Odorless mineral spirits +Search not loading

Hi, folks

I’ve been trying to do a search on here on and off for a week thinking the site was being slow but now I’m not so sure what’s going on! I put in the term and it just keeps loading without showing any results. Probably because I’m beating a dead horse asking this question with a flood that overloads the search engine!

I’m looking for answers on whether using odorless mineral spirits is the wrong thing for press wash-up. The hardware stores I’ve gone to only have the odorless so I got some but haven’t used it yet. Yes, I prefer less fumes. I’m using both rubber and oil base ink. SimpleGreen gives me a headache. Sorry to have this question YET AGAIN but the search engine isn’t working for me. Thanks in advance for assistance!


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I usually get the “KleenStrip paint thinner” at the local Ace hardware or “mineral spirits substitute” from Home Despot, but just about any no/low-VOC solvent will do (low VOC = less odor, among other things). Really, all it’s doing is thinning the ink so you can wipe it off, so almost any oil solvent will work.

A friend uses CitriSolv, but that costs a bit more

Side note- don’t use rubbing alcohol on poly plates, it wrecks them. (So says one of the plate making companies.)

Everyone would eliminate most of
Your press roller problems by using Press Wash or Blanket wash. It’s available at most paper houses or express stores that sell paper.
Roller wash has nourishing chemicals to press rollers.
It helps keep the shape, ink reception and compatibility.

And as a search note — the BP search function often fails. Just do your search in another search engine by simply adding the words “briar” or “briar press” to your query (so, for example, “press washup briar ” or “washup mineral spirits briar press.”

My roller makers have been pretty clear about only using a water miscible roller wash on rubber rollers. I do use mineral spirits to clean the ink disk, knives etc.

Most modern rubber compounds (neoprene, nitrile, etc) aren’t touched by the fairly weak solvents found in paint thinner (generally petroleum napthas/aliphatic petroleum distillates- I’m excluding the aromatics/benzine-related solvents- benzine, xylene, etc). The MSDS’s for a few blanket washes suggest a very similar composition.

Anyway, I’ve never had problems with using mineral spirits, I’d love to hear specifics of problems encountered.

odorless mineral spirits is still mineral spirits - the mfg add another chemical to mask the smell - in some ways, regular mineral spirits is better as it warns you that you breathing bad stuff - I still use it, but open a door and window and cut on a fan or two to blow the fumes away.

California wash is a good cleaner, but it has fumes. This is the same stuff, or just about the same stuff, in Coleman gas stove fuel.


I use just the basic stuff you can get at Ace, but I like using some Crisco first. I can get 80-90% of the ink off just with that. Then I only need a dab of odorless mineral spirits and I’m done.

Coleman fuel is white gas, very different from California Wash. California Wash was formulated to have lower VOC than regular blanket and roller washes, because of LA air pollution (same for alcohol substitutes for litho).
White gas is very volatile, and leaves no residue, but unlike other solvents in the print shop, its vapors are heavier than air and will settle to floor level. A spark can ignite it. Garage printers with a water heater pilot light down there, beware.
I use white gas around the Linotype, as is traditional, but I take ventilation seriously.

white gas is not the same as Colemen fuel - the name white gas relates back to the 1960s when only Amoco sold unleaded, premium gas - it could be substituted for Coleman fuel if u didn’t want to spend the money for Coleman fuel or couldn’t find it. Hey, it ran $.50 a gal. rather than $.30-35 for regular gas (in SC). Coleman fuel was $1-2/gal.

Today, all gas is “white gas;” that is, none if it has lead.

Coleman fuel is mostly naptha, I think; so is CA wash, I think.

I have used CA wash, Natha that i bought at Home Depot, mineral spirits, and even kerosene and diesel fuel. All work, but the type needs to be wipe down after it is cleaned and you need open a door, open a window and cut on some fans, no matter what you use if it is petroleum based.


Does anyone else find it a little frightening that Coleman fuel/white gas (basically gasoline) is being used as a solvent inside of a building?

I regularly use mineral spirits or kerosene to clean up my press. The paper towels or rags then go immediately outside to the recreational fireplace for disposal.

Many years ago, I used gasoline to clean paint brushes after a job was done. Then the price of gasoline went through the roof and it became better to just use cheap brushes and throw them away after use. Even in those days, though, we did this out of doors.

There was still the possibility of getting a bad burn if some idiot came over with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, but at least the house wouldn’t burn down.

Absolutely, you should not store any of the petroleum cleaners in your house if that is where the press(es) are. If you have a shop, find a water-proof storage cabinet or something to store them outside the studio - I used a 5 gal metal trash garbage can, with a metal top and a locking mechanism, to store used rags until I can dispose of them. The solvents are stored with my lawnmower in the backyard.

Again, when you use solvents no matter where you press is located - open the window/door and cut on fans.


Thank you all so much for your help! Really appreciate it :) Especially George Barnum for letting me know the BP search function is cantankerous and the workaround!!

LetterpressDad on 19 Aug 20 (13:33)-
white gas is not the same as Colemen fuel
- the name white gas relates back to the 1960s when only Amoco sold unleaded, premium gas

Today, all gas is “white gas;” that is, none if it has lead.

That is not correct (or no longer correct). “White gas” currently has two common meanings, one is “100% light hydro treated distillate” (aka Coleman fuel), the other is gasoline with -no- additives (ref back to Amoco). Modern gasoline can not be considered “white gas”.

Really though, unless you get into the actual chemistry and which molecular weights, hydrocarbon chain lengths, amount of aromatics, etc are in the liquid the names don’t matter much.

Pay more attention to things like amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), whether the vapors rise or fall, and the flash point. And, of course, don’t store or use near open flames (makes me wonder about shops that used gas lights) and don’t be afraid of them, just use with respect.