Can I Safely Put Mineral Spirits In A Plastic Container?

Mineral spirits can be pretty dangerous, and they’re much too hazardous to leave in the house.

This mild solvent is toxic if ingested, and capable of burning you if it gets on your skin. And this is why mineral spirits always need to be carefully stored.

But, this solvent liquid is still strong enough to melt through certain types of plastic containers. Which can make things difficult, if you want to store mineral spirits safely.

So, in this post, you will first find out what mineral spirits are made of. You will also learn why this solvent liquid is so flammable, that it even poses a possible fire hazard. And we reveal the safest type of container for storing mineral spirits.

3 Reasons Why Woodworking Is So Goo...
3 Reasons Why Woodworking Is So Good For You
can i put mineral spirits in a plastic container

This post may contain affiliate links to products that we receive a commission for (at no additional cost to you). Learn more here.

What Are Mineral Spirits Made From Exactly?

Mineral spirits, (also known as White Spirit or even Mineral Turpentine), comes from petroleum distillate. So, it’s basically made from the same stuff found in diesel, baby oil, and even cutting board oil finishes.

However, when it comes to mineral spirits, this particular petroleum derivative is used as a mild degreasing solvent, since it can break down grease.

And What Is The Difference Between Mineral Spirit And Mineral Oil?

In short? Their level of refinement.

Mineral oil, (the kind used to seal cutting boards), is made from petroleum distillate too. But, food grade mineral oil has been filtered of all harmful toxins. That is why it is even safe enough for human consumption (although it is used as a laxative, not as a culinary oil!).

Mineral Spirits, on the other hand, have not been refined to the same extent. This clear liquid fluid is toxic if consumed, and highly flammable. Plus, it can irritate (and sometimes even burn) your skin.

That is why mineral spirits should be stored away in a place where it cannot be easily accessed by children.

Is Paint Thinner The Same Thing As Mineral Spirits?

Among it’s many different uses, mineral spirits can be used as a paint thinner too. However, mineral spirit is a less powerful solvent than other paint thinner alternatives such as Acetone or Naphtha.

Basically, mineral spirit is a paint thinner, but not all paint thinners are mineral spirits.

So Where Should I Store Mineral Spirits Safely?

The safest container for mineral spirits is the one it came in. The manufacturers of this product will have used a container made from a substance that is solvent-resistant.

But, more importantly, you need to keep mineral spirits in a cool dry place. Mineral spirits are a flammable liquid, and it’s flashpoint temperature ranges between 105°F (41°C) and 145°F (63°C).

So, you should keep it in a cool section of your garage or shed, and away from any direct sunlight.

What Do You Mean By Flashpoint Temperature?

A flammable liquid is one that’s capable of spontaneously combusting at a temperature of 200°F (93.3°C) or less.

For example, Linseed oil (a popular drying oil wood finish) is notorious for spontaneous combustion. It is very flammable in its liquid form, which is why you should always be careful when you dispose of any Linseed oil soaked rags.

Related Post: Can You Mix Linseed Oil With Mineral Spirits? [Best Practice Revealed!]

Linseed oil has a flash point of 200°F (93.3°C), which puts it within a hairs breadth inside that flammable range. But, that’s enough to make this oil a fire hazard risk… just like mineral spirits.

The Original Mineral Spirit Container Is Damaged! What Alternative Container Can I Safely Use For Mineral Spirits?

Your best alternative now is to pour that mineral spirit into a stainless steel metal jar.

What’s more, for added safety, this container needs to be an airtight one. Which means that its lid should have a rubber gasket (inside the lid) that helps to form an airtight seal. And, the very best types of metal jars will also have clips that press down the lid too.

These types of jars are widely used by artists for cleaning their paint brushes. And one of the most reliable metal jars for mineral spirits, can be found in LOONENG’s Air Tight Brush Washer. Specially designed to contain solvents, it’s watertight lid will not let a single drop of mineral spirit get past it.

You can find the latest prices for this metal jar over on Amazon.com

What About A Plastic Container? Will Mineral Spirits Eat Through Plastic?

It depends on the type of plastic.

There are many different types of plastics used for making containers.

For example, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic is an popularly used material. It’s commonly used for creating packaging, bottles, tubes, and containers.

However, ABS containers should not be used to store mineral spirits, since solvent liquids can breakdown the key physical properties of ABS plastic.

On the other hand, there are some plastics that are solvent-resistant, such as HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). This plastic is also used for making containers and bottles. And these HDPE plastic containers can be used to store mineral spirit.

However, unless you’re sure about the exact plastic used for a container, its best to stick to stainless steel metal.

To Sum Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…

  • 1). Mineral spirits are flammable solvents that must be stored in cool temperatures of less than 105°F (41°C).
  • 2). The safest type of mineral spirit container is the one it originally came in when you bought it. Otherwise, the next best container would be an airtight stainless steel metal jar.
  • 3). Certain types of plastics used for packaging and containers, can melt if you store solvent in them. So, don’t store mineral spirit in plastic containers. Err on the side of caution, and stick to stainless steel metal jars.

References:

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene | ScienceDirect.com

Tranter, Jack B., Paul Refalo, and Arif Rochman. “Towards sustainable injection molding of ABS plastic products.” Journal of Manufacturing Processes 29 (2017): 399-406.

Flammable Liquids 29 CFR 1910.106 | OSHA