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what solvent cleaner to use?

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simon Hewitt 106/01/2019 17:44:08
43 forum posts
8 photos

I am nearly out of the solvent given to me by a Southern Electric engineer some time go called Kem-Safe. I am not sure how safe it really is! What solvents do you use and recommend? For general workshop use, cleaning marker blue, cutting oil, grease, general use?

Simon.

Chris Evans 606/01/2019 17:47:10
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2000 forum posts

I tend to use cellulose "Gun Wash" thinners bought in 5 litre tins it is cheap and effective. For quick degreasing a can of brake cleaner is useful.

Bazyle06/01/2019 17:56:10
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6173 forum posts
222 photos

White spirit for everything. if something is resistant to that brake cleaner is more powerful. I do have meths but it is fairly useless. Ethyl acetate dope thinner is also good on some things but rather expensive.

Former Member06/01/2019 17:58:14

[This posting has been removed]

Chris Trice06/01/2019 18:05:54
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1371 forum posts
10 photos

Acetone is a powerful solvent that is one of the best for cleaning metal BUT it also dissolves most paints, virtually all except stoved enamels. In addition to ones mentioned above, cigarette lighter fluid is a good cleaner that won't dissolve paint or delicate surfaces.

Chris Trice06/01/2019 18:07:12
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1371 forum posts
10 photos

BTW cellulose thinners also works but should be considered the same as acetone being derived from the same chemistry.

ChrisB06/01/2019 18:12:04
650 forum posts
210 photos

White spirit, isopropyl alcohol, acetone, MEK

All have their uses and I use all, but prefer white spirit or alcohol. Acetone and MEK tend to ruin any plastic or rubber they come in contact with so I only use them on metals which I need to be super clean.

DrDave06/01/2019 18:22:34
235 forum posts
47 photos

In addition to some of the above solvents, I also use good old Gunk for stubborn dirt. It shifts oily dirt, but not the paint, and rinses off with water.

Pete Rimmer06/01/2019 18:29:27
1124 forum posts
69 photos

Brake cleaner. I get a box of four 5L cans every 6 months or so. Costs less than 40 quid which sounds like a lot but a £2 a litre is a lot less than buying aerosol cans. You have to use a pressure pot sprayer though, the trigger guns don't like it one bit.

David George 106/01/2019 19:02:50
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1712 forum posts
500 photos

Simon I use TF90 fast drying cleaning solvent it works great and costs about £5.00 a tin from many suppliers.

David

Martin Hamilton 106/01/2019 19:51:51
187 forum posts

I have used many of the methods mentioned above over the years, i now use disc brake cleaner.

Speedy Builder506/01/2019 19:56:21
2494 forum posts
196 photos

Good old days of trichloroethane - cleaned everything, lungs, kidneys - well almost everything. That was followed by Genklene - which was followed by .......TF 90.

BobH

Robert Hurst 106/01/2019 22:56:59
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9 forum posts
2 photos

KEM-SAFE L.F is marketed by Kemserv but I'm not sure if it's the same stuff;

http://www.kemserv.com/solvent-based-cleaning-products-northumberland.php

We used PF cleaner when I was working for Balfour Beatty which is brilliant stuff;

https://www.socomore.com/shop/surface-preparation/surface-cleaning/pf-solvent/

These days i tend to use BCE (Brake Clutch Electrical) cleaner available in 5l cans or aerosol.

Cheers, Rob.

Nicholas Wheeler 106/01/2019 23:09:03
818 forum posts
59 photos
Posted by Chris Evans 6 on 06/01/2019 17:47:10:

I tend to use cellulose "Gun Wash" thinners bought in 5 litre tins it is cheap and effective. For quick degreasing a can of brake cleaner is useful.

That's exactly how I do it.

Small parts off the lathe get a squirt of brake cleaner from an aerosol; dirty parts get scrubbed with a brush from Poundland in a cheap washing up bowl. Thinners is an aggressive solvent(who knew?) so it doesn't take much. Do it outside! Really filthy parts should have the worst of the grot scraped off first.

John Reese06/01/2019 23:16:40
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1013 forum posts

I use mineral spirits for general cleaning. I assume it is the same as your white spirits. Actually the proper name in the US is varnish makers and painters naptha. Where I need super cleanliness like on parts to be held with Loctite I use Acrtone. Where I wan to clean large surfaces of dirt and oil film I use Dawn dishwashing detergent and hot water.

Mike Poole06/01/2019 23:21:15
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Moderator
3157 forum posts
72 photos
YPosted by Speedy Builder5 on 06/01/2019 19:56:21:

Good old days of trichloroethane - cleaned everything, lungs, kidneys - well almost everything. That was followed by Genklene - which was followed by .......TF 90.

BobH

+1 was trico that bad if you didn’t smoke? A lung full of phosgene was likely to be bad news but as a non smoker and with plenty of ventilation you would be ok ?

Mike

Speedy Builder507/01/2019 06:55:04
2494 forum posts
196 photos

For cleaning filthy car bits (30 or more years of muck) - soak in diesel fuel for a week, then power wash, then TF90. I have tried those water soluble de greasers which work for light stuff, but diesel fuel soaks in better.
BobH

SillyOldDuffer07/01/2019 10:13:13
Moderator
7898 forum posts
1725 photos
Posted by Mike Poole on 06/01/2019 23:21:15:
YPosted by Speedy Builder5 on 06/01/2019 19:56:21:

Good old days of trichloroethane - cleaned everything, lungs, kidneys - well almost everything. That was followed by Genklene - which was followed by .......TF 90.

BobH

+1 was trico that bad if you didn’t smoke? A lung full of phosgene was likely to be bad news but as a non smoker and with plenty of ventilation you would be ok ?

Mike

Tricky to say because so much depends on who you are, the concentration, and how long you're exposed to it.

There are two related chemicals called 'Trike', both were thought safe at first and later found to be causing problems. One is more dangerous than the other, but both were eventually restricted.

Phosgene is a serious risk to smokers, but in ordinary use the chemicals cause dizzyness, drunkeness and poor judgement resulting in accidents. Many other issues build up over time - including heart problems and brain damage. There have been many fatalities due to misuse by solvent sniffers, and to maintenance men caught in tanks. As waste both chemicals are linked to cancer and damage to the Ozone layer.

Very often it's possible to occasionally use dangerous chemicals in small quantities without any consequences. You and I using Trike as a degreaser once in a Blue Moon at home is unlikely do any any detectable damage. But that doesn't mean it's safe! The risks of dangerous chemicals like Trike rise exponentially when millions of people are using them, perhaps in industrial quantities, with a few in charge who abuse environmentalists to justify dumping waste at minimum cost to themselves.

No man is an island. I dislike the idea of Australians getting Skin Cancer because Europeans, Americans and the Chinese are careless with solvents.

Dave

mechman4807/01/2019 10:39:21
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2938 forum posts
466 photos

Remember using Trico for degreasing overalls when finished a mill change when I was apprentice... did the job superbly but the stitching didn't last long hence seams coming apart. the stores then organised a cleaning system with an outside provider, for a small fee, which resolved the dissolving seams issue... Ahhh the weird things we did as apprentices. These days I use Brake disc cleaner, white spirits, industrial degreaser etc.

George.

Samsaranda07/01/2019 11:13:01
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1291 forum posts
5 photos

I tend to be very wary of solvents nowadays, during my 22 years in the Air Force we used many different solvents ranging from Carbon Tetrachloride to modern solvents such as Trichloroethane and Trichlorethylene. Research has proved that many of these compounds can be absorbed through the skin and cause damage to the nervous system as well as being carcinogenic. I now wear gloves where ever possible to give some degree of protection and use any solvents outdoors to lessen the risk of inhaling.I do suffer from a degree of paralysis on one side and can only speculate what the real cause of this is. I would urge that you treat solvents with respect they have many hidden dangers.

Dave W

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