8 Solvents for Cleaning Up your next Job

solventA major part of our business here at FGCI is dedicated to solvents. Solvents are used for many things, but especially for cleanup. When you finish a project, you want to be able to clean up your mess, right? Everything from cleaning spray guns and brushes to wiping down the project afterwards, solvents are an important part of your project process. When you start a project, you want to make sure you pick up something to clean up, but which one works best? Let’s look!


Acetone is a necessity for cleaning up polyester resins and gelcoats. Acetone is also a very important step in treating your part before spraying gelcoat, as it helps get any and all oils off the part to avoid blemishes. This is probably the best overall cleaner.

Lacquer Thinner

Lacquer Thinner is a must for removing oils. You will see a lot of mechanics use this for parts cleaning and washing as it is great for removing a lot of the grease left by engines. You will also see this product offered in different degrees of purity, from the wash-grade to the medium to the high-grade.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Our Isopropyl Alcohol is 99% water free. This product is great for cleaning epoxy, especially for wiping down a new epoxy bar-top.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral Spirits are a tried and true paint cleaner you will see used by anyone painting a polyurethane or enamel paint as it breaks down the paint very quickly.


Styrene is a common solution found in resins and gelcoats, sometimes called ‘wax.’ Styrene is commonly used to thin down resin to allow it to seep into wood easier. We don’t recommend using it to thin gelcoat, however.


Toluene is a great multi-use product as it’s great for cleaning epoxy, but it also works for cleaning paint as well. Toluene is mainly used for cleaning up silicone and it does a great job on 5200.


T-12 is a very volatile solvent used mainly for cleaning epoxies. This solvent dries extremely quickly, but you will see it used frequently for cleaning brushes between uses.


Xylene is used mainly as a thinner for enamels. It can also be used for cleanup for paints as well.

The most important thing to remember with all of these solvents is that they all require proper protection. Gloves and some sort of clothing protection would be the least you can do. You may also consider respirators and eye protection as well. You also want to remember that all of this material is flammable, so be cautious and store it properly.

11 thoughts on “8 Solvents for Cleaning Up your next Job

  1. Tammy Porter June 27, 2017 / 12:00 am

    Can all of these solvents be used to clean off adhesive on a fiberglass shower?
    I bought a tube of liquid nails adhesive and it would not hold a soap dispenser on the wall.
    All though it says for fiberglass and plastic.
    It left a big mess, it wont just rub or scrape off.
    Which solvent would be my best bet?

    • FGCI June 27, 2017 / 12:03 pm

      So, with liquid nails, these solvents won’t really do the trick. I’m told the only thing that works is taking a heat gun or blow dryer and a scraper and scraping it off.
      Hope that works for you! Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any other questions. 1-800-272-7890.

      FGCI Customer Service

      • Tammy Porter June 28, 2017 / 5:26 am

        Thanks for the tip.
        I think with using a heat gun, I would be asking for more trouble. Maybe the blow dryer and a heavy plastic scraper.
        I think I got a bum tube of adhesive. I have used liquid nails before with no problem.
        Thanks so much for your reply. Will see how it goes. So aggravating.

      • Tammy Porter June 29, 2017 / 3:44 am

        Ok, this is what I did and it worked perfectly. I warmed the area with a blow dryer on high. I used a hard plastic putty knife and scraped off the bulk of the adhesive. I then used a paper towel saturated with Goof Off. It took the left over residue. The service is now smooth and not even sticky. Some wax would be in order now.

      • FGCI June 29, 2017 / 1:11 pm

        That’s great to hear! Glad you were able to get that stuff off!

        FGCI Customer Service

    • FGCI June 25, 2018 / 6:19 pm

      Thank you for reading our blog :-D

  2. meet online July 9, 2018 / 11:08 am

    Thank you for some other informative web site. Where else may just I am getting that type of information written in such an ideal means? I’ve a project that I’m simply now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such information.
    More Information About chemical

    • FGCI July 9, 2018 / 12:51 pm

      Thank you for your comment. We offer a lot of helpful tips. What project are you working on?

  3. Botrous Kerolos March 14, 2019 / 6:48 am

    Thanks for your useful article!
    I need a solvent for Styrene. After using polester resin it leave a layer of sticky material on the object (I guess it’s styeren) so I want to clean it up.

    • FGCI March 14, 2019 / 2:13 pm

      Thank you for reading! I know most people will use Acetone to clean the wax layer left over. I would just recommend waiting at least 48 hours, or until the product is fully cured to ensure you don’t wipe off any gelcoat.

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