Cosmoline Question


September 6, 2008, 02:16 PM
I'm not sure if this is the correct location for this post. I figured since so many shoot antique rifles, there may be some cosmoline knowledge here!

I'm planning on cleaning the cosmoline off of a yugo sks, and plan to use hot water and detergent on the metal parts. After you have dissolved the cosmoline in the water, where do you dump the water? Will the cosmoline gunk up the piping if it pour it down the sink?


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September 6, 2008, 02:20 PM
I have no idea on that one.
But there is this stuff you'll find at car parts stores called "parts buster" that works great for removing cosmoline from metal parts. It will literally liquify the stuff.
Might save you some work.

September 6, 2008, 08:10 PM
Use a heat gun (aka: significant other's blow dryer) and just hold it to some of the parts, it will begin to melt off. Thats How I do it.

September 6, 2008, 08:25 PM
It's no worse than any other sort of grease.

September 6, 2008, 08:29 PM
Yeah it won't be good for your sink. It might work in the toilet but even that might not be worth the risk. With mineral spirits I normally cover it in kitty litter and leave it to sit for a week, topping off if needed. It will slowly evaporate and I eventually bag it and trash it.

September 6, 2008, 08:48 PM
Put it in the oven. Wipe every 10 min with a mineral spirits soaked rag. For hard to reach places use a steam cleaner.

Type in cosmoline. Have fun.

Jeff F
September 6, 2008, 09:29 PM
Don't pour it down the sink. I would let it cool and try to collect it up and throw it in the garbage.

September 6, 2008, 09:32 PM
Hot water ought to work just fine. I have never tried that method myself, but folks that have tried it all seem to like the boiling hot water method moreso than the brake/oven cleaners, etc.

After you have dissolved the cosmoline in the water, where do you dump the water?
Greases aren't dissolved in water unless there is a detergent present. I know you mentioned using a detergent, but it shouldn't be necessary as long as you have some sort of vat/tank/other big container of boiling hot water to submerge the parts in. The temperature of the hot water will thin out the cosmoline so that it flows out of your gun and floats to the top, no detergent necessary. Pull out your gun parts with a pair of tongs and they ought to dry almost instantly and be free of grease. Wood stocks might take some scrubbing, etc., since they are porous.

If you're not dissolving the grease with a detergent, don't put it down the drain.


September 6, 2008, 09:40 PM
Elbow grease, rags, Break Free.

Mr White
September 6, 2008, 09:53 PM
Dump it in the neighbor's yard late at night. :D

September 6, 2008, 11:31 PM
I use cheap wal-mart wd-40 type lubricant. It works well and only costs $3. For hard to reach places I just blast it with the wd-40 and try to get it out with a brush or q-tip.

September 7, 2008, 12:28 AM
My namesake is petro based so watch out using heat sources. My first rifle was a Yugo M48 I set on fire while trying to clean the gunk off in an oven. I left it too long and it started spewing out black smoke. Took a long time to clean the oven.

For the metal parts extremely hot water is the best thing I've used. I mean near boiling. It will strip all the grease off at no cost. Then of course quickly dry and oil the parts. Detergents will work with scrubbing, but it's slower going. Getting it out of wood is the hard part. I've never had drain clog issues, but if you live back east where that's more of a problem due to ancient plumbing you can always use a plastic utility tub, secure the barrel and parts and then pour the water on them.

September 7, 2008, 01:14 AM
Get a can of carburetor or brake cleaner fluid. Saturate all the the parts. Wipe clean and do again. The let the bolt and whatever parts you get off set in mineral spirits for a day or so. Then flush agin with the brake fluid, let dry and lightly oil.

September 7, 2008, 02:34 AM
+1 on the brake/carb cleaner. I wouldn't do it on any other gun, but this gun in particular kind of has nothing to lose. I recommend two cans.

I had trouble over time getting ALL of it out of the front sight cavity and such places, but I think it's just because I was being lazy.

September 7, 2008, 10:33 AM
Remember to use eye protection with any aerosols. Getting solvents in your eye(s) is no fun at all.

September 7, 2008, 10:52 AM
Remember to use eye protection with any aerosols. Getting solvents in your eye(s) is no fun at all.

+100000 i got break cleaner in my eye the other night, had to listen to the wife laugh and ask why i didnt have my saftey glasses on as a sit at the sink for 15 mins flushing my eye out.

for the record break cleaner burns pretty bad when its in your eye;)

September 7, 2008, 10:56 AM
Brake cleaner is safer than Carb cleaner, Carb cleaner is extremly flammable

September 7, 2008, 02:15 PM
Carb and brake cleaner both cost more than boiling water, stink to high heaven, require more caution than "hot water is hot" and introduce all manner of interesting chemical compounds to the environment.

Be green, melt cosmolene with hot water.

September 7, 2008, 02:54 PM
That's right. You DO NOT need to use industrial solvents. It's pointless and nasty. Try the very hot water method with a big tea kettle and the metal parts on a rack. The cosmoline, once it becomes hot, will literally melt away with the water.

General Geoff
September 7, 2008, 02:57 PM
hot water and/or steam is definitely the best method

September 7, 2008, 07:26 PM
I know where MY WIFE stands on letting me cook guns over her stove. Not gonna happen.

I have formed the habit of wearing the safety shields that were issued to me over prescription glasses as sunglasses, absolutely wear something over your eyes when using aerosols.

September 7, 2008, 07:45 PM
I just boil the water, take the pot outside, and flush the gun with it in my driveway. I don't even use detergent, you'll be suprised how fast the boiling water melts that gunk away. It also is completely safe and helps to sweat it out of the stock with no damage, raising the dings and dents out at the same time.

September 7, 2008, 09:18 PM
I find mineral spirits work quite well in dissolving cosmoline. Just don't get it on the stock or use it if the gun is painted (like some Enfields are).

September 7, 2008, 09:26 PM
Boiling water and orange cleaner worked a miracle on the cosmoline! After I scrubbed in the water and citrus cleanerl, I soaked the parts in mineral spirits. They all came out spotless.

The stock is a totally different story! I hit it with a heat gun repeatedly and sweated the stuff out. It is amazing how much cosmoline gets soaked up.

So now my question is what parts need lubrication and how much do they need??

September 7, 2008, 09:31 PM
Anyone ever try simple green?

September 7, 2008, 09:52 PM
For lubrication, liberally spray everything metal down in a coat of clp, let it sit 2 hours, wipe it down, respray, reassemble, then wipe the excess off the outside. There's nothing fancy about lubrication on an sks or ak.

September 7, 2008, 11:40 PM
+1 on boiling parts that fit in pot. Its cheap and instant! No more worries about that firing pin this way. Use tongs to remove parts and oil and reassembly. Then do the wood stock by itself in oven, at a lower heat temp to move the "sweating" and wiping off along. Search for cosmo stuff on surplus rifles, tons of guides out there.

Be cautious if you use a true heat gun, its ummm, possible to overheat the wood pretty easy.

September 8, 2008, 08:40 AM
I know this will raise some eyebrows, but it worked really well on the stock. My 91/30 Mosin looked as though it had been kept in a vat of Cosmoline, I tried most of the remedies posted above, but the goo still was in the wood. Finally, in desperation a guy told me that gasoline melts the stuff. I went to the local parts store and purchased a pack of rags, then out in the back yard soaked one with the gas I use for the lawnmower. This really pulled the Cosmoline out of the wood. I went through a dozen foot x foot squares, but the end result was great. You will need to neutralize the gasoline, but any household cleaner will do fine. The proof is when you take a piece of sandpaper to the stock. Unless all the cosmoline is gone the paper will quickly gum up. If its gone all you get is fine wood dust.


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 8, 2008, 05:32 PM
I thought you were going to ask, what gift to get Cosmoline for his birthday. :)

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