If you buy old used furniture, mineral spirits is a great cleaner before you paint. You can wipe things down with water, but sometimes old furniture that has been sitting in a garage can have grease and grime on them. If you are doing kitchen cabinets, you might want to use this to take off any grease that may be on them from the stove. Take an old rag over the top of the mineral spirits can and tip it over a few times. Don't soak the rag, but get enough spirits on the rag so you can wipe your piece down. Let it sit for a few hours so the spirits can evaporate and you are good to go.
If you use a wax brush for your pieces....this is the best product ever for cleaning them. Better than lye soap! Pour a little mineral spirits in a plastic cup - enough so that when you drop your brush into the spirits it covers a 1/4 of the bristles. The bristles will soak up the spirits. Squeeze the bristles from the base up over the sink. The wax will come right out of your bristles. Rinse with warm water. Your brush will be as good as new and you won't have any old wax residual that will dry and clump and show up on your next piece. The bristles are super soft too!
Let's talk about wax. Many people have a hard time with waxing and streaking. If you want to lessen this, you can add a little bit (just a few drops) into your clear and dark wax (mix well) and it makes the application go on much smoother. I don't tend to do this for my clear wax, but it has been a life saver with the dark wax. You can add a little more to the dark wax and actually make a glaze with this. Always take your wax and put it on a plate or in a plastic cup or container before mixing. Do not pour the mineral spirits into your wax can! With me?
If you paint, you should really have this on hand. Note: please make sure that Mineral Spirits is always put up and away from little children. Always!
Let me know if you have questions about mineral spirits. I wouldn't paint without it.