kerosene for parts washer solvent?

Discussion in 'General IH Tech' started by Joe Costanzo, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. Joe Costanzo

    Joe Costanzo Farmall Cub


    I was just given a parts washer, but unfortunately the solvent was not included. I'm wondering if kerosene would be a suitable solvent; I've used it in "bucket" form many times for cleaning up greasy parts, etc.

    Any thoughts?

  2. Greg R

    Greg R High Wheeler

    For a parts washer, stoddard solvent would work better and a lot safer.
  3. Bruce Shealy

    Bruce Shealy Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

    DO NOT use kerosene, all it would take is a small electrical spark fron the pump to set off the kerosene,..very unsafe to use ANY Flammable substance in a parts washer.
  4. M. Mayben

    M. Mayben High Wheeler

    Kerosene is damn near diesel, why wash parts in an oily solvent??? That's why we wash 'em, to get the parts CLEAN!!!

    Use Stoddard, it's the safest, I use napatha/mineral spirits in parts washers that are rated for it (like the "old" SafetyKleen stuff), must have a sealed-type, non-sparking motor, etc.

    Most "consumer" type parts washers today are for use only with water-base materials.
  5. Erik VanRenselaar

    Erik VanRenselaar Y-Block King

    Stoddard Solvent really isn't safer than kerosene for parts cleaning. Kerosene has a flash point of 110°F and an ignition temp of 410°F. Stoddard has a flash point of 70°F and an ignition temp of 440°F. Pretty similar. Flash point is more a way of classifying flammable/combustible liquids, and not an indicator of the heat needed to be a potential ignition source. Flash point is the temp at which a liquid needs to be heated to to produce a brief *flash* fire of vapors in a closed vessel when an ignition device is triggered above the liquid surface. Below 110°F ambient temp, kerosene doesn't produce enough vapor to *flash*.

    That said, I often use a small amount of kerosene (the pure 1-K type) to clean really greasy parts. I do it outside in a steel parts washer. The parts washer tub has no pump motor. The kerosene is only in 4 to 8 oz portions and is in a smaller container tray inside the parts washer. The parts washer lid is also equipped with a fusible link to close the top in case of a fire. You should also wear nitrile gloves when using any non water-based degreaser.

    I find that the 1-K kerosene easily wipes off parts and doesn't really leave an oily residue. I also do a final wiping with a water based degreaser (Oil Eater, Simple Green, etc) anyways, regardless of what initial solvent is used.

    The best *safe* solvent to use is the commercial SafetyKleen or Zep solvents. Unfortunately, obtaining some for personal use is near impossible, at least around here.
  6. SCscoutguy

    SCscoutguy Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Bruce is right I dont think I would use it in with conjunction with any electrical equipment period! I cant believe though that Bruce made no mention of purple power in his response. :p I myself buy the cleaner that is meant to be used with my chicago electric parts washer I got from Harbor Freight. I think it is like $8 at HF and that is enough to fill the whole thing. Semper Fi, John
  7. William Griffin

    William Griffin High Wheeler

    I have red dyed diesel in my el-cheapo harbor freight parts washer. Not good for carbs or stuff you want clean and dry afterward, but for nasty greasy tractor parts, it works great. (I paid less than a dollar a gallon for it which tells you how long it has been in there) Diesel or kerosene are a lot less flammable than the old safety kleen solvents. For you guys worried about an electric pump being immersed in kerosene, what are your thoughts on in tank electric pumps for gasoline fuel injected cars?
  8. kneemoe

    kneemoe Binder Driver

    For those worried about flash point, ever flicked a match (or even a cigarette) at an open container of kerosene?

    not that i'd suggest it, but i have (stupid kid stuff) on many occasions.... usually (as stated previously) you wont get anywhere near enough vapor to have a problem.

    now try that with gasoline or white gas and see what happens!

    i use kerosene or diesel to remove thick coats of grease, i just make sure to clean up real good (and fast) afterwards, it'll eat through most crap quicker than most solvents i've purchased
    but then, its yer a$$, so its yer choice ;)
  9. tinker

    tinker Farmall Cub

    castrol super clean!
    works great, non-flammable or is it inflammable,
    much better for your health
    more expensive though
  10. M. Mayben

    M. Mayben High Wheeler

    Motor vehicle electric submersible fuel pumps, and parts cleaner circulation pumps ain't even on the same planet William! Only thing they have in common is they both "pump"!

    Submersible fuel pumps, either pressure-type or delivery/transfer type, are designed to be used ONLY when submerged in a liquid fuel environment.

    These cheeseball (but effective/affordable) parts washers nowadays (such as the Harbor Freight stuff) are designed with a pump rated ONLY for use with a "approved" water-base solvent concentrate.

    The plastic housings on those watersolvent pumps will not hold up to petroleum-base solvents, once the housing melts/cracks/deforms/softens/etc., I don't wanna be around one with that stuff in it!

    Once ANY parts washer has had nasty oily parts washed in it, the solvent can ignite/combust if conditions are right, even water-base stuff. That's why the motors/pumps are "ignition-protected" and the units have to be "certified" if commercial manufacture. They all incorporate some type of fusible link or such for lid closure in such an event.

    The "safest" type of circulation pump in a parts washer is a pnuematic pump, which normally incorporates "agitation" also for extremely effective cleaning.

    I have yet to see/use ANY water-base solvent that is as effective as Stoddard, mineral spirits, etc. for getting parts CLEAN and DRY if the solvent is changed on a regular basis, and the machine incoporates adequate filtration/recirculation. Unfortunately, due to the greenielobby's opposition to VolatileOrganicCompounds and the fact that anything effective has to carry a californicate cancercausin' warning, that stuff is history except in highdollar commercial cleaning environments.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2005
  11. kneemoe

    kneemoe Binder Driver

    Inflammable means flammable?! what a country!
    -Dr. Nick Riviera

    that's how i remember :) good ole simpons....
  12. William Griffin

    William Griffin High Wheeler

    I must have gotten a goodun then, because it's been pumping that nasty red diesel for a long time. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, it wasn't so good at first. It pumped for a couple of minutes when I first got it then locked up. I took it apart and found that the impeller had some plastic scale left on it that was jammed against the housing. I took a utility knife and trimmed it off, reassembled and it's been working since. The unit does have the fusible link built into the hinge which is a good idea if it ever did catch fire. My question about the auto pumps was aimed at anyone who would say that just by virtue of being electric powered, a pump couldn't be submersed in a flammable liquid. I've never seen an air powered cleaner but that sounds like a great idea.
  13. M. Mayben

    M. Mayben High Wheeler

    Pnuematically-powered "agitators" parts washers can be either manually operated, or "automatically" operated, (kinda like a dishwasher). Usually found in industrial settings or automotive machine shops, tranny shops, etc. Either vertically-oriented or horizontal "tank" style, typically loaded with up to 40+ gallons of solvent. I did have one small tank style (similar to a SafetyKleen unit) that needed only 10 gallons of juice.

    All I've owned/used in the past were manufactured by Graymills, they also supply their own propietary blend of "Stoddard-type" solvent. These are not in the price range for most folks regarding home workshop use.

    I've also used naptha in the plasticpump Harbor Freight/Chicago electric units. The pump usually lasted about 2 months before meltdown, then got swapped back to the local Harbor Freight store for a "warranty replacement"! After the second failure they told me to go screw! I don't doubt that a plasticpump run on kero would last longer due to the nature of the chemical base!

    I finally loaned out that unit to someone while building the shophouse as I had no need for it a or a place to put it, no tellin' where it is now!. Currently using my neighbor's Harbor Freight unit with watermix in it. He's a recently retired captain on the Springtucky F.D. and WON'T keep any FLAMMABLES in his garage or shop! Is beer flammable Erik????

    I'm watchin' local for an old school Graymills unit now, it's gonna go out in the equipment shed, not the shop. The vapors/fumes react with an open flame and smell somethin' REALLY BAD!

    Kinda wierd about this thread William! Yore fellow clubmember jes' left here after spendin' a week BS'n his head off with me! That would be CCCTrumpet! We discussed this same exact topic!

    Erik...bein' a firebubba and all, do you know what was in the "old/original" SafetyKleen blend which they first introduced back in the late 60's? That was before the days of "MSDs" and such and was used up until the implementation of the current incarnation of the Clean Air Act. I know it was naptha base with some other stuff blended in, deoderizer, etc., and as you know, their main deal was the re-cycling of the stuff
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2005
  14. William Griffin

    William Griffin High Wheeler

    Geeze, it is a small world. Curt lives just down the road from where I grew up.
  15. Joe Costanzo

    Joe Costanzo Farmall Cub

    Thanks crew for all the input.

    An interesting point to note: On the inside of the lid there are warnings about the solvent's being flammable, etc. I guess I'll have to dig a little deeper to determine what type of solvent the manufacturer intended to be used in it.

  16. scoutman800

    scoutman800 Y-Block King

    the issue is not whether you'll go down in flames (the flammable or inflammable type) or not, rather whether you end up with the stuff in your bloodstream. kerosene evaporates very slowly. gets absorbed into the bloodstream and is collected in your body(liver if i recall correctly). the mineral spirit based solvents wick away too fast to be absorbed. ever use the kerosene and "feel" it on your skin after you wash up? better to use gasoline!
  17. Greg R

    Greg R High Wheeler

    Had a maintenance products rep show me the MSDS on tri-chlorethylene, the stuff in "Brakleen". Something about toxicity to reproductive processes, reduction in reproductive organs :eek: I'm wearing gloves now!
  18. M. Mayben

    M. Mayben High Wheeler


    That's why I breathe the Brakleen stuff on a reglar basis!

    I realize yore too young for THAT deal!

    How many pounds of R-11 ya got stashed, the absolute finest solvent ever invented! got a license to possess!
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2005
  19. Greg R

    Greg R High Wheeler

    Hey Mike! Try this. I personally think the BEST stuff is: Asbestos, tetra-ethyl lead, R-12, R-11, carbon tet, hi VOC adhesives, lead paint(toughest there was), mercury thermometers, benzene etc. The trouble was, incompetance, ineptitude, corruption, and now today stupidity, got in the way. Wise use, not overindulgence(Freon in hairspray for crissakes!) was needed. But now we're pay'in; & pay'in again. ;)
  20. M. Mayben

    M. Mayben High Wheeler

    Now you are REALLY stepin' on my SORE SPOT. I got a MAJOR stash of ALL the above.

    I only use it when helping out FRIENDS, cause I know their stuff's gotta be REALLY clean!

    I've lived off all that crap for more than 50 years ever since the old blacksmith (my mentor) had me washin' parts for him in kerosene that got dumped in the creek each night that ran into the water supply for the city of Dallas (TX, that is, not OR). I was about 7 or 8 and we thought it was totally cool when he lit the rollin' burnpile off with a ginuwine lamp oil powered blow torch as it rolled down towards the lake! Old dude was about 75 then and you'd a thought he was teenager when it ignited!

    Mom never could keep a can of hair spray around when it was actually made from real bug-base lacquer. I took every can she had out back and lit 'em off with that Zippo lighter I kept hidden away for smokin' grapevine..

    These kids hangin' here don't know what good stuff really means!

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