Mineral spirits are a tried and tested means of removing stains. However, it is not entirely safe. You can find out everything you need to know about mineral spirit here, including how to dispose of mineral spirits safely.
Mineral spirits are a powerful tool when it comes to removing stains. It is used in private households to remove stubborn stains from a wide variety of surfaces without damaging them. You can use petroleum ether primarily for cleaning textiles, metal, rubber or self-painted and varnished surfaces. If you decide to use mineral spirits to remove stains yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Always use small amounts of mineral spirits. Put a little mineral spirits on a rag, then dab or rub your stain with it. Then let the whole thing take effect and then wash the stain out with clear water. If you want to clean painted or varnished surfaces, also rub them with the mineral spirit. After that, let it dry and the stains should be gone.
- Always use gloves when working as mineral spirits can irritate your skin.
- Make sure you have adequate ventilation when using mineral spirits, or use it directly in the fresh air.
- Try to inhale as little of the fumes from the mineral spirits as possible, as these can be harmful to your health. If you like, you can also use a suitable respirator.
By the way: Industry also uses mineral spirit. There it is used, among other things, as turpentine oil, solvent or diluents.
Why mineral spirit is problematic
As the name suggests, mineral spirit is a type of gasoline. For this reason, it has some properties typical of petrol: it is highly flammable, harmful to health and harmful to the environment.
Since mineral spirits is highly flammable, you should always use it with caution. So avoid using it when there is a fire nearby. In addition, there is a greater risk that the mineral spirits will ignite if you use large quantities of it. So it is better to use less at first than a large amount straight away. If possible, try not to use petroleum ether on warm days, because even then there is a greater risk of it catching fire.
In addition to the fact that petroleum ether is highly flammable, it can also be harmful to health. This means that harmful fumes are produced when you use the gasoline. These fumes can damage your respiratory system.
The fumes can also make you sleepy and light-headed. It is therefore important that you always ventilate the room sufficiently when using petroleum ether. In addition, the product can cause skin irritation. It is therefore best to use gloves when working with petroleum ether.
Harmful to the environment
Another problematic point is the environmental impact of mineral spirit. Gasoline is toxic to aquatic organisms and can cause serious long-term damage to aquatic environments. You should therefore not pour it down any drain. At the end of the article we will give you more detailed information on disposing of cleaning solvent.
Environmentally friendly alternatives to mineral spirit
After reading why mineral spirits tend to be a problem, you might prefer not to use it. Here are a few eco-friendly alternatives you can use instead:
- Gall soap is a proven and environmentally friendly household remedy that is particularly good for removing stains from textiles. To do this, moisten the soap slightly with water, rub it into the stain and let it soak for a few minutes. Then you can wash the fabric as usual and the stain should be gone. You may have to make two or three attempts. For more sensitive and difficult-to-wash textiles, it is best to try the gall soap on a small area first and see if the color changes.
- Baking soda is also good ways to remove stubborn stains like blood stains. For example, if you have stains on clothing, dampen the stain and then rub with baking soda or baking soda. It is best to let the whole thing soak for a few hours and then wash the garment normally. Then the stain should be gone.
Ultimately, it always depends on the stain which agent you can use instead of mineral spirit.
How to properly dispose of mineral spirit after use
As already mentioned, mineral spirits can cause damage in different areas – both for you and for the environment. For this reason, it is very important that you pay attention to a few things when disposing of them:
- Mineral spirit belongs to the group of problematic substances. So if you have leftover mineral spirit that you want to dispose of, do not under any circumstances dispose of it in household waste or in the recycling bin. Instead, take it to a hazardous waste collection point or recycling center. It is best not to refill it for disposal, but leave it in the original container.
- However, if you have already used up your benzene and you only have the empty packaging, disposal is a little easier. You then simply have to look at what kind of packaging it is and whether it is possibly marked with the green dot. If this is the case, dispose of the packaging in the yellow bin or sack. Otherwise it belongs in the residual waste.
- Warning: It is very important that you do not pour mineral spirits down the toilet or drain as it can cause serious damage. If you pour the mineral spirits down the drain, it can have a serious impact on the environment. As a result, water bodies can be polluted, but animal and plant species can also be poisoned. There is also a risk that such harmful substances will enter the food chain.
Mineral spirit if disposed of incorrectly in small quantities, have a major harmful effect on the environment. If the cleaners are carelessly flushed down the toilet together, an explosive mixture can form. In addition, the waste water is heavily polluted. Therefore, even common household cleaners such as benzene, metal cleaning agents or the old grill cleaner should be disposed of properly.