If you are redecorating your property you will likely need some white spirit to clean your paint brushes after the job. This white spirit is also referred to as paint thinner or petroleum distillate and can be used for thinning oil paint as well as removing paint. 

The issue of white spirit however is that it is a very toxic chemical to humans as well as to the environment so needs to be disposed of properly. You must never pour white spirit down the drain and should instead recycle it.

In our brief guide below we will cover why you should never dump white spirit down the drain and why white spirit itself is so dangerous, as well as the best way to dispose of it. 

Can I Dump Mineral Spirits Down The Drain?

As mineral spirits are made with a concentration of white spirit, is not recommended to dispose of them down the drain due to them being classed as a toxic chemical. 

If you decide to throw mineral spirit down the drain it will linger as the chemical is insoluble in water, this could damage your household drainpipes and sceptic tanks, as well as the environment if it enters the local water supply.

How Dangerous Is White Spirit?

White spirit is a very dangerous chemical and has to be handled with extreme care, if you get the spirit on skin it can cause severe irritation and it should only be used in well-ventilated areas where you have access to clean air too.

We have listed some of the negative health effects white spirit can cause when used improperly below. 

  • Memory impairment. 
  • Sickness. 
  • Eye irritation. 
  • Dizziness. 
  • Contact dermatitis. 
  • Breathing issues. 

All these dangers can be passed on to wildlife too and can potentially kill animals such as fish if it enters their habitat or water, which is why we have to be careful about how we dispose of the spirit.

What’s The Best Way To Dispose Of The White Spirit?

There are two ways to dispose of white spirit, one is to take it to your local hazardous waste collection site where it can be disposed of properly, and the other is to just keep reusing it. 

White spirit can be reused over and over again and does not lose its properties for cleaning and thinning paint brushes, keep using it for various projects until it is finished.

Final Words

 To conclude, the white spirit should always be handled with care as it is a toxic chemical, to dispose of it properly, simply reuse it until finished or take it to your local hazard waste site, never pour it down the drain as it could harm the environment.

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Scott Buckley

I'm Scott, a Woodworker by day and book geek by night. I love making things out of wood. While I have and still, on occassion do, work with metal and plastics, I find them to be cold and somewhat boring. Wood is warm and I feel close to nature with it. I started TeachMeDIY.co.uk as a means to help like minded creative folk to answer burning questions. I hope you enjoy reading and learning, and always feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions!

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