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Your favorite de-greaser
Hey guys, 
Summer is pretty much said and done around here these days.
And it is time to get back to the shop, but first, I have a ton of cleaning to do.

Just wondering what everyone's favorite de-greaser is for metal machines?
I sort of ended up with an extra Bridgeport mill, WF Wells horiz band saw and a Cincinnati lathe.

They need a good scrub, and I want to cut as much as that swarf as I can chemically before getting to the manual scrubbing.
Any thoughts?
Hello Wade - interesting that you should ask. I'm here on the farm for a couple of weeks and without a doubt - carburetor cleaner is the degreaser of choice in Harvey County. It's 1/3 the price and just as effective (perhaps more so) as genuine degreaser. I bought a case of it three or four years ago and am down to my last two cans. Was in the parts store a couple of days ago and asked if there was anything new under the sun for grease removal and the guy behind the counter said "No" then recommended - carb cleaner.
I'll second that on carb cleaner.  Works great.  I squirt the stuff like holy water.  Pretty amazing stuff.  It's downside is the invidious effluvia requiring good ventilation in the work area.  I don't know, but I suspect it can also be absorbed through the skin causing possibly deleterious effects so rubber gloves should be used on larger jobs with extended contact.  It also evaporates quickly so working time is short.  A bit difficult to use for big jobs.  Sure works good though.

Spray on engine degreaser is some amazing stuff too.  It too is sort of noxious and nasty but it cuts grease and grime.  Slow to evaporate with a long working time.  Avoid the "green" non-toxic varieties.  They suck.  You want the most nasty and caustic stuff available.  

Gasoline works great too with it's obvious downsides.

For both grease and lacquer coating type removal, electrical cleaner is superb.  Evaporates extremely quickly with extremely short working time, but works extremely well.  Did I say "extremely" enough times?  I always have some on hand.

Automotive parts cleaner works well too.  You know, the stuff sold in 5 gallon buckets that is used in parts cleaning tanks.  Can't remember any names but should be easy to find on Amazon.  Super long working times.

Of course there is the old standby mineral spirits. They make a non-stinky variety now.  I have some of the non-stinky but have not tried it yet.  I'm always suspicious of anything less noxious, caustic and poisonous than the stuff I know actually works. 

Straight toluene is amazing but you will want a gas mask on hand.  Nasty, nasty, but amazing. Seems to dissolve about anything it comes in contact with.  Again - nasty, nasty, stinky, stinky but works sometimes when other stuff fails.  

If you search the 'Net you will come up with Krud Kutter, Simple Green and the like.  Some of them are well reviewed but I have my doubts.  If you try them please let us know what you think.
I have tried everything mentioned, and have every kind on hand for different purposes.

I would use Stihl degreaser when cleaning that kind of machinery. It works very well, with a looong open time. Almost safe enough to drink.
I will try all but the 'doesn't work' options.
Working time will be an issue, as a lot of this will have to soak a while.
My first thought was kerosene or mineral spirits, but, they have their obvious downsides.
Tried methanol, but it just doesn't cut much and evaps pretty fast.
Need to get the grease off, but keep the paint on.
Thanks to all!
I've never heard of Stihl degreaser before but if Mr. Mark recommends it it's probably very good.  I'll have to get some and try it. I have a Stihl chain saw, blower, and trimmer. Excellent equipment. I love degreasers.  Clean equipment is happy equipment!

I did some searching around and saw numerous mentions of Purple Power.  Never used it, but well recommended.

I've used Gunk engine degreaser many times.  It works well.  Just spray it on, let it sit for 15 minutes and wash it off.  Long working time.  The foamy kind stays put too.  Not supposed to hurt paint but not good on clear coat if you get it on your car finish.

For less grimy areas WD-40 works surprisingly well and we all know what that stuff is like.

It's a good subject and thanks for the post.  We all need a good degreaser from time to time.  Please let us know what you try and your thoughts on how they work Mr. Wade.
Yeah, I hadn't heard of the Stihl stuff either, but, I grabbed a bottle of it from a dealer down the street from my shop, and WOW!
Pretty effective stuff. Spray it on, and watch the grime start to run!

It is 80% DI water, so you do need to know where you are putting it for future rust issues, but it is pretty easy to control.

Purple power works really well, but, I learned the hard way that I am very allergic to something in it...
After getting it on my arms last summer, for a couple weeks, I looked like I had rolled around in poison ivy.
It is great for shop floors for sure, though I stay away from it these days.

I took a look at the Stihl degreaser MSDS, and it is fairly caustic stuff, but it does cut grease well.
You do have to be a bit careful with the spray mist from an inhalation perspective... got a little hit of it, and I coughed for a bit.
It is also biodegradable, which is a nice benefit when it comes to washing shit down the drain.
(As a fly-fisherman, I always notice what I put down the drain!)

Thanks for the suggestion Mark! Will definitely be keeping a bottle of this on hand.
I had no idea Stihl even had products like that. Interesting. I'll keep an eye out for that stuff next time I go shopping.
Happy to hear it worked for you, Wade. Also, it's a good idea to read the MSDS. I didn't, because this is what I read on the bottle;

STIHL Cleaner/Degreaser is an industrial strength product that is ideal to clean grease, dirt, oil and wax from engine components. It comes in a 28 fl. oz. bottle (828 ml) and can be diluted up to a 16:1 ratio for light cleaning applications. 
Non-abrasive, phosphate free, non-toxic, non-flammable and biodegradable 

Sounded pretty innocuous compared to 20 other things in the shop. I haven't ever gotten a bad whiff of it, but "non-toxic" can apparently be misleading. Definitely sounds hard on eyeballs...

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