Mineral spirits in other countries/languages?

Hello everyone. I do not seem to find what mineral spirits are equivalent to in Mexico.

Some entries in wikipedia cite it as Stoddard solvent, (which I’ve never heard of). Some say it’s the same as “gasolina blanca” (white gasoline, literally). And some say it’s alcoholes minerales (mineral alcohols). They also mention it being used in silkscreen printing. And even say it’s almost the same as Trementine.

When I click on the spanish entry for Mineral Spirits, it takes me to one called White Spirits, when in white spirits (in spanish) I click in english it takes me to an entry on White spirits. So I do not understand which one is the true Mineral Spirits I read so much about.

I am highly confused. Can anyone help me clarify what the compound I need to look for in Mexico is called?

Thank you very much!


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Mineral spirits is paint thinner. Get it at the hardware store. The cheapest works just fine. Spend a little more and get deodorized if you wish. This stuff will leave a little film on a photopolymer plate that doesn’t dry right away. It is just a little oily. If you are going right back to printing with the same plate and are using rubber base ink, you can have a bit of a problem. Rubber base ink hates oil. If you need to get right back to printing, use alcohol as your solvent.
The British speak of white spirit. I think it is the same paint thinner.

Ok. I have used what we here call “thinner”, but this is such a harsh solvent that burns your hand, literally, the other day I was using it to clean some oil ink from the glass where I mix ink. And somehow I manage to get some on the top of my hand, and it was burning my hand.

I don’t think that’s the same thing you call mineral spirits, I also read on the wikipedia page, that it doesn’t have very high volatility. Well this stuff I get as regular ol’ paint thinner, is 100% volatile. Believe me, I’ve tried it.

I’m sensing this is another thing. But I might be wrong.

Is mineral spirits a good cleaner for wood type?

I get the feeling that the mineral spirits/thinner will remove the shellac.

Thanks for your input, Inky.

I have two products here in Costa Rica used for paint thinner. One is labeled “Thinner CTE.” and is very strong and obnoxious. The other is labeled “Aguarras”, which apparently is the same as turpentine, or trementina, but may also be a generic term for paint thinner. That is the most similar to the mineral spirits I use in the US. However, for years I have used a 50-50 mixture of kerosene and white gasoline, also available as Coleman fuel. It cleans up the ink, does not leave a residue, and is fairly safe, though it does have a low flash point. Since I don’t smoke that has not been an issue for me.


Here’s what I think I’ll buy:

- Thinner
- White Gasoline
- Trementine (funny enough here we know it as Espíritu de Trementina [Trementine spirit] )
- Kerosene
- Aguarrás (I think it’s the same as Trementine, but I remember what I used in drawing classes, smelled great, and I’m almost certain Aguarrás smells more like paint thinner)
- Roller Wash (for offset)
- Diesel
- Naphta (for photopolymer plates?)

This one person at a used equipment dealership was cleaning a huge paper cutter, and was using a pressure washer with a mix of Diesel and Thinner.

I am starting to realize most of these are petroleum distillates. And somehow should work.

I was worried that the paint thinner would dissolve the paint on my good-looking SP-15.

Will it harm the original paint or not?
Also, I’m cleaning this indoors. Will it harm my floors?
They recommend laying a layer of sawdust on the floor to pick up everything, and make it easier to clean afterwards. Is this good enough, or should I take the press outside?

Also.. to clean old wood type: someone recommended Dutch Oil

Thank you, Bob and Inky.

I’ve been using the aguarras to clean up my Adana HQ and have not seen any bad effects on the press or rollers. The other stuff, Thinner CTE, was bad for me and seemed not good for the rollers, so I stay away from it.


You could use parrafin (english) you would find this used as free standing heater oil not the stuff you fire up your heating boiler with , it smells a bit but unless you drank it would do you no harm and wont damage rubber rollers or treothene rollers (the ones that go yukky in the damp .)
Wont hurt your paint and wont hurt varnished floors . it is quite a weak substance so you should be ok with it ,you can buff the plate off after cleaning with a dry cloth and the residue will not be difficult for you. Offset wash will work if you can deal with the stink , we use white spirit . Thinners for us is a no no it dulls paint and softens plastics so not good to tiled floors .

If you can get kerosene, try it. Many use it. It is not far from what we get as paint thinner at the hardware store. It does leave a bit more oily reside on things.
The wood type is finished with shellac. Alcohol is the solvent for shellac and will remove it. Kerosene should be fine.

From what I can gather, I’m going to try as my two main options: Aguarrás, and Kerosene.
Which are both readily available here.
I’ll buy them tomorrow or someday this week, try them and let everyone know what worked best, in case it’s useful for anyone else.
Thanks again, Inky, Bob and Peter.

Oh and btw, Bob: Isn’t coleman fuel also naphta ? which is also kerosene?

Coleman fuel is white gas, kerosene is more oily, it will leave a little oil on your rollers.

Wikipedia says naptha is actually a group of solvents with similar characteristics, and that Coleman fuel, also called white gas, is one of the napthas. It can cause skin problems if you have extended contact with it, though I never had any trouble when it was mixed with kerosene. Kerosene and naptha are not the same thing.


Bob: Not the same thing, but from the same group?

I was looking to get Coleman fuel, but here in Mexico, it’s not something available, at your local supermarket.

So reading up what they use here for fuel in lamps and camping stoves, I read they use kerosene.. that’s why I thought they were the same thing.

Really, all these compounds and their name variations from place to place is confusing.

One day ,maybe , we will have a standard recognised across the world , We even have stuff here that the substances are dyed in colour so as to identify if there is duty due on it !! diesel for your car has a greenish hue to it and for agriculture use it is pinky red to denote duty free.

Ok.. So here’s what I did.
I used thinner.. and it works wonders for degreasing and cleaning up old ink.
But, it’s also eating away at the paint.

On the other hand, the Aguarrás (supposedly mineral spirits), which is really oily.. Did not do a thing for me.. It does not do anything to the gunk.
If I scrub with a green 3m scrub pad it does eventually remove it, but it also removes paint.

So.. my question is.. what removes gunk but does not mess up my paint???

This is frustrating. I don’t want to mess up the original paint on my SP-15.

Thanks everyone!

Kerosene and Naptha. Kerosene will loosen grease and oil, and it evaporates slowly so you have time to work with it. Naptha will loosen dried ink, but it will take repeated applications because it evaporates quickly. If you want to remove ink and gunk from unpainted parts, Lacquer Thinner will do it quickly, but it is quite toxic and nasty to breathe, so make sure you have really good ventilation (as you should have for any solvents). Lacquer Thinner will also remove any kind of paint or finish very quickly so keep it away from your painted surfaces. Paint thinner will thin paint, hence its name. Acetone will remove almost anything, and will soften or melt rubber and plastic, plus it is dangerous to use without a good respirator. Turpentine and Mineral Spirits are less effective on dried ink. I wouldn’t use Turpentine around a printshop - it is nasty to breathe. Low-odor Mineral Spirits are used quite a bit around small shops for wash-up, but as I previously said, it’s not great for dried ink. Don’t be fooled by the low-odor selling point either, you are still huffing dangerous fumes, even though you can’t smell it. Gasoline used to be used in print shops quite a bit, but it is very, very volatile and the fumes can build up and cause spontaneous combustion. Gasoline today is loaded with carcinogens and should be used to power internal combustion engines only. Do not use ScotchBrite pads or steel wool on painted surfaces. They are abrasive enough on their own and can remove paint and finishes without the use of solvents. All of the above mentioned solvents can be bought cheaply at your local hardware stores. Naptha is the same as Coleman Fuel. It is also the basic ingredient in California Wash and several other press wash-up solvents available on the market. The manufacturers of press washes add ingredients to slow down evaporation, and often times they are recognized carcinogens. There is a new group of roller washes now on the market which are ozone depleting and it is best to avoid them as they are designed for high-speed presses with exhaust systems and filters. Some other products are touted as ‘green’, but are usually solvents that have citrus oils added to it to make you think it is healthier for you. It isn’t. Information is available online for all solvents and brand name cleaning products by looking for the name of the product coupled with MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets).


Whatever you use to clean with always wear gloves to keep the stuff from your skin. Dick G.


I haven’t found Kerosene yet. But I have tried with Naphta for the dried ink with no luck. I also bought Gasoline, and didn’t do anything to the ink or grease. White Gas, nothing either.

I even got the US Mineral Spirits from Home Depot (imported)
And I can verify is the same thing as Aguarrás here.

The mineral spirits are great for fresh ink, but doesn’t do anything to old dried up ink.

Dick: Good advice, also glasses. For some reason I was using thinner on another piece I did want to remove the paint from, and some thinner splashed right near my eye, and it burned like hell. Then I put my safety glasses on. I was already wearing gloves though.

So, to anyone interested, here’s what I’ve bought so far and has not really worked:

From left to right:
- White Gasoline
- Mineral Spirits (from the US)
- Aguarrás (from what I can tell, the most similar to the US mineral spirits)
- Regular Gas Station Gasoline
- Naphta (Nafta)
- Petroleum (Petroleo)

image: IMG_77562.jpg



Enrique, your problem is that the dried ink is chemically very similar to the oil-based paint on the press. Almost anything you would use that removed the ink would also remove the paint. If you don’t want to damage the paint perhaps your best choice at this point is to leave the ink and just use the press as-is. About the only other choice is to strip the press with paint stripper and then repaint in the same color. Sorry!


Bob, thanks for your answer. It seems like a fairly complicated machine to paint. I mean because of the masking of all the parts that can’t have paint.

Does anyone have any tips on re-painting an SP-15 ?

Thank you.