Quick Solvent Reference Guide

There are 5 times throughout a Waterlox project where the use of a solvent is recommended:

  1. Cleaning the surface before the first coat of a Waterlox product.
  2. Cleaning the surface between coats of Waterlox products.
  3. Cleaning application tools (e.g.: brushes, pads, etc.).
  4. Thinning Waterlox products for specific application techniques (i.e. spraying).
  5. Removing an unwanted drip or splatter.

This guide can be a quick reference tool on what to use and where. See the Waterlox and Solvents guide for more in-depth information.

Waterlox and Solvents


Cleaning Raw Wood

Tacking Between Coats

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

Thinning Waterlox

Removing Dried Waterlox

 

Paint Thinner

Cleaning Raw Wood

BEST

Tacking Between Coats

BEST

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

BEST

Thinning Waterlox

BEST

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

Mineral Spirits

Cleaning Raw Wood

BEST

Tacking Between Coats

BEST

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

BEST

Thinning Waterlox

BEST

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

Odorless / Low Odor Mineral Spirits

Cleaning Raw Wood

BETTER

Tacking Between Coats

BETTER

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

BETTER

Thinning Waterlox

BETTER

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

VM&P Naphtha

Cleaning Raw Wood

GOOD

Tacking Between Coats

GOOD

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

GOOD

Thinning Waterlox

NO

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

Water

Cleaning Raw Wood

NO*

Tacking Between Coats

OK

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

OK

Thinning Waterlox

NO2

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

Turpentine

Cleaning Raw Wood

OK1

Tacking Between Coats

NO

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

OK1

Thinning Waterlox

OK1

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

MEK

Cleaning Raw Wood

NO*

Tacking Between Coats

NO

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

NO

Thinning Waterlox

NO

Removing Dried Waterlox

YES

 

Acetone

Cleaning Raw Wood

NO*

Tacking Between Coats

NO

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

NO

Thinning Waterlox

NO

Removing Dried Waterlox

YES

 

Citrus Solvent / D-Limonene

Cleaning Raw Wood

OK1

Tacking Between Coats

OK1

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

OK1

Thinning Waterlox

OK1

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

Toluene / Xylene

Cleaning Raw Wood

NO

Tacking Between Coats

NO

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

NO

Thinning Waterlox

NO

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

Specialty / Custom Blends

Cleaning Raw Wood

See guide

Tacking Between Coats

See guide

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

See guide

Thinning Waterlox

See guide

Removing Dried Waterlox

See guide

 

Denatured Alcohol

Cleaning Raw Wood

NO*

Tacking Between Coats

NO

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

NO

Thinning Waterlox

NO

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

Lacquer Thinner

Cleaning Raw Wood

NO

Tacking Between Coats

NO

Cleaning Brushes / Applicators

NO

Thinning Waterlox

NO

Removing Dried Waterlox

NO

 

Quick Tips:

  1. The terms Mineral Spirits and Paint Thinner (NOT Lacquer thinner) are interchangeable. In fact, most containers of Paint Thinner will say something like “made with 100% mineral spirits” somewhere on the label.
  2. Odorless/Low Odor Mineral spirits is a more refined version of Regular Mineral Spirits or Paint thinner. Its slightly weaker, but it can be used in place of regular mineral spirits.
  3. For wiping surfaces, do not flood the surface with solvent. A damp, lint free rag will suffice.
    • If recommended solvents are not available, a DRY microfiber cloth will work.
    • Products labeled ‘Tack Cloths’ are not recommended because they may leave a residue and interfere with inter-coat adhesion.
  4. When cleaning applicator tools with something other than paint thinner or mineral spirits, allow tools to dry before using (may be a few hours with high quality brushes). If cleaning with paint thinner or mineral spirits, the applicator should not be dripping wet.
  5. Carefully read the label of VOC compliant products. They usually indicate the traditional solvent they have been designed to replace prominently on their label and can be used accordingly with one key exception.
    • If the blend is an emulsion, then it will usually be a milky color. These products contain water so they may raise grain if used on raw wood.
  6. MEK and Acetone are very effective at removing dried up Waterlox, but they may easily damage other finishes or surfaces. TEST FIRST.


* When used on raw wood, these will raise the grain. This will affect color and final surface smoothness.

1 These are OK but should be avoided if there are other alternatives. These are stronger than traditional mineral spirits, so usually less is needed for thinning.

2 You can thin H2OLOX products with water, but it is never recommended to do so.

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VOC vs Traditional

VOC Compliant vs. Traditional Formulations

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woodworking_guide.jpg

Waterlox woodworking finishing guide.

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