacquer thinner, Naptha, Acetone and alcohol?

When it comes to cleaning baint brushes. Is there any difference between these products when cleaning oil based paint form a brush?

I have lots of Lacquer thinner, Naptha and denatured alcohol from when I was experimenting with shellac and lacquer on some veneered loudspeakers.

Is it OK to clean brushes with these after a oil based Alkid paint job. Will they cut the paint or just gum it up.


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Old 04-30-2011, 07:27 PM   #2
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They are all completely different chemicals. Read the can of the paint you are using, it will say "clean with X". Use that.


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Old 04-30-2011, 11:33 PM   #3
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Agreed. Good old fashioned mineral spirits or generic oil based thinners seem to keep my brushes happy.

Alcohol will not clean brushes laden with oil-base paint. It may help with those shellac laden.

Honwever, alcohol with tabs o aluminum cans can cheer a crew you beat to smithereens all week on a Friday night.

Last edited by user1007; 04-30-2011 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:43 AM   #4
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Well, the one thing they all have in common is that they are solvents used in the paint and coatings industries - but apart from being liquids, that's about all that they share as far as chemistry goes.

They use so many different solvents in the paint industry mainly to dissolve the resin used in the paint; given there are probably a thousand different paint/lacquer/alkyd resins out there, you can understand why there may need to be so many solvents. Selection of the solvent(s) to do that is very critical to ensure the proper viscosity of the paint is obtained as that affects the optimum paint film left behind. For example, if the solvent blend evaporates too quickly, a thin, unformed paint film is what you get on the wall, and that leads to streaking and a mess of other problems. On the other and, select a solvent blend that evaporates too slowly, or incompletely, gives you a sticky film that bleeds.

So solvents differ from each other, and one main criteria is their ability to dissolve a given resin. "Horsepower", if you like...called KB value.

It is generally viewed that of your list, lacquer thinner is probably the strongest (i.e the most able to dissolve) as it dissolves pretty well any paint film, then maybe acetone and methyl alcohol (but neither dissolve every resin), then naptha, then paint thinner.

Alkyds are tougher to dissolve than latexes, of course, but that's about the size of it. There are probably 100 active and latent solvents used in paint, not to mention the others, which are diluents. So research into just the solvent portion of the can of paint is a huge challenge.
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Last edited by ccarlisle; 05-01-2011 at 11:22 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 05-01-2011, 10:41 AM   #5
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all coatings can be disolved by their original solvent except for water based coatings.ccarlisle, good explination on the different types of solvents. blends use a hot enough solvent to disolve the resin and to slow the evaporation rate at the same time(xylene/benzene blend) tis also help in preventing premature kickout(solvent/resin seperate). if a coating cures to slow, it will be open to collect contaminates. if one cures to fast it may not have adequate time to penetrate or bond.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:57 AM   #6
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Read the label of your paint for recommended solvent for clean up and reduction. As has been stated here, using the wrong solvent will cause problems, and will not accomplish what you want to do. Mineral spirits evaporates slowly, lacquer thinner very quickly.


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