11 Best Oil Painting Thinners In 2022: Reviews & First Aid Tips

Best Oil Painting Thinners

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If you're looking for the best oil painting thinners, then look no further than this article. Here is a list of our favorite brands that we reviewed in-depth so that you can find the perfect one for your needs. 

We've also included a list of common symptoms to look for in solvent poisoning and first aid tips. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced art student ready to start your masterpiece, there's an oil painting thinner!

Our Top Picks

Gamblin Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spiritscheck price button

Best Overall - Gamblin Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits

• Safer than turpentine
• Oil paints and thin mediums
• Odorless

Sunnyside Pure Odorless Paint Thinnercheck price button

Best for Cleaning Brushes - Sunnyside Pure Odorless Paint Thinner

• Removes grease and oils from your brushes
• Excellent for indoor use
• Removes oil paint from clothes

Best Environment-Friendly Solvent - Real Milk Paint Co, Citrus Solvent

• Biodegradable solvent
• 100% natural ingredients
• No harmful fumes

1. Gamblin Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits - Best Overall

Gamblin Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits

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 Pros Cons
  • Safer than turpentine
  • Thins mediums and oil paint
  • Odorless
  • Reusable
  • Non-toxic when used as recommended
  • Doesn't clean as efficiently as turpentine
  • Expensive


What Customers Have to Say

Artists appreciate that this odorless mineral spirit is unlike other OMS in the market. It does not have any foul odors, though it still has a faint smell if you are sensitive to odors. It also works like a charm, and the pricing is very affordable, considering its features.

Why We Think It's Great

Formulated by Robert Gamblin, a renowned artist and paint maker, every Gamblin product is a testimony of his lifelong aim to make painting enjoyable for students and professionals alike. Gamblin Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits, as the company sees it, "is the standard for studio safety."

Though not entirely free of petroleum distillate, it is odorless and non-toxic when you follow safety instructions to the letter. It is also reusable, so you get good value for your money. You can keep the used mineral spirit in an airtight container for future cleaning needs.

Aside from cleaning your brushes, it also thins your oil paints, and you can use it to mix with your oil mediums.

Who Should Buy It

Anyone sensitive to smell but won't trade function for comfort is in for a treat with Gamblin Gamsol OMS. It is non-toxic if you take precautionary measures to protect yourself from skin contamination and inhale fumes.

2. Sunnyside Pure Odorless Paint Thinner - Best for Cleaning Brushes

Sunnyside Pure Odorless Paint Thinner

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 Pros Cons
  • Removes grease and oils from your brushes
  • Excellent for indoor use
  • Remove oil paint from clothes
  • Makes DIY polyurethane varnish
  • Affordable

What Customers Have to Say

Many artists gave Sunnyside a 5/5 rating because it is odorless, unlike other brands that claim to be odorless. It makes cleanup a breeze. It is also very affordable, and the cap is airtight so that you can store it for a long time.

Why We Think It's Great

You can use Sunnyside Pure Odorless Paint Thinner to take off grease and oils leftover on brushes after painting. There is no need to worry about working indoors since they are odorless. However, odorless doesn't mean VOC-free, so take the same precaution when dealing with odorless thinners.

The product also removes oil paint from clothes. The thinners come in 1-quart tin cans, so all of this quality means even cheap paint thinner starts to seem like a steal.

Who Should Buy It

This paint thinner is the best alternative for artists who work on large projects or for art teachers who want something to recommend to their students.

3. Winsor & Newton Sansodor Low Odor Solvent

Winsor & Newton Sansodor Low Odor Solvent

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 Pros Cons
  • Slow evaporation
  • Lengthens blending time
  • Works for oil and alkyd colors
  • Reduced VOCs
  • Cleans brushes efficiently
  • Costly
  • Small packaging

What Customers Have to Say

Customers love it for its low odors and efficiency in its job. It adheres to the Winsor & Newton quality, which customers love about this brand.

Why We Think It's Great

When you need an explicit, odorless solvent to clean your brushes, Winsor & Newton Sansodor Low Odor Solvent is the perfect answer. It evaporates more slowly than turpentine and has a lower odor, making it easier to work with oil paints. Its slower evaporation rate enables a longer blending time, so you can mix your oil well without fear of it drying out. 

It also has reduced VOCs compared with turpentine and other solvents. The small packaging (75ml) is costly but practical, especially if you want to bring it outdoors for your Plein air painting sessions. Don't worry about throwing out the solvent after using it since you can store it in an airtight glass jar for future cleaning purposes.

Who Should Buy It

Winsor & Newton Sansodor Low Odor Solvent is an excellent alternative to turpentine for artists who avoid exposure to harmful VOCs. It also works well for asthmatics and smell-sensitive artists.

4. Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner

Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner

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 Pros Cons
  • Conforms to ASTM D-4236
  • Low-odor brush cleaner
  • Thins oil paints and varnishes well
  • Remove gunk on brushes
  • Blends colored pencils
  • Flammable
  • Does not have the Prop 65 warning

What Customers Have to Say

Satisfied customers left good reviews for Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner. Some artists and crafters used to get it from a local art and craft store and scour online stores to find it again. It has a low odor, but you still need to work in an area with adequate ventilation when using this paint thinner.

Why We Think It's Great

Have you found your brushes too gunky for painting? Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner will solve all these problems in a few seconds. It leaves the paint thin and smooth, and speeds up the process by removing hardened bits from your brushes.

Who Should Buy It

Anyone who loves painting with oils without the aggravating smells of solvents will appreciate Mona Lisa odorless thinner. It is excellent at thinning mediums and getting more value as a brush cleaner for your money.

5. Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Thinner

Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Thinner

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 Pros Cons
  • Non-toxic formulation
  • Doesn't emulsify the oil paints
  • Thickens oil colors faster than turpentine
  • Low odors
  • Cleans well with water
  • Long learning process
  • Expensive

What Customers Have to Say

According to recent buyers, there is no need to wait for hours until the paint dries with artist-grade water mixable paints. Simply add a little thinner, and it's ready to go. Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Thinner contains only three ingredients: purified water, alkyd resin, and glycerin, making our Artist Water Mixable range easy and economical to work with.

Why We Think It's Great

Haven't you wished for a non-toxic solvent you could use to thin oil paint? Worry not, because Newton & Winsor brings you its first-ever water-mixable medium thinner. Newton & Winsor went out of their way to formulate a non-toxic, low odor water-mixable thinner to enhance its oil colors. You can use it on other brands without worrying about compatibility issues.

While they're solvent-free, you still get the smooth, buttery feel when applying your oil paints and get the same gloss on your finished projects. If your paint has a thicker consistency, you can also add drying oils to thin your oil paint. At 250ml each bottle, it is a bit expensive but a good trade-off because you can now enjoy your work without worrying about health issues.

Who Should Buy It

This water-mixable thinner is best for allergic artists and those who have adverse reactions to traditional solvents and turpentine components. This oil painting thinner is also best for artists who love working with water-soluble oil paints.

6. Weber Odorless Turpenoid

Weber Odorless Turpenoid

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 Pros Cons
  • 4X less evaporation time than turpentine
  • Odorless
  • Works with oil and alkyd colors
  • Cheap turpentine substitute
  • Mixes well with mediums
  • Does not work as well as a solvent
  • Limit use to 10% of the paint

What Customers Have to Say

Artists recommend Weber Odorless Turpenoid as an odor-free thinner substitute for those who want to work with oils but are too sensitive to work with traditional solvents. It cleans well and is very economical to use also.

Why We Think It's Great

Weber Odorless Turpenoid may not work as a solvent. Still, it does well for cleanup duty without worrying about fumes since it has a prolonged evaporation rate and very low harmful vapors. You may use it exposed for a long time because it evaporates slowly. Its evaporation rate is more than four times slower than traditional turpentine in a controlled setting.

The 1-quart packaging is convenient for professional artists who clean lots of brushes. Aside from its upright front, you also save on the turpenoid you lose from evaporation.

Who Should Buy It

This turpenoid is perfect for people who are sensitive to strong odors and fumes. Although it still contains petroleum distillates, it is still the safer route to take when working with oils.

7. Winsor & Newton Distilled Turpentine

Winsor & Newton Distilled Turpentine

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 Pros Cons
  • Strongest thinner type
  • Removes varnish
  • Cleans stubborn and heavy gunk on oil brushes
  • Thins oil paints, varnishes, and wood stains
  • Good customer service
  • Expensive
  • Small packaging
  • Emits heady fumes


What Customers Have to Say

Some artists believe that a review is necessary because Winsor & Newton Distilled Turpentine speaks for itself. Even crafters appreciate its quality and finish. No wonder that it's a favorite among Winsor & Newton users.

Why We Think It's Great

Keep your brushes clean and in almost-new condition with Winsor & Newton Distilled Turpentine. It is stronger than most thinners and removes varnish, cleans stubborn and heavy gunk on oil brushes.

It also thins oil paints, varnishes, and wood stains so you can apply them smoothly. The company also offers great customer service to its clients, so you know you're in good hands with this brand. 

The downside to this product is the small packaging. At only 75ml per transparent bottle, it also costs more per ml. However, knowing how efficiently it works balances the price point.

Who Should Buy It

If you want to keep your paintbrushes for a long time, this little giant should be in your arsenal. Remove even the most stubborn, caked-up oil paint on your brushes without damaging them. It does have a strong smell, though, and may cause headaches and skin irritation.

8. Real Milk Paint Co, Citrus Solvent - Best Environment-Friendly Solvent

Real Milk Paint Co, Citrus Solvent

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 Pros Cons
  • Biodegradable solvent
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • No harmful fumes
  • Clean, citrusy scent
  • Non-toxic even when inhaled
  • More expensive than turpentines and OMS



What Customers Have to Say

According to most users, Real Milk Paint Co. Citrus Solvent is an all-around thinner that you can use not only on your oil paints but also for finishing your counters, floors, etc.

Why We Think It's Great

Citrus Solvents are aromatic solvents that make an excellent alternative to a safer, thinner, and cleaner that you can feel comfortable using. It does not have harmful fumes or foul odors and is biodegradable. Once mixed with oil paints and mediums, though, it is no longer non-toxic, so you should still take extra care when disposing of your garbage.

Its primary components are citrus oil and water, making it 100% natural. It is also clear as water, so it won't affect the colors of your paints when used as a thinner. However, it is more expensive than traditional turpentine and OMS, especially citrus peels. 

You can only imagine the time and resources it took to extract the oils from the peels. It is also available in 16oz and 1-gallon packaging.

Who Should Buy It

Get yourself this biodegradable citrus solvent if you don't want to worry about flammable and toxic waste from your oil paintings. This solvent is also great for crafters who love woodwork, as you can use it for finishing your woodwork projects.

9. U.S. Art Supply Odorless Mineral Spirits Thinner

U.S. Art Supply Odorless Mineral Spirits Thinner

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 Pros Cons
  • Premium refined solvent
  • Cleans brushes efficiently
  • Thins oil paints, stains, and varnishes
  • Powerful degreaser
  • Blends colored pencils
  • Banned in California
  • May cause reactions to hypersensitive persons  
  • Expensive

What Customers Have to Say

According to many users, it's not entirely odorless, but the smell is a lot lower than most turpentine and mineral spirits. In some cases, it caused reactions in asthmatic people. It does wonders, though, in removing spills of varnish and stains and thinning oil paint. It even removed Gorilla tape remnants!

Why We Think It's Great

U.S. Art Supply Odorless Mineral Spirits Thinner will make long hours in the art studio smell like success, not solvent. It thins oil paints and varnishes to the right consistency and blends colored pencils perfectly without the risk of gumming them up.

It removes greasiness and stubborn oils from brushes without leaving any residual odor. It also helps the colors in your oil paints blend beautifully to create gorgeous washes. It comes in two packages of 125ml and 500ml in a transparent plastic bottle and a snug black cap. 

This oil painting thinner comes cheaper than larger containers, but the 125ml bottle is a good choice if you want something portable. Though dubbed an odorless thinner, it is not entirely odorless and won't cause irritation.

Who Should Buy It

This small bottle of odorless thinner is perfect for traveling artists and those who don't have much storage space in their studio. Smaller bottles are also easier to stash in upper cabinets to keep them out of reach to kids and pets.

10. Winsor & Newton Artist's White Spirits

Winsor & Newton Artist's White Spirits

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 Pros Cons
  • Keeps well during storage
  • Dilutes oil and alkyd colors
  • Effectively cleans brushes
  • Dries slower than turpentine
  • Removes dried oil paints on brushes
  • May be fatal when ingested or inhaled
  • May induce sleeping, dizziness, etc.

What Customers Have to Say

Aside from cleaning oil paint brushes and thinning oil paints, Winsor & Newton Artist's White Spirits also effectively cleans adhesive residues without affecting colors on synthetic leather. An artist said she stopped throwing her old paintbrushes since using this solvent effectively removes paint gunk from the bristles without damaging them.

Why We Think It's Great

Made to keep well during storage, you won't observe any discoloration or evaporation on Winton & Newton Artist White Spirits, even if you keep it for a long time in your studio. Winton & Newton Artist White Spirits dilute oil and alkyd colors, making them easier to use for spectacular results.

Did we mention that it dries slower than turpentine? Slower drying means less evaporation, so you can work with your diluted oil paints at a good pace instead of rushing through it when using fast-drying turpentine. 

You may also use it to thin other slow-drying oil like poppy oil, walnut oil, or stand oil. The clear plastic bottle with a white cap in a distinctive Winsor & Newton design has 75ml of mineral spirits.

Who Should Buy It

The Newton & Winsor White Spirits is perfect for professional artists who have no qualms about using professional-grade solvents for their oil paintings.

11. Chelsea Classical Studio Lavender Spike Oil Essence

Chelsea Classical Studio Lavender Spike Oil Essence

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 Pros Cons
  • Pleasant lavender scent
  • May be used for other crafts
  • May be used with mediums, resins, and varnishes
  • No carcinogenic components
  • Well-packaged
  • Expensive
  • May not sit well with people sensitive to lavender scent

What Customers Have to Say

According to some users, Chelsea Classical Studio Lavender Spike Oil Essence is very pleasant to use, a perfect solvent to temper the smell of traditional oil paints. Some artists even got rid of turpentine and other toxic chemicals in their studios.

Why We Think It's Great

Chelsea Classical Studio Lavender Spike Oil Essence is also a safer alternative. It does not have petroleum or turpentine content, so you don't have to worry about carcinogens and other harmful elements in this solvent.

Who Should Buy It

This painting solvent is a favorite among masters in the Renaissance, and if you want to join their ranks, you should try this solvent.


Turpentine vs. White Spirits vs. Citrus Oil: Which Should You Get?

Features

Turpentine

White Spirits

Odorless Mineral Spirits

Citrus oil solvent

Other Names/ Brands

Spirit of Turpentine, Oil of Turpentine

Mineral spirits, petroleum spirits, paint thinner

Low odor solvent,

Gamsol, Sansodor

Real Milk Paint Co Citrus Solvent

Source

Natural resin from trees

Petroleum distillates

Citrus peel

Odors

Smelly

Smelly

Low

Citrus scent

Flammable

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

VOCs

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Toxicity

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Discoloration

No

Yes

Yes

No

Use with other mediums 

Yes; may be used to dilute natural resins such as Damar to use as varnish

Yes; cannot dilute natural resins such as Damar to use as varnish

Yes; cannot dilute natural resins such as Damar to use as varnish

Yes

Waste Disposal

Hazardous wastes

Hazardous wastes

Hazardous wastes

Biodegradable, unless disposing of citrus oil solvent used to clean oil paintbrushes

Common Effects

Headache, sleeplessness, coughing; may be fatal

Contact dermatitis, dizziness, nausea; may be fatal

Contact dermatitis, dizziness, nausea; may be fatal

Price

$

$

$$

$$$


Symptoms of Solvent Poisoning

  • A burning sensation and pain in the throat
  • Pain in the eyes, ears, mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Swelling of the mouth cavity
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Vision issues
  • Nausea and bloody vomit
  • Blood in stools
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Memory loss
  • Numbness in arms and legs
  • Low response
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

First Aid for Solvent Poisoning

  • Call your local emergency services and local poison control centers for emergency assistance and instruction.
  • List all information about the patient, and the poison, including time of exposure or ingestion, age, weight, and general status of the patient.
  • Pack the bottle of poison to send with the patient to the hospital.
  • Look for signs of shock and try to prevent its onset.
  • Remove the patient from the exposed area and avoid crowding him to keep him well-ventilated.
  • Clear the airways and check for breathing and a pulse.
  • DO NOT induce vomiting unless advised by a medical professional.
  • Remove any trace of poison from the mouth by wiping it with a wet cloth.
  • Give milk to drink as soon as you find out about the poisoning incident. However, if a patient is vomiting, stop.
  • If the eye gets exposed to poison, wash it in running water for 15 minutes or so.
  • Get medical help as soon as possible as the solvent, turpentine, and mineral spirits poisoning are fatal.

Prevention of Solvent Poisoning

  • Don't forget to work in a well-ventilated room or use a gas mask to protect yourself, as white spirits can potentially kill when ingested or inhaled.
  • Store any toxic chemicals away from children and pets.
  • Keep all poisonous and poisonous chemicals properly labeled.
  • Arm yourself with proper knowledge before handling any toxic chemicals.
  • List emergency and local poison control centers in a conspicuous area around the house.
  • Get proper information on how to manage first aid for poisoning. Induced vomiting does not remove all poisonous substances safely.

How to Minimize the Use of Solvents in Your Studio

  • Use safflower oil to clean brushes and work areas.
  • Use environmentally-friendly alternatives.
  • Try solvent-free oil paints. They may not have the same glossy finish as traditional oil paintings, but you can always solve the issue with a good varnish.
  • Use refined linseed oil or other mediums for thinning oil paint.

Conclusion

It is essential to find a product that suits your needs. We've highlighted our favorite brands in this article, and so, here are our top picks. Our best overall vote goes to Gamblin Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits because it is safer than most solvents. You can use it for thinning your painting mediums, and it is odorless. 

If you don’t use solvents for your painting session, you can still use Sunnyside Pure Odorless Paint Thinner, which is best for cleaning your brushes before washing them with water and brush soap. It removes grease and oils from your brushes and your clothes. It has low odors, too, making it suitable for smaller jobs.

Lastly, if you’re uncomfortable working with even odorless mineral spirits, you can always choose a biodegradable solvent. Instead of being citrus-scented like other mineral spirits are, Real Milk Paint Co, Citrus Solvent uses only natural oils from citrus peels and water. Therefore, you can’t smell any harmful fumes or obnoxious smells.

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