Solvents are substances intended for dissolving, diluting or separating products – in this instance paints and varnishes. Industrial paint applications are often limited to organic solvents. In DIY paints, solvents are still found relatively often in paints for wood surfaces.
There are many different types of individual solvents – roughly one hundred – employed for different applications. Solvents evaporate easily, emitting Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are a potential human health hazard and harmful to the environment.