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Parts washer solvent recommendations

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by stovebolt55, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. stovebolt55
    Joined: Oct 25, 2007
    Posts: 124


    What are you using?

    I need something that is safe, works pretty well, and doesn't cost a small fortune.
  2. i'm using Stoddard Solvent......but if/when i replace it i will use Purple Power cut with water
  3. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,415

    from Michigan

    Mineral spirits would be next... That's what we use when we run out of the "good stuff"...:rolleyes:
    With a quart of ATF added so it don't mess with your hands...
    Joined: Jun 1, 2006
    Posts: 1,593


    I would try purple power or simple green concentrate for safety at home but remember as you clean stuff adding all the grease and oils to it it becomes more flammable. so you still want to keep the lid down on it.
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  5. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,527


    I haven't used it in a solvent tank but use Oil Eater on a regular basis to scrub parts and hose them off here at home. You do want to wear eye protection and it can irritate tender skin but it works pretty good. Some guys around here are putting it in their hot tanks mixed with water rather than caustic to hot tank parts with decent results and no bio hazard problems.

    I've also got a gallon of Purple power that I haven't tried and Zep has some good cleaning products that you can find at Granger or even Home Depot. I'd think that their Big Orange cleaner would clean anything but it is rough on paint.
  6. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    I bought a cheapie 5 gallon parts washer at a discount tool store and installed a pump designed for petroleum-base solvents from McMaster.

    I filled it with Mineral Spirits that you can buy at Lowe's or Home Crapo. Don't use the "odorless" kind!

    Works really well! When it gets dirty, decant the clean solvent into a bucket and wipe up the sludge on the bottom. Pour back into the washer, top off with fresh solvent and you're good to go.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  7. Da' Bomb
    Joined: Apr 8, 2005
    Posts: 438

    Da' Bomb

    Purple power or another citrus based cleaner
  8. Be careful with those 'safe' cleaners like simple green, etc. Most of those are very harmful to aluminum (the FAA has banned them from use on aircraft as at least one plane crash has been traced back to it, and the Army had to scrap a few 'copters due to airframe damage) and parts have to be thoroughly washed in water after cleaning. Castings in particular can absorb them... not good....

    I'm sticking with paint thinner; not cheap, but fewer 'issues'. There is an 'aluminum safe' biodegradable cleaner available, but it's more expensive than regular solvent.
  9. DirtyDirk
    Joined: Sep 27, 2011
    Posts: 16


    I use mineral spirits. Cleans good but tough on your hands.
  10. We have a heated parts washer and the guys in back use hand cleaner in it. Does an amazing job and does not hurt the skin, in fact they wash their hats and gloves off in it!
  11. mustang6147
    Joined: Feb 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,847

    from Kent, Ohio

    ZEP Formula 50....
  12. oneredryderone
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 131


    i use K-1 KEROSENE, get it at speedway, usually about $4.30 per gallon. [got lotsa comments about the plastic whiskey fifth bottle filled with K-1 in my service truck for the cleanup jobs away from the shop. K-1 will thin oil-based paints as well, about 1/2 the price per gallon.]
    just my two pennies.....
  13. Pops1532
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 544

    from Illinois

    Stoddard Solvent.
  14. ronnieroadster
    Joined: Sep 9, 2004
    Posts: 734


    Mineral Spirts works great
  15. Chuck G.
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 381

    Chuck G.

    Who makes the aluminum safe biodegradable cleaner?

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  16. jkeesey
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 652


    I worked for Sikorsky Helicopters when they switched from using Simple Green. They never explained exactly why but they said it would oxidize the aluminum and ruin the finish. I'm switching my washer to straight kero soon.

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  17. 1927Tudor
    Joined: Nov 21, 2007
    Posts: 188


    X2 for mineral spirits
  18. jbtine
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 214


    Tractor Supply carries 5 gallon cans of parts wash solvent
  19. banjorear
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,779


    was just about to post the same question. OK, any consenus on this? I'll be doing a lot of aluminum, but rather not have kero in the garage. Not attached to the house, but it does concern me that it's flamable.
  20. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    As long as you have your solvent in the right container it'll be fine. Parts washer lids are damn near air tight.

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  21. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,200

    from pgh. pa.

    Kerosene is flammable, but not volatile like gasoline. Years ago I used gas to clean my parts with a coal burning stove nearby.Gasoline is very dangerous. I was lucky and got wiser when I got a little older. Now I use safety solvent in a parts cleaning tank with a flash lid. The price of safety solvent has risen in price greatly in the last few years. The water based safety clean should be heated to work real well. That is what the rep told me.


  22. It's been a few years since I saw this so I can't remember, and the FAA approval was 'pending' at the time; it may not have been approved. But I do remember that it was very expensive; about double over paint thinner.

    You can use these types of cleaners on aluminum, but you have to thoroughly wash/rinse them with water after exposure. DO NOT let them dry on aluminum.
  23. M@
    Joined: Dec 23, 2007
    Posts: 62

    from Altus OK

    At work we use "Ozzy Juice"... Seems to work pretty good, cleaned all the cosmoline off my Mosin Nagant

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  24. Do they still offer Varsol? HRP
  25. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    Sadly, no. When I bought my parts washer, I researched what was best to use. I think Exxon used to make it, but the EPA put the kibosh on Varsol. Heard it used to be the shiznit for cleaning parts :mad:
  26. Wow we can still get it in Canada and we are usually banning stuff before it gets banned in the U.S.
  27. Back when I owned a paint store I had a 55 gallon crank tank that I sold Varsol buy the quart and gallon. HRP
  28. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,949

    gas pumper

    I've been using the low sulpher Diesel fuel in my washer. Works really good and does not evaporate fast or smell bad.

    Parts I need to use right away I rinse off with the water hose. Parts that are cleaned up for later I just leave wet with the fuel rinse and let the fuel evaporate. It leaves a film on that keeps them from rusting.

    All the black gunk stuff must settle out to the bottom, cause the fluid is always clean looking.

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