Degreasing with benzene: advantages and disadvantages

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 13, 2022
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If you want to paint, you first have to make good preparations. You will always have to degrease the surface first, and then sand it.

Never do this the other way around, because then you will sand the grease into the surface, as it were. This is not good for the adhesion of the paint.

You can easily degrease a surface with benzene, but there are also other options. If you are going to work with benzene, there are a number of things you should take into account, especially for your own safety.

In this article I discuss how to degrease with white spirit, PLUS the alternatives.


You can use benzene for both degreasing and cleaning.

It is a solvent that is grease-free and is not really aggressive, but it does have a number of advantages and disadvantages like any cleaning or solvent.

Benzene is a good cheap solution. A bottle of Bleko, for example, costs less than a tenner:


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What is benzene?

First this: white spirit is a composition of hydrocarbons from petroleum (petroleum).

They are volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. These can be harmful to health if you inhale them and can cause nausea, respiratory irritation and dizziness.

Working safely with benzene

That is why it is always important to handle benzene with care and to follow the safety regulations. Keep it out of reach of children.

Always make sure the area you work in is well ventilated and wear gloves. You want to avoid skin contact as much as possible.

It is also best to wear a face mask while degreasing with benzene. This is to prevent you from inhaling too much of the harmful substances that are released when using white spirit.

And whether you work indoors or outdoors, never use benzene near an open flame.

Most paint types also contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), so the following also applies: good ventilation

Why should you degrease with benzene?

You would like to get started with a paint project, such as painting your sockets, and you want to clean the surface well first.

So this can be done with benzene. Why should you use benzene?

Degreasing with benzene has a number of advantages, such as:

  • Advantages of degreasing with benzene
  • Purchase is cheap, a bottle of benzene often costs between 5 and 10 euros
  • It’s a good degreaser
  • You can also remove paint with it
  • It is often also suitable for plastics
  • You remove stains (including paint stains) from your clothes
  • You can also remove stickers and glue residues with it
  • Provides excellent bonding when bonding two parts
  • It is less harmful than thinner or white spirit

Disadvantages of degreasing with benzene

But of course it also has some disadvantages to know:

  • It doesn’t smell good
  • Be careful with skin contact: can lead to burns
  • Gasoline is not good for health or the environment (note the danger symbols on the bottle)
  • Plastic can become dull

What do you need to degrease with benzene?

Now you probably know whether white spirit is the right solution for your project.

If you want to get started with benzene, get the following items at home:

  • benzene
  • face mask
  • Gloves
  • cloths
  • sandpaper

Again, make sure the area you are working in is well ventilated before opening the bottle of white spirit. Put on the mask and put on the gloves.

Apply some benzene to a cloth and rub over the surface to be cleaned.

When it is dry and clean, you can get started with the sandpaper. You have now created the ideal surface for painting.

It is a good method to prepare a countertop to be painted

Alternatives to white spirit

Degreasing can be done in even more ways (I have already written about that).

If you don’t like the smell of whitewash, or find it too dangerous to work with, I’ll give you some other options here.

St. Marcs

The first known degreaser is St.Marcs. This cleanser is known for its wonderful pine scent:

Best basic degreaser: St Marc Express

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You could always only go to Wibra for a degreaser called Dasty. Compared to St.Marcs, it is many times cheaper and also easy to buy online:

Best Cheap Degreaser: Dasty

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You can buy the mentioned all-purpose cleaners in a shop or in hardware stores.

Environmentally friendly degreasers

There are also products for sale that are biodegradable, such as B-Clean (also from Bleko) and Universol. You can mainly find these cleaners online and are not even that much more expensive than benzene.


Finally, ammonia is also an option. In this video I explain more about this:


Benzene is an economical and quick way to degrease and clean a surface. This way you can quickly get started with painting.

We always work safely, so that the benzene does not cause any problems for your health.

Are you going to paint with the kids? Then child-friendly paint is a must

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.