Home Depot/Lowes, etc., have boiled linseed oil at a much cheaper price than the local art store that I go to.

Are there any problem using boiled linseed oil from these home stores for oil painting applications, cleaning brushes etc?

  • 1
    That recent edit turned this question into two questions. You should be asking separate questions about the use of BLO in oil paintings and another for cleaning brushes. I think those are two topics that should be handled separately.
    – Matt
    Sep 30, 2016 at 22:21

4 Answers 4


The thing about the art store options is that they're being tested by the manufacturers for their impact on the longevity of the painting or color impact to the pigments, so I would divide my response into a couple of parts...

Brush Cleaning? Sure, presuming that you're doing additional cleaning after. If you're looking to just store the brushes in the oil, between sessions, I would be more hesitant.

Painting? I would pass on it. It may well be perfectly fine, depending on the brand, but as I noted, they're likely not testing for your use case. At the end of the day, if you're looking to make works that last, going too cheap comes with risk. However, all that goes out the window with student grade paint options. If you're already taking a skip on the longevity, then I don't think you're really risking anything here either.

Finally, you can always test it yourself. Just don't do it on anything you care about until you know.


Since you tagged this as oil-paint, I assume that is your intended use.

Actually, the BLO that is sold in art stores is the same stuff that is peddled in hardware stores, be they large or small.

So you can use the BLO from the gallon cans for anything that you might use the BLO purchased from anywhere else.


Note that not all linseed oil is "boiled linseed oil". BLO is not even actually boiled, but has additives that cause it to dry faster. Raw linseed oil is a slow drying product and may be refined. Stand oil is heated and is lighter in color.

Most hardware stores carry only BLO.

Raw linseed oil is harder to find except in specialty stores (e.g. art supply houses). Art stores are likely to carry multiple forms of linseed oil, but the one with the "Boiled linseed oil" label contains the same stuff as from the hardware stores.

  • 1
    Reference? I don't think that the products being sold at the Home Depot or Lowes is being checked for the impact of the mineral additives with respect to the acidity and potential effect on the longevity of the canvas or the paint, for example.
    – Joanne C
    Sep 29, 2016 at 23:41
  • Do you think linseed oil, boiled by the artists in previous centuries were tested for mineral additives and longevity of the canvas or paint? If it was good enough for the likes of Rembrandt and Holbein, would it not be good enough for painters these days?
    – Willeke
    Dec 24, 2019 at 14:25

My understanding is that the art store stuff is better filtered and cooked differently.

I read that the main risk is early yellowing-browning....that being said I have used it in the past and I have paintings done 15-20 years ago using very liberal oil amounts (painting in layers, glazes: a very small amount of pigment diluted in a lot of oil), and i haven t noticed any color shifts or browning.

I think that if you use small amounts of oil or if you sell your paintings it's safer to stick to the art store type. If you use a lot of oil, and as you mentioned for cleaning brushes, and the end result isn't critical, then sure do it.

( side note :I feel there is too much emphasis on "archival", last 100's of years, do it right or don't bother, from so many painters when the sad truth is that their paintings are extremely unlikely to survive them, if they even make it that far, while some artists can paint using Mayonaise and if they are great, there will always be ways to preserve their work)

( And side-side note, most of the museum grade classical painting were painted using crap, there was no quality control and no purification or controlled manufacturing processes, the pigments were often unevenly grounded full of impurities, unstable, mixed with bad oils and additives and some ingredients used were organic and decayed...for instance Indian Yellow was most likely made from the urine of Indian cows on a diet of mango leaves, Wikipedia has a good article on it....moreover some of the things we admire in classical paintings are actually due to "improper" conservation and "faulty" mediums)

Edit: just realized this is a very old question, though it was new. anyways, hope it helps.


To reduce the potential effects of yellowing/browning, I use hardware store BLO only with dark colors. I use only art store BLO for light colors. If you don't mind diluting colors with boiled linseed oil, go for it. It works great on the abstract stuff, usually the very large-sized works.

If you do indoor painting, use walnut oil, instead, which has the least odor of them all.

Never use paint thinner to clean brushes indoors. Refined mineral spirits from art stores may have less odor, but the fumes can still be hazardous to your health.

You can use baby oil to clean the brushes indoors. But make sure not to paint with baby oil. Dip the brush in linseed oil a few times and wipe before using it again.

As an aside, the best tip I have for oil painters is buy the orange grease-removing soap/cleaner sold at automotive stores. It cleans the grease mechanics suffer with, and it does a great job on cleaning your hands with oil paint.

  • 1
    Hi Emad, can you focus on the question in your answer? You seem to want to provide information on what oils to use for oil painting and related actions, but the question is whether or not boiled linseed oil can be used in those situations. Furthermore, what do you mean with "hardware brand on black color", and why do you refer to black and white? Also, please mind your punctuation, as it will improve the legibility of your posts, and give reasons for your advice. Welcome to Arts & Crafts!
    – Joachim
    Sep 6, 2020 at 12:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .