Solvents Guide

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Solvents Guide

Need a solvent for project cleanup but not sure which one to use? Read on! Screen shot or save our comparison chart for future use too.

PLEASE NOTE: All solvents listed here are flammable and/or combustible so please use caution and always refer to SDS for complete information before use.


- Still the best solvent for cleaning up polyesters, epoxies and polyurethanes.
- A great de-greaser
- NOT to be used for cleaning up plastics or silicones, as acetone will often partially dissolve them.
- Will also dissolve styrofoam!
Note: If you are sculpting with styrofoam and don’t want to use a cutting tool, you can use acetone to shape the foam (do this cautiously as the acetone reacts very fast with styrofoam!)
- Extremely flammable, so use with caution.


- This is similar to what gave you that hangover last Saturday morning, but this one is poisonous because of the addition of a denaturant. CANNOT BE MADE NON-POISONOUS!
- Used for thinning shellac, creating copal varnish or diluting castor oil for spraying as a mold release
- Oh, and use it as a fuel for that alcohol lamp too!


- Methanol has similar properties to Denatured Alcohol (ethanol) and can be substituted for some applications when ethanol is not available. CANNOT BE MADE NON-POISONOUS!
- Used for thinning shellac, creating copal varnish or diluting castor oil for spraying as a mold release
- Oh and use it as a fuel for that alcohol lamp too!


- Isopropyl Alcohol (A.K.A. Isopropanol or Rubbing Alcohol) finds use in the art world as a clean up solvent for chemicals such as polyurethane and silicone rubbers, resins, hardeners, dyes, colorants, and more.
- Effective for clean up of epoxy resins and epoxy hardeners.
- Works great as an all purpose solvent, featuring fast-drying, low vapor usage, and is safe to use on plastics (unlike Acetone).
Some other uses for Isopropyl Alcohol 99%:
- Alcohol-activated special fx makeup
- Cleaning and degreasing surfaces for adhesive bonding
- Disinfecting surfaces
- Specimen preservation
- Smoothing plastilene clay


- VM&P, (A.K.A. “Varnish Maker’s & Painter’s” Naphtha) is a very clean and relatively fast evaporating solvent which can be used for thinning oils, enamels and removing waxes and silicone oils from castings.
- This stuff works great for removing stubborn labels and stickers from most surfaces too!


- DBE is used as an acetone and methylene chloride replacement without the toxicity and flammability
- Great for cleaning up all resins (urethanes, epoxies, polyesters)
- Great for cleaning up urethane foams and rubber too!
- We used to carry this product a few years ago and IT IS BAAAAACK! It should be hitting our shelves again very soon


- OMS is a cleanup and thinning solvent which is produced from selected hydrocarbons under conditions which exclude virtually all odor producing fractions. This product is consequently highly stable and retains a virtually odorless quality under normal conditions and extended storage.
- OMS is useful for cleanup and thinning of silicone rubber, as well as oil based paints, stains, and varnishes.
- Used to clean brushes, tools, as well as clean and degrease surfaces such as wood to prepare for painting.


- An advanced and environmentally friendly VOC-compliant solvent.
- ZEE-LENE is a direct replacement for Xylene, and an alternative for Toluene, Parachlorobenzo-triflouride, and Tertiary Butyl Acetate used for thinning oil-based paints, varnish, resin, inks and adhesives.
- ZEE-LENE is hazardous air pollutant-free, environmentally hazardous ingredient-free, ozone depleting or creating chemical-free, and is considered Zero VOC in all 50 states.

 There you have it! Check out the comparison chart below! Save or screenshot this to refer back to whenever you are wondering which solvent will work best!

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