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Solvent for degreasing/cleaning?

Old 09-14-21, 04:31 PM
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cyrano138 
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Solvent for degreasing/cleaning?

I worked very briefly at a bike shop and miss almost nothing about it, except the cleaning station. It was like a water fountain but with mineral spirits (?) or some other kind of solvent you could just dunk stuff in. The grease would wash away like my problems when I get to the third or fourth tequila.

I guess the closest I can get is to get a Tupperware tub and fill it with solvent at home. But I don't know what's the optimal solvent.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 09-14-21, 04:33 PM
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I like the stuff from Finish Line.
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Old 09-14-21, 05:19 PM
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Mineral spirits works, but crown brand camp stove fuel at Walmart is a lot cheaper.
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Old 09-14-21, 05:44 PM
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I believe mineral spirits is what most shops, auto included, use in parts washing bins like you described. It works well, but my favorite has long been diesel fuel.

I initially started using diesel as a place I lived at had an attached diesel service shop so there was an abundance of the stuff. Even now that I have to buy it, it's extremely cheap. I wear gloves now, but back when I didn't, I found that my skin reacted somewhat to mineral spirits but didn't to diesel.

Diesel and a tooth brush will get any gunk off of any bicycle part. I eventually got my brother to like the stuff so he now keeps some at his bike shop.

Did I mention it's cheap? Prices are all over the place for mineral spirits, but it looks like you can get a gallon container for maybe 15-20 bucks. By contrast, diesel in California is a bit over 4 bucks per gallon, even less in pretty much any other state. I've got a half gallon container I'll fill up two to three times a year, and that's only because a good portion of it gets used to light camp fires in my fire pit.
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Old 09-14-21, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Mineral spirits works, but crown brand camp stove fuel at Walmart is a lot cheaper.
I agree that mineral spirits works but stove fuel is only marginally cheaper. 32 oz of Crown stove fuel is $5.27 ($0.16 per ounce). 32 oz of Jasco odorless mineral spirits is $7.98 ($0.24 per ounce).

Odorless mineral spirit is safer to use as well. Flash point of stove fuel is about 0F. Odorless mineral spirits has a flash point close to 100F. It also has less aromatic compounds in it which means it’s less toxic (chronic toxicity, not acute).

Odorless mineral spirits is what Safety Klean uses in their cleaning systems.
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Old 09-14-21, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Odorless mineral spirit is safer to use as well. Flash point of stove fuel is about 0F. Odorless mineral spirits has a flash point close to 100F. It also has less aromatic compounds in it which means its less toxic (chronic toxicity, not acute).
More to that point, stove fuel vapor is explosive. Not something you want to be cleaning parts with.

Diesel has an even higher flash point, around 150F.
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Old 09-14-21, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
More to that point, stove fuel vapor is explosive. Not something you want to be cleaning parts with.
That's correct. Camp stove fuel (Coleman, Crown, etc.) are basically gasoline without the additives and just as dangerously flammable. OMS and Kerosine are both safer and just as effective as degreasers.
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Old 09-14-21, 07:09 PM
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Another advantage of Odorless Mineral Spirits is that most of the gunk from the used solvent settles to the bottom of the container after a couple days and the good stuff can be poured into a clean container and used over and over again. Wipe out the leftover gunk with a rag and throw in the trash so nothing goes into the ground or the sewage system.
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Old 09-14-21, 07:55 PM
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We used diesel for a long time before it got banned from all of the big races here in the states in about '05. For the last bunch of years my favorite without a doubt has to be Pedro's Degreaser. The one that's kinda thick and amber colored. Works really well, isn't flammable, and is biodegradable.
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Old 09-14-21, 08:09 PM
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I'm going to price a gallon of mineral spirits at Lowes and get a gallon of diesel and see how they compare. Lots of great advice -- much appreciated
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Old 09-14-21, 09:36 PM
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I find if I keep up in my preventative maintenance I can use a lot less OMS with citrus cleaners. Citrus degreasers are considered a rea
sonably sustainable and renewable industrial cleaning solution that is biodegradable, meaning the chemical components will begin breaking down once it is exposed to the air or comes into contact with soil.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:07 AM
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I got into chain waxing a few months ago and finding OMS in southern California has been challenging. I ended up buying a liter from an art supply store (Michaels) for $22. I also ordered a quart from Lowes for $8 a week ago; we will see whether that order gets processed or not. I have not had good experience with citrus degreaser; I previously broke a chain after letting it sit overnight in citrus degreaser.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
I find if I keep up in my preventative maintenance I can use a lot less OMS with citrus cleaners.
Agreed. Routine maintenance, which includes wiping the dust and dirt off, really helps prevent the gunky buildup which requires some sort of solvent. The number one reason I typically use solvent with a brush is because of someone else's lack of maintenance.
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Old 09-15-21, 02:24 PM
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Buying cleaning solvent by the quart is far more expensive than by the gallon. I pay about $8.50 a gallon for crown camp stove fuel - half the price of OMS. If gasoline and camp stove fuel are so dangerous, how do I manage to fill up my cars, three lawnmowers and a an emergency generator and not blow myself up. By accounts here, gas stations should be blowing up right and left. Yes, l know that gasoline related fires happen. My workshop has an electric water heater, placed 8 feet above floor level.

I reuse my solvent many times, to minimize the amount I use. Once there's enough oil in it, it won't always light if I throw a match in some, to burn it off.
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Old 09-15-21, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Buying cleaning solvent by the quart is far more expensive than by the gallon. I pay about $8.50 a gallon for crown camp stove fuel - half the price of OMS.
If cost is the main concern, why not just buy gasoline instead of naphtha / camp fuel?

Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
If gasoline and camp stove fuel are so dangerous, how do I manage to fill up my cars, three lawnmowers and a an emergency generator and not blow myself up. By accounts here, gas stations should be blowing up right and left. Yes, l know that gasoline related fires happen.
Because all of those activities occur either outdoors or in an otherwise well ventilated environment? (Also, 3 lawnmowers? Do you run a landscaping firm?)

Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
My workshop has an electric water heater, placed 8 feet above floor level.
The safety concern is a spark, not electricity per se. No sparks unless you are constantly plugging and unplugging the heater.

Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
I reuse my solvent many times, to minimize the amount I use. Once there's enough oil in it, it won't always light if I throw a match in some, to burn it off.
No facility to recycle used solvent?
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Old 09-15-21, 03:27 PM
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Gasoline stinks. Get a little on your hands and the smell lasts a long time. Otherwise,it works fine.

If I burn off some old solvent, it's only a few ounces. Not worth recycling.

I have a 2 acre lot with a 2 million dollar house on it. I do all of my own mowing. One honda walk behind for bluegrass, one for rough drainage ditches and a John deere x590 for the pasture. I keep at least 10 gallons of gas on hand.

Never heard of static electricity sparks? That's how some gas station fires occur.

I use a solvent dispensing bottle bottle for my small needs. If I clean a chain, it goes into an old water bottle with maybe 6 ounces of solvent from a plastic storage bottle. All solvent bottles sit in a plastic storage container.
https://www.amazon.com/DeVilbiss-DPC...a-457196293434

I use acids for metal fabrication too. Those are stored in their original gallon jugs, placed in a large plastic storage bin.

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Old 09-15-21, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Never heard of static electricity sparks? That's how some gas station fires occur.
Yes, I have. But it is so hard to convince people (including my wife) not to reenter their cars during refueling stops in winter.

I was only addressing your mention of the electric water heater within your workshop, which I had misperceived as an endorsement for safely using volatile solvent within that space. Using a solvent dispensing bottle to dispense only a small amount as needed does limit volatile vapors.
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Old 09-15-21, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
More to that point, stove fuel vapor is explosive. Not something you want to be cleaning parts with.
No, it is not explosive. Think of the way your start a liquid fuel stove. You pour out a little bit of the fuel into a cup, set the puddle on fire, and wait for it to warm up the feed tube so that is sprays out hot fuel which you than ignite. Not explosive at all.

Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
That's correct. Camp stove fuel (Coleman, Crown, etc.) are basically gasoline without the additives and just as dangerously flammable. OMS and Kerosine are both safer and just as effective as degreasers.
Absolutely not. Gasoline is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons with a significant percentage of benzene/xylene/toluene. It has a flash point of -40F which means it will ignite at nearly any condition humans might encounter.

Stove fuel (aka “white gas”) is not gasoline. It is naphtha which has fewer branched hydrocarbons and a much higher flash point (0F). It’s more flammable than mineral spirits (typical flash point of 50 to 100F) but not nearly as flammable as gasoline. It’s much more closely related to kerosene than to gasoline.

The problem is with the “white gas” name. It is not gasoline and if you tried to run it in a gasoline engine…well, don’t. The control module in a modern engine would have a melt down trying to adjust for the knocks and pings you’d experience and would likely blow a rod through the block. Gasoline engines don’t like straight hydrocarbons.

Diesel has an even higher flash point, around 150F.
And diesel doesn’t evaporate, at least not completely. It leaves behind an oil film. You can use mineral spirits to clean disc rotors but don’t do that with diesel fuel.
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Old 09-15-21, 06:25 PM
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The cleaning fluid in the parts washer was stanasol which is a special fluid from the parts washing company that picks it up and recycles it by filtration every few weeks. Pricey to get and use unless you are in a shop environment. There are parts washing machines available from places like harbor freight that can use solvents like the mineral spirits mentioned above. These are a bit of cost involved in up front costs but it will pay for itself in the long run if you are doing enough repairs. Smiles, MH
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Old 09-15-21, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
The cleaning fluid in the parts washer was stanasol which is a special fluid from the parts washing company that picks it up and recycles it by filtration every few weeks. Pricey to get and use unless you are in a shop environment. There are parts washing machines available from places like harbor freight that can use solvents like the mineral spirits mentioned above. These are a bit of cost involved in up front costs but it will pay for itself in the long run if you are doing enough repairs. Smiles, MH
I don't really do enough parts cleaning to invest in a machine. I don't flip bikes or anything like that, I just build them up for me or my wife or friends. A bucket of mineral spirits or diesel fuel should be good enough for me. Thanks though!
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Old 09-15-21, 06:32 PM
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cyccommute If my Lowes order of odorless mineral spirits does not come through, and I no longer want to pay >$20/L to an art supply store to buy more, is it more dangerous to use kerosene or naphtha? Both are available as camp fuel from my local REI, and their respective costs are almost the same (~ $8/qt). I generally do my bike maintenance in an attached garage with the garage door open
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Old 09-15-21, 06:44 PM
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been using mineral spirits for about a year after reading about it here. I've rigged 3 chains, 1 at a time, hanging from a wire hanger, hanging at the end of a cord, from the basement ceiling, into a tray of a cpl inches of spirits. simple to adjust the height so that only the bottom of the chain loop is under the surface. then simple to progressively move the loop so that all of it gets rotated & dunked. nitrile gloves & skinny straw brushes get them moving like new & gets the crud off. amazing how resilient that crud can be & how reluctant it is to detach from the chain. when done, raise the chain loop height using knots in the string, then wipe the chain & let dry before lubing. recycle the spirits in a pickle jar. the sludge in the tray gets thrown in recycling w/ the plastic tray. the best trays are certain take out food containers. this technique was so effective on my MTB chain, that it cleared up the chronic chain suck I was getting. oh wait, this wasn't a chain cleaning thread, my bad
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Old 09-15-21, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
cyccommute If my Lowes order of odorless mineral spirits does not come through, and I no longer want to pay >$20/L to an art supply store to buy more, is it more dangerous to use kerosene or naphtha? Both are available as camp fuel from my local REI, and their respective costs are almost the same (~ $8/qt). I generally do my bike maintenance in an attached garage with the garage door open

Around here I can buy K1 kerosene at the pump at a number of fuel stations.
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Old 09-15-21, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
Citrus degreasers are considered a reasonably sustainable and renewable industrial cleaning solution that is biodegradable, meaning the chemical components will begin breaking down once it is exposed to the air or comes into contact with soil.
The degreaser itself may be biodegradeable, but the stuff it removes from your bike components is not biodegradeable.

I like OMS because it is safe and effective, and can be reused multiple times by letting the particulate matter settle out and decanting clean solvent off the top.
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Old 09-15-21, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Around here I can buy K1 kerosene at the pump at a number of fuel stations.
Really? Kerosene at the pump? What for?

Here in SoCal 1-K kerosene (same thing?) is almost $8/qt. at REI, naphtha is a quarter more, while 91 unleaded gas is $4.55/gal.
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