Oil painting often requires the use of solvents both to dilute the paint and to clean brushes and other tools. While the most popular solvent is turpentine, some others have smells that are easier to handle.
Oil painting requires the use of solvents both to dilute the paint and to clean brushes and accessories. Although the best-known solvent is turpentine, there are solvents whose odour is easier to bear.
1-Turpentine (also referred to as rectified turpentine, purified turpentine, distilled turpentine, and pure gum turpentine)
Is an essential oil extracted from various coniferous tree resins. Although turpentine is an excellent solvent and a very good diluter for oil paints, it emits a strong odour and can cause considerable allergic reactions.
Tip: Turpentine yellows and thickens over time, so avoid exposing it to air or light for too long.
2-Mineral spirits (odourless solvents)
are petroleum distillates that can also stand in for turpentine when it comes to dissolving paint, but not for dammar resin and related products. Mineral spirits cause very few health problems or allergies, are usually less expensive than other products, and don’t deteriorate over time. When properly prepared, they are odourless and a good option for painting and for cleaning. As solvents, mineral spirits are not as strong as turpentine; as mediums, they give similar results when it comes to drying and final appearance.
There are various odourless solvents based on mineral spirits including those made from taltine, turpenoid or gamsol, among others.
3- White spirit and petroleum essential oil
Are slightly less purified and stronger mineral spirits. They have a slight odour and dry colours a little faster than odourless solvents. Some of these products contain a high percentage of aromatic solvents (usually derived from benzene). Repeated exposure can be extremely toxic.
Citrus-based solvents act like mineral spirits, but they speed up drying time. Most of them are almost free of aromatic substances. Grumtine, however, is as strong as turpentine.