View Full Version : What fluid to use in solvent tank

March 2, 2005, 05:20 PM
What is a good fluid to use in a solvent tank to clean firearms? I need something that does not require ventilation/ non toxic and, if possible, has a milder aroma than say Hoppes.

I bought a AGI gunsmith video tape in which the "expert" used nothing but Simple Green to clean his firearms. I had never heard of this before, and would never have thought to use it. Any thoughts.

March 2, 2005, 05:38 PM
I get it at Walmart in the Automotive section. I use it in a spray bottle to and use a brush to scrub the parts with. It washes off easily and leaves the part without a greasy feeling.

March 2, 2005, 08:47 PM
There are any number of water-based detergent clean/degreasers that will do.

Be warned however, that many of these cleaners will damage aluminum, can damage or remove paints from sight inserts, and may be damaging to some gun finishes.

Simply Green specifically WILL damage aluminum.

Water-based cleaners are good, just choose them carefully, and remember that once the metal comes out of the tank, and the cleaner is rinsed off, there will be NO lubricant left anywhere on the parts, and they WILL rust very quickly.

March 9, 2005, 04:34 AM
Echoing the comment on Simple Green, have seen this actually happen and it ain't pretty.

March 9, 2005, 04:51 AM
Honda Brite works well as a degreaser (works wonders on cosmo), you can get it at most motorcycle shops. It's safe on any metal, plastic, rubber, glass, and I haven't had any problem with it on wood.

EDIT: forgot to put in rubber

March 9, 2005, 08:46 AM
Some ordinary detergent in water ,very hot or boiling .For really serious cleaning boiling solution of TSP [tri sodium phosphate -DO NOT use on aluminum !]

chris downs
March 9, 2005, 10:06 AM
I like Simple Green for cleaning. But I don't think it would be a good choice for a solvent tank. I use simple green at full strength and spray it on the metal. Then wait a few minutes and scrub a little if necessary. Then the part is rinsed in water and blown dry. All traces of crud and oil are removed. The odor isn't disagreeable and might even be considered pleasant. If you don't have a source of air, then I wouldn't want to use this cleaning technique on things with nooks and crannies. (Like gun parts?)

Robert Hairless
March 19, 2005, 03:50 AM
My own experience is that everybody's right. :) Simple Green works like a charm except that its manufacturer recommends against using it on aluminum so I don't use Simple Green on aluminum. I do have to say, though, that since the only aluminum parts on my guns are the frames, and they have been anodized, I doubt that they'll be harmed by Simple Green. But I don't do it anyway.

To clean everything else I use 1/3 Simple Green to 2/3 water in an ultrasonic cleaner, zap it for a few minutes, use a brush to scrub off the stubborn spots, and zap it again. Then I rinse everything in hot running water, do a rough dry with paper towels, and finish with compressed air.

For a final touch I spray Ballistol (available at decent hardware stores) into nooks and crannies, and onto white metal parts such as sear springs.

Aluminum is easily cleaned with hot soapy water, so I clean the frames on my aluminum framed pistols with dishwashing detergent, a brush, and hot water, the same way we wash aluminum cooking pots.

March 22, 2005, 06:59 PM
since the only aluminum parts on my guns are the frames, and they have been anodized, I doubt that they'll be harmed by Simple Green

Two things...

First, I mean the following in a friendly way -- trust me on that.

Second, you are wrong -- Simple Green is capable of stripping the anodizing from an aluminum frame. And, once that happens, the surface hardening of the aluminum will be compromised by the SG as well, and the handgun will be...suitable for auctioning as parts on one of the auction sites. :eek: :( :mad: :barf:

Trust me, I have personally seen it happen to a SIG that went into an ultrasonic cleaner tank with straight Simple Green. I have seen the same trick done with Berettas, and under the same conditions they did actually come out -- apparently -- ok. But I would not trust to either luck or home-science on this. Keep the SG away from aluminum.

March 23, 2005, 02:42 AM
Mineral spirits is a good general-purpose wash solvent. Hoppe's will still get out a little more goo than plain mineral spirits.

Personally I wipe my guns down and clean the barrels with Hoppe's, then give a vigorous rinsing in the dedicated-to-guns parts washer, which is filled with mineral spirits.

There are recipes for homebrews too, like Ed's Red, that you can find online.

March 23, 2005, 10:06 AM
I accidently stripped the anodizing off of a aluminum flash hider once. The metal seemed ok but who knows what went on at the molecular level. Good thing it was only a flash hider for the 10/22.

April 2, 2005, 08:25 AM
mikikanazawa said it best, use mineral spirits.

This is what Beretta recomends for all of there guns.


April 2, 2005, 12:08 PM
we use Orange-sol in our gun washer, followed up by bore cleaning with a solvent


April 3, 2005, 06:42 AM
I can not remember. Is mineral spirits strong smelling? Is it good for carbon buildup? ie. M16 bolts that are neglected.
I did use Ed's red on my milsurp military blot actions when I shot corrosive ammo but never considerred it for normal cleaning . I always used it after normal cleaning as a further step to deal with the corrosive ammo and as a preservant. hhow good is it for light to medium cleaning?

Dave Sample
April 3, 2005, 01:33 PM
I use a automobile sovent I buy from an oil company here in Prescott. I put some in a pasta cooker deal I bought at K-Mart for ten bucks that has a pan inside the pan with holes in it so I can soak the parts and then pull the inner oan up and grab them without emersing my delicate old hands in the solvent. This cooker also has a nice lid that keeps the Javalinas from drinking it. It works great for me. It has a speckled enamel look to it that reminds me of the cookware in a cowboy camp. I change it when it gets real nasty looking.

April 4, 2005, 01:39 PM
I can not remember. Is mineral spirits strong smelling? Is it good for carbon buildup? ie. M16 bolts that are neglected.

Odorless mineral spirits are not smelly at all. (Okay, maybe a little, but it's a solvent you can use in the kitchen without getting in trouble with the boss.)

It's so-so at removing carbon buildup. The advantage is that it's cheap, so you can half-fill a five gallon bucket and really rinse your parts. For the heavy carbon I still like Hoppe's, or any other commercial GUN solvent, then a rinse in the mineral spirits bucket.

Personally I will scrub my guns 95% clean in mineral spirits, give them a once-over with Hoppe's and then another final rinse in mineral spirits, slap them with a CLP-soaked paintbrush, wipe down and reassemble.

Dave Sample
April 4, 2005, 01:45 PM
I love the smell of the gun solvent I use. The only thing better is Hoppes #9! I use the shop air alot for blowing out the parts after I soak them for a while. They come out clean and dry. Ready for the bead blaster or whatever.