I know enough to know that 'best' depends upon the application. Well,
what I need to do is clean off old grease from the door hinges and
other body joints of an old car in the garage. I heard both are used
as solvents and just wanted to know which you think to be best for my
particular application. Also which do you think is more useful to have
around for general household tasks?
Thank you for your recommendations and advice,
Alcohol doesn't dissolve grease very well, although it is good for things like
tape residue. I would use odorless mineral spirits instead of turpentine, it's
a pretty good general solvent and a lot cheaper. It will not harm paint. But
for hinges, you may only need WD-40, it works nicely on grease.
Neither for the application. You'll need a petroleum-based solvent for
the job at hand. The time-honored although not particularly safe one
for that type of job is gasoline. Kerosene is much less volatile
although not quite as penetrating/fast-dissolving.
For specifics, the various engine block degreasers and carb/brake
cleaners are also choices.
You have to be careful around the hinges to make sure what ever you use
is safe on the paint (assuming the paint is worth salvaging)...
Right. The choice of solvent should be of the same family as that which
you're trying to dilute. Both turpentine and alcohol are made from plant
material. Mineral spirits (paint thinner) is made from petroleum.
Since door hinge "grease" is made from petroleum products, mineral spirits
is the the solvent of choice.
If, however, you lubricated the hinges with chicken-fat, alcohol might work
dpb & Rudy --
I have no particular objection to using off-the-shelf
specialized degreasers e.g. 409, WD 40 etc
for this application or any other. In fact, I think many
of them probably have additives that could aid
the degreasing..surfactants etc. ...but why have a product
that only does one specialized task when there's another
that does it and other tasks too...such as mineral spirits,
which doubles as paint thinner.
However, as Phisherman pointed out above, kerosene has
quite a few other uses and has many favorable properties.
I'll probably just get one small can each of kerosene and m. spirits.
Actually, first thing I do after knocking as much off as can be done
mechanically (putty knife, wire wheel/brush, whatever) is the hot-water
pressure washer--does wonders. The remaining residue is then much less
to deal with...
I'd hate to use water on metal parts, since it might be hard to get
all the water out of tight spaces, and you might have rust issues
When I was younger, we would have used trichloroethane as a great
solvent for greasy auto parts. It went out of production in 1996 and
is hard to find, but they must have replaced it with something more
environmentally (and human) friendly. Lacquer thinner or mineral
spirits might be a good choice, but a knowledgeable person at a
larger auto parts store might have better ideas.
As others have noted, there is no best solvent. Around my house I have
so many that it is hard to keep track of them all. A quick mental
inventory tells me that I have: Stoddard solvent ("odorless" paint
thinner), turpentine (the real stuff, made from pine trees), acetone,
denatured alcohol (mentholated spirits for you Brits), Goof Off (a
mixture of potent solvents for removing dried paint spots and the like),
carburetor cleaner, naphtha (for spot cleaning clothing), and even WD-40
(not a solvent in itself but its base works well for cleaning off
certain materials). Of course there is always water, the "universal"
What works best for what is all a matter of chemistry and physics. At
the most basic level you have polar and non-polar solvents. You might
want to skim through this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvent
which will probably leave you confused but if even a few of the concepts
stay with you it might help.
on 8/26/2007 10:44 AM John McGaw said the following:
When I worked in a Sewing machine factory using a Blanchard grinder, the
solvent we used to clean the preservative off the steel blanks before
grinding was called Solvasol by Stoddard. The blanks were just dunked
into the 5 gallon pail, using a basket type strainer with a handle on
top, and the basket was twirled by the wrist for a few seconds. It was
some bad sh*t and stung the hands if you got any on them.
Thanks to everyone for the quick responses.
Hmm...based on a quick reading of the posts I think I'm going to go
with either odorless mineral spirits or kerosene. I have heard/read
mineral spirits mentioned as a solvent before as a general solvent
paint thinner, right?) and since I'm looking for one that can double
as a all-around
household solvent, I might go for it. But I've also heard kerosene is
for grease removal. Not sure which to get at this point.
One thing to consider is the volatility of the vapors.
Which of the two would be less prone to ignite (assuming room
kerosene or mineral spirits?
Thank you once again,
In some places. But not in most cities. And certainly not in any attached
building (i.e. Row Houses) or multiple dwellings (more than one unit).
Fortunately, I live in a place that bans kerosene heaters for residential
use. It is a very dangerous form of heating.
Kerosene will work far better than mineral spirits on any caked grease
that has hardened although the mineral spirits would undoubtedly work ok
for white grease around a door hinge.
Either are flammable, but w/o looking up exact vapor pressures I don't
know which would be the higher although I suspect m-s is. Neither will
be an issue from simple temperature but both either would be a hazard in
a closed area w/ open flame or a direct spark.
Overall, I fail to understand the apparent angst in going to your local
NAPA and selecting a product for the purpose off the shelf. Why it also
has to be some general-purpose solvent fails my "reasonableness" test
for selection criteria...
Remove excess grease with paper towels. A toothbrush dipped in
kerosene will help loosen old grease, then wipe again with paper
towels. Dispose items properly. I suspect either two of the solvents
mentioned will work, although not as well. WD-40 is another good
solvent for your application. I like kerosene as it has lots of
uses, it is inexpensive, somewhat non-toxic, helps removes/prevents
rust, kind to cured paints, plastics, and skin.
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