Parts cleaner solvent options

NoDak Ninja

Well-Known Member
Is this the spot to talk about shop set-ups and tools and things like that? It would be nice if there was a dedicated area for that sort of thing....anyway:

The specific question I had in mind is parts cleaner solvent; when I bought my residence it came with a Harbor Freight parts washer. Due to a wind storm knocking down the shed it was in, all the solvent ran out when it was tipped over. So I'm shopping for replacement solvent of some sort. There are a bunch of options out there so I thought I'd ask you all for your opinions.

I do have a few criteria related to it now being located in my shop:

1. Low-ish odor. I can put up with some smell, and it has a lid, but I don't want it stinking up the place.
2. Non flammable, or a relatively high flash point. I have a propane heater in there.
3. Something that isn't going to evaporate quickly would be nice as I won't be using it that often.

So, what does that leave me with? Simple Green? I've never tried it, so I am not sure if that is a real option or not. I can always use carb cleaner for really tough stuff, I guess.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
My mech swears by Purple Power; says he has to wear gloves if working with it. I don't know its VOC or flammability qualities, but I'm sure they're easy enough to find.

I like SG; biodegradable, paint safe, etc. - but I don't know how well it would work in a parts washer.
 
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NoDak Ninja

NoDak Ninja

Well-Known Member
Went to the Purple Power web site and found this in their FAQ:

Is Purple Power safe for washing cars?
Purple Power is not recommended for use when washing cars as it could possibly destroy the clear coat surface and damage the paint.
Sounds like the real deal to me.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Is this the spot to talk about shop set-ups and tools and things like that? It would be nice if there was a dedicated area for that sort of thing....anyway:
We don't have an actual section for that so this is the proper place for your question. We do have a thread called Tool Talk for just talking about tools, specifically those we acquire.
 

littleblazer

Gold Supporter
At work, I work at an AASHTO asphalt lab, we use a product called rhomasol. It's a citrus extract so it smells like citrus. It takes off pretty much anything petroleum based and works well on epoxies too. I haven't tried it as a degreaser though. It is flammable but you need to get it very very hot. You can also use bromopropane. That will take care of anything. Just like... watch out for the cancer and reproductive harm.

In my ultrasonic tank I have used simple green for cleaning carbs with a ton of success. I have also used spray nine and purple power. As far as cleaners go for just straight cleaning, I go to spray nine. No matter how nasty my tire letters get that makes them white with minimal scrubbing. Also works great as a degreaser. Purple is what I use when I need to do a bunch of stuff. The spray nine isn't cheap. I also turned the clear on my hub cap centers white and spotty with just a little spray mine. So it tears into clear pretty good.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Me being me, I looked up what people use in the washers...

PP is basically lye with a surfactant - make *sure* to use gloves. Will etch aluminum, quickly. Once 'used', candid be filtered/ reused (the 'real' stuff for washers can be, and a piece of carpet/astroturf in the bottom of the washer holds (dissolved) compounds.

The citrus stuff is prolly a D-Limolonine (sp?) compound - non-toxic, biodegradable, etc. A lot of people liked this stuff.

Another popular one is Stoddard solvent. Which happens to be the main ingredient in WD-40, FWIW. Low flash point, but not real flammable.

That should get you started...good luck!
 
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NoDak Ninja

NoDak Ninja

Well-Known Member
We don't have an actual section for that so this is the proper place for your question.
Maybe it would be worth adding? Somewhere to talk about and show off your shop, filled toolbox, new homemade specialty tool, reviews of de-greasers...

Just an idea.
 

littleblazer

Gold Supporter
Me being me, I looked up what people use in the washers...

PP is basically lye with a surfactant - make *sure* to use gloves. Will etch aluminum, quickly. Once 'used', candid be filtered/ reused (the 'real' stuff for washers can be, and a piece of carpet/astroturf in the bottom of the washer holds (dissolved) compounds.

The citrus stuff is prolly a D-Limolonine (sp?) compound - non-toxic, biodegradable, etc. A lot of people liked this stuff.

Another popular one is Stoddard solvent. Which happens to be the main ingredient in WD-40, FWIW. Low flash point, but not real flammable.

That should get you started...good luck!
Yes, D-Limolonine. I just checked my sds book for the lab. It also has emulsifiers, butoxy ethanol and some amides. It's good stuff. We tried diesel and kero and the citrus stuff just works way better. The bromopropane is mainly used for extraction recovery of binder/asphalt/oil/tar from the material. It isn't sound to use that for anything else in the lab anymore.

Also you can't use anything warm with lye on aluminum. It won't just etch it, it will also off gas hydrogen. Quite a bit of it actually. Probably not enough to be a hazard but still something to consider. Been there, done that lol. It's something I'd rather not worry about.
 

MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
As much as I admire the Non-Toxic, Low Odor of "Purple Power" and its truly amazing Carbon-Busting abilities on Metals left to soak in the fluid... Beware using it on Cast Aluminum Components for submerged soaks lasting any length of time, as the Aluminum will begin to 'Grow Stalagmites' at odd and sundry places... leeching out Aluminum Oxides and ruining components like Cast or Hyper-eutectic Pistons if left in the stuff.

From my experience as an Oil on Canvas Painter... instead of using one of the Best Pine Distilled Solvents such as OEM Lacquer Thinner, Oder-less Paint Thinner has the very same solvent-like characteristics with virtually No Smell... But it is still a Flammable Low VOC that must be handled with care... and should not be left in direct contact with Human Skin.

This is because of it's Sulph-Oxide nature. Like many Distilled Liniments...it is Hygroscopic...and will easily penetrate Human Skin and get absorbed into the blood stream... so "Bare Handed Parts Washing" would be dangerous activity. Look up the chemical WIKI characteristics of "DMSO" (Di-Methyl-Sulph-Oxide" for an explanation of its weird ability to pick up the toxic vapors right out of the local atmosphere... and then when the liquid makes contact with the skin.... it will transport those bad chemicals right into the Human Body.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Somewhere to talk about and show off your shop, filled toolbox,
Lol...my 'shop' is my garage, where I can barely walk around / crawl under the Sierra sitting in it.
My toolboxes (yes, plural) are half-empty, b/c the things I use most never are put back in (or worse, have never been *put in*)

In short, a disorganized mess. I'd be embarrassed to show pics of it. But I'm just a duffer who likes to tinker / be self-sufficient.

Now my mech's shop....that's a thing of beauty. Amongst the highlights...a massive Matco chest / cabinet setup. He estimated $275K in the drawers. But that's how he eats, so you'd expect it. He opened it up once...it was tool porn. I wanted a ciggy afterwards...lmao.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Maybe it would be worth adding? Somewhere to talk about and show off your shop, filled toolbox, new homemade specialty tool, reviews of de-greasers...

Just an idea.
Certainly something worth considering. Maybe call it "Tool and Shop Talk" under the Community Lounge section. Let me just run a poll and see how much interest there is for this.
 

MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
... or..."Talking Shop..." ...? LOL
 

Mooseman

Moderator
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NoDak Ninja

NoDak Ninja

Well-Known Member
I went with Simple Green. Mixed it about 1:8. Very disappointed. Used a bottle of full strength on the parts first, and that was a bit better, but still not great. Had to do a lot of scrubbing.

So I tried some Zep Heavy-Duty Citrus Degreaser. Now this is more like it. It has D-limonene and has VOC's too high to be legal in Cali. Whatever, their loss. I'll use it as a spot spray for now and maybe switch over to a parts washer full of it at some point.

EDIT: I've been doing a lot of cleaning today. Still happy with the Zep HD Citrus, but the bottle it comes in SUCKS. You have to pump it 6-12 times everytime you pick it up to get it spraying again, and it doesn't spray more that 6 inches from the tip. Next time I'm buying the gallon jug and a good spray bottle...one not made by Zep.
 
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