This then raises the question of how to 'legally' and sensibly dispose of the resultant messy solvent. I once took my container of 'waste' to the local council recycling centre and they sent me off with a flea in my ear
Reminds of a story told to me by a friend who had worked on a big construction contract in an Arab country where alcohol was banned. So, the expats set up a still in the on-site fitting shop, and after several months had substantially filled a 45 gallon drum. A big party was planned. Somehow the police got wind of this, and raided the site. The still was hidden and they didn't find it, but were suspicious of the drum. The expats told them it was degreaser. At this the cops asked for proof, and demanded a demonstration on a filthy dirty engine which had just been removed from a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer, to be overhauled. Guys stood around with tears in their eyes while the contents of the drum were poured over the engine. It worked a treat, took off all of the filth and grease, and most of the paint as well! The cops departed with smiles on their faces, job well done.
If things are really coated in grease one of those domestic steam guns as advertised for cleaning kitchen and bathroom tiles is pretty good at cutting through the grime. Once you've 'steamed' off most of the grease you can then do a solvent clean.
I don't see how cellulose thinners can take the grease with it when it evaporates. If this happened then distillation wouldn't work!
The only way to get the grease off is to use the solvent to dissolve the grease and then to removed the resultant solution, either because it drips off, or by wiping up with rags. Chris.
I can assure you it does work. I did point out though, that if an item is very greasy, a couple of solvent washes might be necessary. Anyway, when degreasing a component, the obvious way is to dunk it in a container of solvent, and brush with a clean decorators small paintbrush. The grease all washes off in the downward flow back into the container. The solvent will then evaporate off the surfaces, taking any last traces of grease with it. I know this because that is the way I have degreased parts myself. Having worked in the paint manufacturing industry for over 30 years, I have worked with many solvents, and as I have been model engineering all that time, I checked out which ones would degrease best, for my own use, and cellulose thinner came out well above any other, readily available, solvent.....because it has this ability to take oils and greases with it when it evaporates. The only other solvents that can beat it for degreasing, are degreasers in the trichloretylene family of solvents. They are even better, but not readily available, and under certain circumstances, can be extremely toxic, so I have stuck with cellulose thinners as the next best thing.
I get the dried up oil stains off my lathe using paraffin and a toothbrush.
Member, Committee member and Webmaster for Tiverton & District MES www.tivertonmodelengineering.org.uk Built and run 3 1/2" Rob Roy Built (and sold) 5" Stanier 2-6-4T Built 5" Charlatan Building 5" Pansy x 3 Building 3 1/2" Doris Early in building 7 1/4" Dean Single (Lorna Doone)
It all depends on what type of paint it is. If you don't know then you have to assume it is enamel, just for safety. If you don't know, then the only solvents you should use, is white spirit or turps substitute. If you know what the paint coating is, then you can use any solvent that is not as aggressive as the solvent specific to that type of paint. In any case, it is always a good idea to do a small test on an area that is not normally seen. The main difficulty you are likely to have, is that you may not know what solvent will actually clean off the staining. If it is something that will only come off with a strong solvent, you may have a problem. The other way to clean off a stain on a paint surface you don't know, is to use car polish. It is very mildly abrasive and should take the surface staining off without damaging the paint surface. If you just want to degrease, without taking the stain off, then a couple of washes/wipes with white spirit/turps sub should do the job.