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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Rubbing or Grain Alcohol as a solvent ApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-04-04 00:01:56 ... Most recent comment 2018-04-04 16:58:31
    Health and Safety Oil Paint Solvents and Thinners

    ​Dear MITRA,

    After scraping down my glass palette I have been using rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to clean it. Are there any chemical interactions here that would be unsafe to breath or any residue on the palette that would cause painting problems? It seems to be working great but I want to make sure I'm not doing anything unsafe. I try to minimize my Gamsol use as much as possible because I'm concerned about the potential health problems it can cause.

    I also occassionally use baby wipes to clean off my pallette, which work shockingly well, but they have a fiberous texture that I've found creates more dust (which ends up in my paintings) than regular paper towls. 

    Could rubbing alcohol or other types of alcohol be used as a solvent to clean brushes (like one does with a jar of Gamsol) or as a paint thinner in oil paintings themselves? I had been using Spike Lavendar as a medium for a while with happy results, but learned from MITRA that it's actually not proven to be any safer than Gamsol. 

    Any insight into the use of alcohols in oil painting and cleanup would be much appreciated!

    Thank you!

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    If by rubbing alcohol, you are referring to isopropyl alcohol (aka isopropanol), there are no objections to using it to clean your palette. I would opt for the higher percentage (often around 92% in water) It may even be more effective at cleaning because it does not really dilute the oil paint in the same way that OMS does. It just rather attacks it making it easier to clean up. Just make sure that it has visible evaporated before putting more oil paint on the palette and there will be no residual issues.

    Baby wipes may have other additives to make the active ingredient less drying to the infant's skin. It would likely be best to avoid them.

    Do not attempt to dilute oil paint with alcohols. They are not appropriate for thinning oils and will likely just make them separate in an unsightly manner.

    Brian Baade
    2018-04-04 16:58:31

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