White spirit and turpentine
In order to avoid any confusion it should be noted that
turpentine used by artists is actually called turpentine oil.
Turpentine is the original balsam that is tapped from various
pine-trees and from which the volatile turpentine oil is acquired
through distillation. In chemical terms turpentine oil consists of
various "terpenes" and due to its good properties as a solvent it
is highly suited as a solvent for (oil) paints, mediums and
varnishes. By distilling the turpentine oil once more the level of
resin-like substances is reduced to a minimum and the
practically 100% volatile "rectified turpentine" is produced.
Serious artists are strongly advised to use only this
White spirit, as is petrol, is a petroleum distillate. The odour
and capacity to act as solvent depend on the extent to which the
so-called "aromatic hydrocarbons" are present in the solvent.
Well-known aromatic hydrocarbons are xylene and toluene, which
incidentally are present only in small quantities in white spirit.
Various types of white spirit are available. In general the solvent
capacity increases if the percentage of aromatic hydrocarbons is
higher. The odourless property of odourless white spirit is the
result of the almost complete lack of aromatic hydrocarbons,
resulting in not only the odour being much less but the solvent
capacity as well. Talens "Artists' grade" white spirit and
Odourless white spirit are 100% volatile.
In general turpentine oil has a larger solvent capacity than
white spirit. Dammar resin does for example dissolve in turpentine
oil but not in white spirit. Due to its low solvent capacity
odourless white spirit is not suitable for removing old varnish
Although it is often thought that things that come directly
from nature are less harmful than those produced chemically, it
should be emphasised here that turpentine oil is more harmful than
white spirit, more irritable for the eyes and skin and is more
likely to lead to oversensitivity (allergic reactions). In theory,
both thinners can be used both to thin the paint and to clean the
brushes. However, in connection with the evaporation and the
associated contamination of the air, it is recommended that white
spirit be used for cleaning materials. The resin-like odour of
turpentine is considered by many painters as pleasant and is
usually used as an argument for using turpentine as thinner for the
Ensure at all times that the work room is well