Will Mineral Spirits Be Enough To Remove Gel Stain?

Gel stains can add color to even the most difficult to stain timbers.

Acting more like paint, (than like a penetrating wood stain), gel stains sit on the surface of lumber. And once applied, it will dry and harden into a durable coat of even color.

However, what can you do if that gel stain coat goes horribly wrong? Maybe it’s color wasn’t quite what you were looking for. Or maybe, the gel stain is not drying evenly.

Regardless, we’re here to help. That’s because, in this post, we dive into what really makes up a mineral spirit solvent. You’ll also discover why this mild paint thinner isn’t always strong enough to cut through gel stain.

And we reveal which paint thinner is powerful enough to breakdown even the most hardened of gel stain coats.

will mineral spirits remove gel stain

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?

Mineral spirits are a petroleum distillate derived solvent liquid. Made by refining natural petroleum, this flammable substance can be found in cleaning products, varnishes and paints.

Mineral spirits, (at least the low odor ones), have the texture of very thin mineral oil (which is also a petroleum distillate product).

However, this mild solvent is great at breaking down oils and grease. And so it is also used as a paint thinner.

What Is The Key Difference Between Mineral Oil And Mineral Spirits?

Mineral spirits are refined petroleum, but it is not free of toxins.

Mineral oil, on the other hand, is a thicker liquid. But, food grade mineral oil, has had all of those poisonous toxins remove from it.

And What Removes Gel Stain?

A quality lacquer thinner will do the trick. These products contain a blend of many different solvents, making them more powerful than any singular solvent on its own.

Lacquer thinners are sometimes referred to as cellulose thinner, and they can easily breakdown even time-hardened resin coats. And a decent lacquer thinner will dissolve away gel stain too.

Is Lacquer Thinner A Paint Thinner? And Is Paint Thinner The Same Thing As Mineral Spirit?

Well, mineral spirits are a type of paint thinner. And some lacquer thinner products may contain mineral spirits.

But, mineral spirits are only a mild solvent. It is nowhere near as strong as the combined solvents contained in a lacquer thinner product.

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

And Will Paint Thinner Easily Remove Gel Stain?

A top coating gel stain, (meaning one that has not been sealed over with another finish), can be removed with a lacquer thinner.

The lacquer thinner will react with gel stain and soften it up. So much so, that you will be able to scrap most of that gel stain off the surface.

And the best lacquer thinner on the market, Klean Strip Lacquer Thinner, can even eat its way through multiple coats of gel stain.

You can find the latest prices for Klean Strips Lacquer Thinner over on Amazon right now.

Will Mineral Spirits Alone Remove Gel Stain?

Well, mineral spirits can thin out a still drying/curing gel stain. Enough so that you can scrape it off.

But, this is not the case when it comes to gel stain that has cured and hardened into a durable coat. You see, mineral spirits simply aren’t strong enough to break down the chemical bonds of a wholly cured gel stain coat.

What Is The Difference Between Dry And Cured Gel Stain?

A dry gel stain has gone through an evaporation process, turning it from a liquid gel into a solid (but still softened) film.

However, curing is a chemical process that turns that film into an altogether different substance. The end result is a resin coat that’s so tough, it’s difficult to remove.

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

  • 1). Mineral spirits are a petroleum-distillate derivative product. They are toxic, flammable, and great at cutting through grease.
  • 2). However, mineral spirits are a mild solvent. They can thin out still drying/curing gel stain. But, once gel stain has cured, mineral spirits simply aren’t strong enough to dissolve it.
  • 3). Lacquer thinners contain different solvents that combine to make an incredibly powerful paint thinner. Also known as cellulose lacquers, these products can break down even the hardest of cured gel stain coats.