Should I use mineral spirits on sanded wood, before finishing?

Q: I’m through sanding and cleaning my floors and am getting ready to apply an oil based semi gloss finish. Someone told me to clean the floors with mineral spirits, is this true? Should I use mineral spirits on sanded wood?

A: I wouldn’t do that on bare wood. Just vacuum well, and if you like, wipe the floor down with a micro weave mop. Make sure there is no dust on window sills, etc., and no air movement across the floor while it sets up. Make sure your finish and applicators are clean and free of debris also.

Related Q: We are having unfinished sawn white oak installed and the installer used mineral spirits to show us the color of a few boards. There is a white residue on parts of the boards. We had the mill do a light wire brush and the installer was going to buff the floor before staining it. Will these marks buff out of the floor? Is it safe to use mineral spirits on unfinished hardwood? Would paint or laquer thinner be better? Thank you.

A: Mineral spirits, paint thinner (unless you mean turpentine), and varsol are all the same, though unless virgin mineral spirits is used there can be other contaminants in the mineral spirits. Having said that, I wouldn’t expect any issue with the spot. Get a piece of fine sand paper and give it a rub.

I would use water on the wood to give an indication of the colour of the wood if using an oil based finish. If it is non ambering water borne, best to apply a small sample with the finish. It dries fast and can be easily removed.

One thought on “Should I use mineral spirits on sanded wood, before finishing?”

  1. 3dcHi Maria,I admit I stumbled on your blog over a month ago sehncairg for advice on this very topic. But I immediately added your blog on my newsreader and have been reading more and more of your older posts since. While I understand color a little better (like why my basement bedroom with the light paint color looks so dark)I am still at a loss with my kitchen cabinets. We just got “New Bianco Romano” granite countertops. We have 80s ugly oak cabinets and are going to paint them white. I have no idea what Benjamin Moore white is right. I want a white that is warm and inviting but definitely not yellow/cream while still going well with our new granite countertop and gunstock bruce hardwood floor. Any advice you can give me would be great I have been to Benjamin Moore so many times, but still have no idea. If you also have suggestions for a complimentary wall color, I welcome your expertise!!!

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