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Favorite solvent

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by studmobile, May 13, 2022.

  1. studmobile

    studmobile Diamond Level Sponsor

    Trying to clean up my gummy/poorly operating door latching mechanism. looks like 60 years of congealed grease in there. Soaked them in Pine Sol, somewhat better, but hard to get between the riveted steel plates to clean. What other options might work? Simple Green, gasoline, kerosene, brake cleaner? Thanks
  2. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane Gold Level Sponsor

    I generally use brake cleaner to try breaking up old hard grease like that.
  3. puff4

    puff4 Diamond Level Sponsor

    I always start off with the mildest solvent and work my way up. This often prevents damaging delicate things like plastics and paint, and I always test using a cotton swab with the solvent to test on a less visible section of the part to ensure no damage will occur.

    Here's my typical order of attack:
    1. Soap and water (usually Simple Green)
    2. Denatured alcohol (alcohol stove fuel)
    3. Stoddard solvent (parts washing fluid)
    4. Paint thinner (turpentine)
    5. Lacquer thinner
    6. Acetone (added to list because Jerry reminded me! I also use this quite often.)
    7. Methyl-ethyl-ketone (MEK)
    I used to also include trichloroethane (methyl chloroform), in between alcohol and stoddard solvent, but you can't get it anymore. I still have one bottle, but I use it very, very rarely.

    For your situation I'd use stoddard solvent... it won't harm the rubber or plastic bits, if any, and will thoroughly dissolve the grease. This is the brand I use in my parts washer:

    Last edited: May 15, 2022
  4. Pete S.

    Pete S. Bronze Level Sponsor

    Good information - Thanks!
  5. loose_electron

    loose_electron Gold Level Sponsor

    Acetone can be useful as a general purpose cleaner.
  6. puff4

    puff4 Diamond Level Sponsor

    You're absolutely correct, and somehow I forgot to include it in my list... I keep a gallon in stock at all times. I've added it to the list!
    loose_electron likes this.
  7. hartmandm

    hartmandm Moderator Platinum Level Sponsor

    I'll try rubbing alcohol on greasy / oily stuff.

  8. puff4

    puff4 Diamond Level Sponsor

    Alcohol works well on any resin-based product... so, for example, pine tar, wet epoxy or polyester resin, or other similar resins can be easily dissolved with alcohol.
  9. loose_electron

    loose_electron Gold Level Sponsor

    FWIW, Simple Green, Sudsy Ammonia, Acetone are my 3 go-to's for boat cleaning stuff.

    Barkeepers Friend (oxalyic acid) is good for metals that are lightly oxidized or stained.

    If you are gluing things together, cleaning with acetone, let dry, right before gluing helps with adhesion a lot.
    puff4 likes this.

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