Gun cleaner recipe for parts washer bin?


August 16, 2006, 01:08 PM
This might sound like a good idea if it works. I've used the Dunk-it stuff from Cylinder and Slide and it costs a fortune. I had an idea the other day and want to put to use.

I can aquire a large parts washer bin wide and long enough for barrels and other firearms parts. The bin has a pump in it that circulates the fluid and cleans it with a filter.

This in all reality would be fantastic. I would be able to soak barrels and then scrub them and then use the remaining cleaner.

But this would entail aquiring a large amount of cleaner. I can't find any cleaner that comes in bulk (5 gallons +) that wont break my bank.

Anyone have a recipe for gun cleaner or have any ideas to help?

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August 16, 2006, 01:15 PM
What kind of cleaning are we talking about ?
Getting cosmoline, dirt, fouling, sand, etc type stuff off or are we talking about copper fouling ?

I have a parts cleaner that I use water and Simple Green in. It is fine for dirt, cosmoline, powder fouling and that kind of stuff. But obviously it won't remove copper fouling from bullet jackets. Here in the desert the liquid in the parts cleaning tank is usually anwhere from warm to hotter than you can stand (the tank is outside). The parts dry quickly from the sunlight. I usually speed up the process with compressed air.
The beauty of the water/Simple Green is that it probably works as well as anything else AND it is safe to dispose of without some kind of hazmat.

August 16, 2006, 02:46 PM

41 Redhawk
August 16, 2006, 03:42 PM
For parts cleaner use, I would make the Ed's Red without the acetone and lanolin.

August 16, 2006, 04:26 PM
Just get mineral spirits from Lowe's or Home Depot. Save the Ed's Red, etc., for bore cleaning.


August 16, 2006, 09:41 PM
444.... I hope you arent using the "city water", with all the Calcium minerals in our water! Hope you are using bottled water?? Nothing like having a white, stained piece of metal. :(

August 16, 2006, 10:27 PM
I've been through this issue once already - can't find the extensive thread on it at the moment though.

I finally decided against trying it for two reasons:

- The cheap/smaller bench top parts cleaners have a very cheap pump that plain and simply will not hold up against petroleum solvents - only made for water based solvents really.

- Without an easy method of air tight closure of the parts cleaner you're going to loose a lot of via evaporation, not to mention filling the air in the area with stuff you really shouldn't be breathing too much of.

If you gotta' try though, go with the Ed's Red, and use all the ingredients - don't take out the Acetone or the Anhydrous Lanolin (non-water based lanolin). I can attest that the Amount of Acetone used to mix Ed's Red does not lead to vapor overload - it smells a little strong, but no worse than many household cleaners. The Anhydrous lanolin can be difficult to find locally, but just check eBay - there's lots of ad's for it at a very reasonable price there - that's where I got mine - and it does make a huge difference as far as how harsh the mix is on your skin, actually bordering on incredible. No lanolin and I guarantee your hands won't like you for it. It also adds a boatload of time that the metal parts will go rust resistant - without it you must absolutely oil down all the metal, inside & out, or else...

August 17, 2006, 01:37 AM
Marvel Mystery oil 2 qts
Risolene 2 qts
Mineral Spirits 1 gal
kerosene 3 gal

This mix works great for cosmolene removal and general cleaning and lube.

August 17, 2006, 11:47 AM
I use equal parts Mineral Spirits/Kerosene/ATF Fluid


August 17, 2006, 05:58 PM
No, I am not using bottled water in my parts washer.
The idea is to clean the parts and then get the water off. Getting most of it off with a towel and then sitting it in the sun or using compressed air works fine.

August 24, 2006, 04:13 PM
In the service, the parts washers we used were stocked with mineral spirits.

That did a pretty good job, especially if you blow it out with compressed air afterwards.

August 24, 2006, 11:34 PM
On another board, someone recommended Extreme Simple Green Aircraft and Precision Cleaner.... ... I looked into it, but since I was moving didnt persue it. It is water based and claims to not harm seals, o-rings, etc.

August 24, 2006, 11:51 PM
So is there a difference between that stuff and the regular Simple Green I have been using ?

August 25, 2006, 11:01 AM
I've been toying with the idea of using simple green in my big parts washer and after something I recently noticed I definitly am switching over. Right now it has old military rifle bore cleaner. I found some at a drmo for a buck a gallon.
Anyway, I cleaned the wheels on my jeep with some simple green and it was parked in the grass. Now I got 4 nice dark green spots where it was parked at. And the grass is about a foot taller than the rest.

I was gonna use a simple green mixture in the tank and then when it is dirty I'll put it in my big spray rig and dispose of it on one of my pastures. They say it's biodegradeable. I just have to be careful about what gets into it.

August 25, 2006, 11:11 AM
this stuff will take the chrome off of a trailerhitch.

August 25, 2006, 12:56 PM
Acetone (available at paint and hardware stores) will dissolve most any organic (any many inorganic) compounds. It's kinda considered the "universal solvent" in most chemistry labs. Unless heated, the fumes aren't too bad (but you should really use a resperator) and its not too harsh on flesh (but you should use gloves as well). This is what I would use anyway.

Edited to add: BUT it will eat alot of plastics and remove the finish on wood. Should be used for metal parts ONLY.

August 25, 2006, 01:50 PM
I don't know about the SG "aircraft" cleaner, but regular SG will attack aluminum and will remove anodizing in the process - do NOT use SG on aluminum parts. There are several DoD warnings on this, and I have personally seen a SIG P226 frame damaged by being "cleaned" in a SG bath.

If they're marketing a cleaner for aircraft use, that *ought* to be ok ("ought to" not always equaling "is"), since much of an aircraft is made of aluminum. I'd check it out carefully before using it, though.

pete f
August 25, 2006, 02:41 PM
We just used diesel and ATF in about equal parts, very very little that combo did not clean up. We bought a cheap Norther tool and Hydraulics parts tank for under $100 and it worked for about 6 years. the pump died and we found a new pump for like $30 bucks at Grizzly tool and that is still running. advantage of Diesel/ATF is that you can let metal just sit in it over night if you want and not worry about corrosion or whatever. I had a cheap .22 that I found that was just nasty full of crud and over night in the tank, the stuff just hosed right off. hardly any scrubbing. Same with a lawnmower powerhead that my kid wanted to use for a drive for a leaf blower on his mower, dropped the whole thing, rinsed it off, it looked new, blew it out with compressed air and redid the carb, and he still is using it. All the carbon and old goo just melts off with the Diesel/dextron mix.

August 25, 2006, 02:42 PM
Oh, if any of ya'll use anything more aggressive than mineral spirits, do please use the proper gloves. I have met a few folks with nerve damage in their hands from useing the old-school parts cleaner solvents.

August 31, 2006, 01:10 PM
444 - they say the new aircraft stuff is non-corrosive. The original can be on certain metals

September 3, 2006, 09:15 AM
I use brake cleaner in a spay can to remove lead and copper fouling from barrels.

Anyone else ever use this?

September 3, 2006, 09:35 AM
"Oh, if any of ya'll use anything more aggressive than mineral spirits, do please use the proper gloves."

Actually, many of the 'hotter' solvents are much safer then paint thinner (AKA 'Stoddard solvent').
Paint thinner is a witches brew of all sorts of similar boiling point petroleum products and is not pure anything.
Acetone (and even MEK) are significantly safer.
The chlorinated solvents tend to be pretty damaging (Trichloroethylene and trichloroethane).
The denaturant in denatured alcohol is the hazard. Long term exposure to methyl alcohol can cause problems (and it is the most common denaturant).

September 3, 2006, 01:24 PM
pour it into a container drop in the parts let them there a few days strain back into the gallon container.and repeat all for $15.00

September 3, 2006, 01:30 PM
I treat dirt/ grime/grease and barrel fouling as two seperate issues. For grease and grime most all the solutions mentioned work well. For lead and copper, I use a 50/50 mixture of rubbing alchol and hydrogen peroxide. Plug one end of the barrel and pour it in. Let it soak untill it quits bubbling. Heavily fouled barrels may require a second treatment.

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