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Old April 21, 2009, 12:30 AM   #1
JustDreadful
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Dishwasher to get rid of cosmoline?

I figure the C&R people are the experts on cosmo removal

I have a Bulgarian plastic AK handguard, fairly caked with the stuff. The HG has a steel heat shield. Now, I could probably wait six weeks, leave it on the patio and let the Vegas sun take care of the problem, but I lack patience. So three questions:

1. Will the dishwasher work?

2. Will the heat shield rust?

3. Will the dishwasher survive? If I ruin the dishwasher, I won't survive - have to change my name to JustDeadful. Heh.
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Old April 21, 2009, 12:42 AM   #2
Mike Irwin
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I would say no. Dishwashers are really not meant to handle that kind of synthetic grease. You have no idea what it might do to the interior, or the plastic parts.

Also, dishwater detergent is highly abrasive and often very chemically active. It could end up stripping the finish off your handguard.

Mineral spirits and nylon scrubbers are your friends.
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Old April 21, 2009, 12:59 AM   #3
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Dishwasher = bad juju on furniture ... best avoid always.

You need this ---> http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/vie...?f=137&t=65922

Tiki.
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Old April 21, 2009, 01:07 AM   #4
JustDreadful
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OK, I'm listening (figuratively, of course), but I want to make sure everyone remembers that the grease-trap in question is PLASTIC. No finish, nothing soaked in or soakable.

You may get on with crushing my hopes...
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Last edited by JustDreadful; April 21, 2009 at 02:48 AM.
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Old April 21, 2009, 02:45 AM   #5
impalacustom
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Dishwasher is a go. I have done it to many Garands, Carbines and Thompsons. I stripped them down and put all the springs and screws in a marked tub and then put all the big hardware, stocks, forearms, receiver, barrel, you name it, in the dishwasher. I don't use any detergent and turn it on heavy wash. I remove everything before it goes to dry cycle and then out to the air compressor and dry everything but the wood off. I allow the wood to air dry for 3 or 4 days and then re-apply the linseed oil. It takes out dents and lots of other things, I never had one crack on me.

So yes throw your stuff in the dishwasher especially since it's plastic, it won't hurt anything.
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Old April 21, 2009, 07:28 AM   #6
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Most C&R issues with cosmoline are that it's soaked into the wood and all through the bolt. A plastic handguard and a steel heatshield should just come clean in a small tub of mineral spirits. Cosmoline doesn't soak into plastic and steel.
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Old April 21, 2009, 07:46 PM   #7
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I really recommend thinking twice about the dishwasher. Number one, that cosmo has to go somewhere

Number two, use a hairdryer to soften it, and wipe the stuff down

For wood...the dishwasher will damage the natural 'glue' in the wood to one degree or another.
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Old April 21, 2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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Plastic handguard? that is all you have to do? Why risk making a greasy stinky mess of the dishwasher and getting your butt kicked, for one lousy handguard? Wipe it off as much as you can with paper towels. The hair dryer thing will work, it will melt the cosmo as long as you don't go nuts and melt the handguard. But that liquifies it and you gotta be sure it don't drip on you or something you like. I think the totally wiping off all you can with paper towels and the mineral spirits treatment ought to be enough. Or kerosene if you can do it outdoors. No gasoline unless you got asbestos underwear. Use acid brushes in a tub or coffee can full of kero. or spirits and you will get it all off easily enough and not worry about rusting anything. Something like a dishwasher would be OK for doing alot of parts, assuming you had an extra dishwasher lying around besides the primary one. Or a car parts washer will work. Don't risk getting people ticked off at you for such a small job.
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Old April 21, 2009, 09:36 PM   #9
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mineral spirits = good
diesel/kerosene = good
gasoline = bad
dishwasher = expelled from the house for a week, forbidden to ever use a household appliance again (while the appliance thing may sound good, I really like toast or a waffle with bacon, and the only thing I am allowed to make is cereal) it didn't hurt the dishwasher or the rifle, the wife is emotionally scarred forever
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Old April 21, 2009, 09:51 PM   #10
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dishwasher works, just use somebody elses

also works on removing all the dents and dings from the wood

do a search, lots of us do it


also dip the metal and wood parts in oven cleaner and put in black plastic bags in teh sun.

wash off and repeat until clean
or just soak in kerosene and clean with wire brush
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Old April 22, 2009, 07:04 AM   #11
JustDreadful
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Quote:
Why risk making a greasy stinky mess of the dishwasher and getting your butt kicked, for one lousy handguard?
I'm lazy.

Quote:
A plastic handguard and a steel heatshield should just come clean in a small tub of mineral spirits.


That's one of those ideas I really should have thought of, myself. Why wouldn't that work with a bolt?
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Old April 22, 2009, 10:14 AM   #12
Mike Irwin
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"Why wouldn't that work with a bolt?"

It will. Very nicely.

I've cleaned any number of cosmoline packed guns using nothing but mineral spirits.

I've also cleaned several using boiling water and a box of Spic & Span.

Boil the water and dissolve as much Spic & Span in it that will dissolve, and then clean away.

WARNING!

You MUST wear chemical gloves, an apron, and eye protection. This solution will give you pretty significant chemical burns.

It will also strip the old paint off some WW II era guns, and it will chew the finish off many finishes on stocks, so use carefully.

But, the upside is, it just lasers through cosmoline.
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Old April 22, 2009, 11:41 AM   #13
Chris_B
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Regarding the dishwasher taking out dents:

No argument from me on that. But I'd recommend getting one of those dishwashers that can tell the difference between a dent and a cartouche, first
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Old April 22, 2009, 11:49 AM   #14
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yup,

i usually use one of the hand steamers or an iron for valuable stocks with cartouches or inspectors marks. for all other stocks just toss it in the dishwasher and the stock will look like new when it comes out. a little light sanding and then apply some tongue oil or poly and it looks like a new gun.

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Old April 22, 2009, 12:10 PM   #15
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Good buddy of mine uses a parts washer at a mechanic/machinists shop to clean his mil-surp toys.
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Old April 22, 2009, 12:18 PM   #16
Mike Irwin
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"Good buddy of mine uses a parts washer at a mechanic/machinists shop to clean his mil-surp toys."

Yep, that's the ultimate application of the mineral spirits bath.

I used to work for Safety Kleen right out of college and would frequently bring my guns to work (as did most everyone else) to clean them in the one we had for use in our shop.

Harbor Freight sells a small parts cleaner. I've thought about getting one.
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Old April 22, 2009, 01:30 PM   #17
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also foregot to mention that simple green works very well, but outside of a parts cleaner or dishwasher the oven cleaner and a black trash bag in the sun work the best for me.

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Old April 22, 2009, 01:52 PM   #18
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Cosmoline removal is really two separate steps - getting it out of or off of the metal pieces (bolt, barrel, etc) is as simple as soaking it in a tub of mineral spirits and lightly scrubbing with an old toothbrush or acid brush.

Getting it out of the wood is where it gets tricky - low heat is your best friend. No matter how powerful or magical your solvent or potion is, it still has to chase the cosmoline into the wood and stay solvent enough to pull it back out.
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Old April 22, 2009, 02:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
Harbor Freight sells a small parts cleaner. I've thought about getting one.
They have two sizes. I bought the smaller one. It is quite useful, but wish I had gotten the bigger one now.

I use kerosene. metal parts can be soaked in it overnight and rinsed off the next day. Cosmoline problem gone. Plastic and wood parts are a different problem.
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Old April 22, 2009, 04:50 PM   #20
Chris_B
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A lot of the 'dishwasher folks" around here.

I really do advise caution here. The following in my opinion is good advice. I will put the relevant part in boldface. Even if you don't use detergent you run a few risks:

6.1 Stripping Off the Old Finish and Other Debris: Walnut and birch are easily worked with, but not cheaply and take some labor if you want a nice job without making a chemical mess of the wood. Any product or procedure that includes water is not appropriate for refinishing rifle stocks. The oven cleaner and dishwasher versions of cleaning stocks are not appropriate. Water, chemicals, and hot water are the death of wood fibers and any cartouche marks on the wood. Wood in many respects is a bundle of straws held together by glue. The active ingredient in Easy-Off Oven Cleaner (sodium hydroxide) attacks the natural wood glue (hemicellulose) holding the wood fibers together. Left on long enough, it will even attack the individual wood fibers. Even more problematic when unintended is that Easy-Off requires rinsing with water which raises the grain of the wood and requires sanding to remove the feathers raised. A dishwasher’s water and heat have the potential to swell wood fibers so much that the metal will not fit back in. Oven cleaners and dishwasher detergents chemically alter the wood fibers and remove natural oils in the wood. A lye like compound may be left in the wood to later leach out if damp and attack the metal placed against it.

Here's the whole bit:

http://www.odcmp.com/Services/Rifles...ng_article.htm
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Old April 22, 2009, 05:40 PM   #21
Tom2
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I have had gunstocks that looked dry and clean and then would weep cosmo at the range out in the heat of the sun. I guess if it has had decades to soak into the wood, it ain't gonna flush out easy, like it was just on the surface. Apparently some folks just work at it awhile till they think they got most of it and then apply some non porous finish to the wood to hold in what might be left! If it was not a gunstock and something you really needed, for other purposes probably wood soaked in cosmo would be considered ruined and thrown away.
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Old April 22, 2009, 11:56 PM   #22
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My apols to the OP ... I misread and thought he was dealing with a wood stock rather than plastic. You could do it with plastic but why bother ...

( Chris B ... you're talking my language! )

Again ... dishwashers are bad news on wood furniture stocks ... you can end up with a warped stock and not even know it. The warping of the furniture can be quite subtle or very extreme but heavy use of hot water ( allowing soak time ) and wood are a bad combo for any thinking man surely.

Same goes for oven cleaner ( chemical ) ... it's like using rusty steel wool to buff the paint job on a sportscar. Chemical burn on wood looks great!

If you choose not to heed this ... good luck.

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Old April 23, 2009, 07:18 AM   #23
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Quote:
A dishwasher’s water and heat have the potential to swell wood fibers so much that the metal will not fit back in.
Exactly. People forget just how hot the water in a dishwasher can be.
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