Gun Scrubber, Engine Degreaser and Carb. Cleaner all the same?


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Zerstoerer
October 23, 2010, 12:42 AM
A friend of mine is saying that you can save a lot of money by using Carburetor Cleaner or Engine Degreaser in lie of Gun Scrubber or other specialized gun solvents.

Any truth to that? The cans do not show the ingredients, I have used carburetor cleaner before just to clean dirty copper cleaning brushed before and they sure look new after a blast.
Birchwood gun scrubber cost 6 to 7 bucks at the local Wal Mart carburetor cleaner is a buck seventy seven.
To good to be true or are we wasting money on the same product in a different can?

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Fleet
October 23, 2010, 01:15 AM
I use brake cleaner...lots cheaper than gun scrubber.
Carb cleaner can be hard on some plastics, and either will make short work of an o-ring.
Unlike carb cleaner, brake cleaner leaves no residue.

Racinbob
October 23, 2010, 09:43 AM
Brake cleaner works great. Make sure you get the non-clorinated. It's safe for polymer. I can't tell the difference from the expensive gun scrubbers.

rcmodel
October 23, 2010, 12:41 PM
+1 on cheap brake cleaner.

Carb cleaner is much too caustic to use on guns, as it will really do a number on many stock finishes and some plastics.

I don't know about engine cleaner as it costs too much to try it compared to generic brake cleaner.

Another good alternative to Gun Scrubber is good old WD-40.
It works very well to hose out gunk, and is harmless to anything on a gun.

rc

natman
October 23, 2010, 01:02 PM
Gun scrubber and brake cleaner are similar. They evaporate quickly and take oil with them. There is a special gun scrubber formula now that is safe for camo guns.

Carb cleaner is quite different. It dissolves gum and doesn't evaporate nearly as quickly as brake cleaner. It is useful on guns only on very limited applications, since many wood finishes are affected by it. (BTW, Gumout brand carb cleaner is great for cleaning tape residue.)

In either case work with plenty of ventilation.

Varob
October 23, 2010, 01:24 PM
I don't know about break and carb cleaners, but my Gunsmith uses an automotive parts cleaner with all the gun parts he works on. It's the kind with the tub on top of a barrel and it pumps the fluid thru a scrub brush.

jimmyraythomason
October 23, 2010, 01:39 PM
Carb cleaner is much too caustic to use on guns, as it will really do a number on many stock finishes and some plastics.
My cleaners of all types have no effect on stock finishes because I always clean with the stock off. The cleaners never come into contact with the finish. No problem there. As for carburator cleaner,I have found it to be less effective as a cleaner,carburators often contain plastic cams and links than seemingly aren't harmed by carb cleaner. Carburators are coated with a sealant to prevent gasoline from seeping through the body over time. Brake cleaner will dissolve this coating but carb cleaner wont. Zerstoerer,you have been a member here since 2005 and haven't seen the many discussions on this topic before? Strange....

Mac's Precision
October 23, 2010, 04:37 PM
I use a solvent tank with Stoddard solvent in it for most cleaning. I like the solvent tank as it has a pump and a filter. It allows me to flush large volumes of solvent through actions and wash away gunk. If parts are very waxy I can put them in a wire basket and soak them in the solvent.

On some applications where I just need a blast of cleaning and don't desire to get the entire part wet I use non chlorinated brake cleaner. Using carb cleaner on some applications might be fine but you need to be aware of the risks of damaging finishes etc. It works fine when cleaning out ports on a compensator or gas blocks / tubes as it dissolves carbon and gunk quite well. That being said be aware if the part is painted or uses some of the new tech spray and bake gun coatings. Carb cleaner may eat those or at least soften the finish. Carb cleaner WILL destroy rubber grips, painted stocks as well as traditional wood varnishes etc.

Alternately you can use concentrated Simple Green and HOT water as a general cleaner. Simply spray and rinse followed by compressed air to dry. Simple green, like good solvents, strips ALL lubes and surface protection off the metal parts so reapplying rust prevention ASAP is critical.

As always, safety first when using solvents and spray cleaners. Adequate ventilation and no smoking are good recommendations as well as skin protection might be prudent. Some brake cleaners will dry and defat the skin quickly. If you expose your hands to brake clean or solvent in excess; the symptoms are tingly skin, redness, itching and possibly blisters on the back of the hands and between fingers. Apply a good hand lotion as a remedy to replace the oils you washed out of the skin.

Blue mechanic's gloves are a good choice and I use them daily when spending any time in the solvent tank. Solvents can and DO permeate the skin and long exposure will leave you stinky for days. I advocate the use of gloves when ever possible. Your hands will thank you. No it probably won't give you cancer, or make your fingers rot off but dry hands and that stink of solvent gets old.

natman
October 23, 2010, 05:25 PM
P.S.

Engine cleaner is different from both brake cleaner and carb cleaner. It is used on HEAVILY oily or greasy surfaces and washed off with water.

I can't think of any uses for it as far as guns are concerned.

jimmyraythomason
October 23, 2010, 05:40 PM
Engine cleaner is different from both brake cleaner and carb cleaner. Exactly!I can't think of any uses for it as far as guns are concerned. Nor can I and would not attempt it myself.

Fleet
October 23, 2010, 05:44 PM
P.S.

Engine cleaner is different from both brake cleaner and carb cleaner. It is used on HEAVILY oily or greasy surfaces and washed off with water.

I can't think of any uses for it as far as guns are concerned.
I can think of one, but haven't tried it so I don't know if it works or not....anything still in cosmoline like some of the SKS's that are around. Anybody have any experience here?

jimmyraythomason
October 23, 2010, 05:46 PM
I use unscented mineral spirits (paint reducer)to remove cosmoline even from the stocks.

CHEVELLE427
October 23, 2010, 05:56 PM
cheep break cleaner and MOBIL 1 0wt oil for moving parts, rem oil for rust proof or RUSTY'S RAGS found here on THR. IF YOU HAVE NOT,
ASKED FOR A SAMPLE YOU NEED TO DO SO

seems to work great

bracer
October 27, 2010, 08:20 AM
Whenever I have purchased a used firearm ,the stock is removed and the action is cleaned out with brake or carb cleaner followed by cleaning the barrel. The carb cleaner my also help removing the burent powder in the barrel. It an eazy way to clean out the trigger housing in Remington style triggers befor adjusting the trigger pull weight.

jcwit
October 27, 2010, 08:46 AM
I use GumOut for cleaning the carbon out of the actions. Even gets the carbon ring out of a 357 revolver chamber that has had 38's fired in it.

Other than that, Ed's red, and drippings of Mobil 1 from the new bottles from last oil change.

Maj Dad
October 27, 2010, 10:07 PM
I've tried several over the years and have settled on Prestone Brake Cleaner for cleaning & degreasing. Some of them are hygroscopic it seems, but Prestone works very well & is much cheaper than Gun Scrubber & that ilk.

amlevin
October 28, 2010, 11:07 AM
Some Brake Cleaners include Acetone in their active ingredients which can harm stock finishes and plastic.

The Brand Name is not as important as the ingredients find themselves in many different cans with many different names. A $1.50 can of Brake Clean can have exactly the same formula inside as the $4 can with a Big Brand name on it.

I buy a case of cheap brake-clean a couple of times a year for around $1.50 per can and just avoid the ones with acetone. Most use 111Trichlorethane as the main degreaser. Good ventilation and nitrile gloves are a must but it sure gets rid of the grease. Stoddard solvent is good to take off heavy oil and grease or cosmoline but to get down to metal that can be blued, brake clean is great.

oldbanjo
October 28, 2010, 11:29 AM
I've always used brake cleaner to flush AC sys on Autos and Tractor Trailers, it's cheap and does a good job. Also use it to check for leaks on the intake side of carburetors on Autos and Motorcycles.

zoom6zoom
October 28, 2010, 02:07 PM
The cans do not show the ingredients
If you look up the Material Safety Data Sheet, it will tell you what's in them.

http://www.msdssearch.com/

jimmyraythomason
October 28, 2010, 02:12 PM
oldbanjo, odorless mineral spirits is a far safer(for the system) flush for A/C and refrigeration systems than brake cleaner. I don't know of any brake cleaner in liquid form and liquid is a must for flushing A/C systems.

amlevin
October 28, 2010, 04:31 PM
Brake cleaner is available from CRC in gallons or even 5 gallon cans. Check any parts house. Other brands too. It is definitely available in liquid, not just aerosol.

I have used it in a sure-shot sprayer where you pour in about 1-1/2 pints, pressurize with compressed air and then hose down your parts.

jimmyraythomason
October 28, 2010, 04:37 PM
I've never used the liquid (never even looked for it)as the aerosol is so convenient. I use brake cleaner in a LOT of places but would never used it inside an A/C or refrigeration system. I don't know how a gallon of odorless mineral spirits compares cost wise with a gallon of brake cleaner.

russ45
October 28, 2010, 05:35 PM
Most brake cleaners have more acetone-like solvents than gun scrubber or break free. Be careful with all of it on finishes. I have had brake cleaner streak where break free did not. I have not yet tried the synthetic stuff but intend to. Besides, what's a couple of bucks anyway?

Turn Key
October 28, 2010, 10:36 PM
Sorry, but I've got to call BS on Brake Cleaners & Guns.

Sure I've done it, but outside and had to have one Glock re-Tenifered (sp) due to the extreme chemicals leaving a dull finish.

Just buy a large bottle of CLP Breakfree and toss out all but your bore cleaner.

CLP Breakree is the preferred product in Smyrna, GA at Glock by their technicians.

TK

jimmyraythomason
October 29, 2010, 05:39 AM
Sorry, but I've got to call BS on Brake Cleaners & Guns.
Sure,you can do that if you want. It doesn't change the fact that brake cleaners work great on guns as long as you use a little common sense(and costs less too). CLP Breakree is the preferred product in Smyrna, GA at Glock by their technicians. But it's not My preferred product for MY guns.

sthrnstrong
October 29, 2010, 06:26 AM
I have never tried GumOut or anything else but bore cleaners. It maybe a dumb question but what are thoughts using GumOut or WD-40 to clean my SRH .454 with the grey matte finish? It gets pretty good carbon rings when firing 45 colts. Will these other cleaners be safe on the matte finish?

jimmyraythomason
October 29, 2010, 06:31 AM
WD-40 will do a very good job cleaning and wont harm the matte finish. I've never used Gumout except as a gasoline treatment to clean injectors.

GRIZ22
October 29, 2010, 08:44 AM
Sorry, but I've got to call BS on Brake Cleaners & Guns.

Sure I've done it, but outside and had to have one Glock re-Tenifered (sp) due to the extreme chemicals leaving a dull finish.



I'm not sure of what brake cleaner you used but CRC in the red can is the same as Gunscrubber (tetrachloroethylene 127-14-?). I went to a seminar sponsored by Glock and they recommended Gunscrubber. You didn't damage the tenifer which is harder than an industrial diamond. Tenifer is silver and is covered by a blackening which will wear and will be made dull by Gunscrubber due to the fact it removes ALL lubricant. Wipe the slide down with Breakfree and the blackening will look like new.

ScottC
November 6, 2010, 11:12 PM
I clean my weapons at the range and use, believe it or not, rubbing alcohol. Years ago, I started using Sentry Solutions and they recommended alcohol cause it evaporates and leaves no residue after cleaning. If you wait a while, I could see that it could be bad. I had a buddy of mine that had a Recon 45 and Gun Scrubber took the lettering right off of the slide of the gun!

ScottC
November 6, 2010, 11:15 PM
WD-40 is flammable. Just don't forget to get it all off your weapon. Personally I wouldn't use it but to each his own.

jimmyraythomason
November 7, 2010, 07:02 AM
WD-40 is flammable. Just don't forget to get it all off your weapon. Personally I wouldn't use it but to each his own. Have you ever seen a gun or anything else ignite because it had WD-40 on it?

JNewell
November 7, 2010, 11:49 AM
I use brake cleaner a lot because it's cheap, but I have also found that GunScrubber does a much, much better job on gas-operated shotgun pistons and related parts. It cuts the crud a lot more effectively.

JNewell
November 7, 2010, 11:51 AM
I wouldn't use WD-40 on the inside of a gun unless I flushed it all out, but I have been using it on the outside of guns for more than 40 years and have never had even distant early warning of a problem with wiping down exterior surfaces using a cloth with WD-40 on it.

Chas.
November 8, 2010, 07:54 AM
WD-40 is flammable. Just don't forget to get it all off your weapon. Personally I wouldn't use it but to each his own.
WD-40 used to use propane as a propellant and yes, it was flamable. It's my understanding, although I haven't tried it, that the propellant was changed to a non-flammable.

geigersd
November 8, 2010, 10:11 AM
I would use brake cleaner vs. carb cleaner due to the effect on plastic parts, if I had a gun that contained plastic:neener:

My method is more traditional though. A bottle of Hoppes #9 and a toothbrush. It's like taking a shower with your sweetheart, lovingly cleaning all the parts by hand.....:what:


:rolleyes:

ScottC
November 9, 2010, 07:58 PM
I just looked at a can today. The first warning of many is 'Contents are flammable'. I have heard of people using Simply Green to clean weapons but it takes everything off and is almost as expensive as most traditional cleaners.

jimmyraythomason
November 9, 2010, 08:09 PM
The first warning of many is 'Contents are flammable'. Yes it is and so is Birchwood Casey's Gun Scrubber,from the MSDS,<2. HAZARDS IDENTIFICATION
EMERGENCY OVERVIEW: Warning! Flammable. May be harmful if swallowed. Keep away from sparks and open flames. Containers involved in fire may explode. Irritating to eyes, skin, upper respiratory tract.>Simply Green to clean weapons but it takes everything off If by "everything" you mean all lubrication,yes it does just like every other degreaser.

ScottC
November 10, 2010, 05:46 AM
Hoppes #9 and a toothbrush

Nothing wrong with that, just make such it's not your toothbrush, otherwise that shower with your sweetheart probably won't be happening.

On a serious note though, I use a brush much like you're talking about but mine is made for it by Kleen Bore. The main advantage is that it has a smaller single row of bristles on the other side to get into those pesky rails on my Glock 22 then finish it off with a Q-tip.

JNewell
November 10, 2010, 03:33 PM
I just looked at a can today. The first warning of many is 'Contents are flammable'. I have heard of people using Simply Green to clean weapons but it takes everything off and is almost as expensive as most traditional cleaners.

The formulation may have changed, or there may be versions for which this isn't true, but the original Simple Green was evil stuff for aluminum and should never be used to clean components like aluminum frames, receivers or trigger guards.

jimmyraythomason
November 10, 2010, 03:38 PM
but the original Simple Green was evil stuff for aluminum I used Simple Green from the mid 1980s until I retired in 2009 to clean aluminum and copper refrigeration coils and A/C condensors and evaporators. Never harmed them or belts or hoses or electrical components. It is a very good cleaner for such things. I don't use it on firearms because it costs more than brakekleen. I do use it on my truck's aluminum wheels though.

JNewell
November 10, 2010, 07:51 PM
The US Army and Air Force have issued repeated prohibitions over the years against using Simple Green on aircraft. Here's a sample link: https://www.logsa.army.mil/psmag/archives/PS2000/573/573-35.pdf It says, in part:

It is highly corrosive on aircraft aluminum. It also makes high-strength aircraft alloys brittle. If your unit is using SIMPLE GREEN as an aircraft wash, STOP!

I have personally seen a SIG P226 frame damaged by Simple Green.

jimmyraythomason
November 10, 2010, 08:00 PM
I'll be sure not to use it on any aircraft but will continue to use it on my wheels and A/C condensors.

JNewell
November 10, 2010, 08:19 PM
It gets better :D Check this link: http://www.simplegreen.com/solutions_faqs.php?search_query=aluminum

I would not use it to clean a gun without a very thorough rinse, and I would strongly urge not soaking aluminum parts in it, as mentioned. It can damage or remove the anodizing on aluminum if left in a strong SG solution, which will also remove the hard surface coating that protects against wear.

jimmyraythomason
November 10, 2010, 08:21 PM
Or how about this one instead <http://www.simplegreen.com/pdfs/08A_msds_pwc_multi-purpose.pdf>

jimmyraythomason
November 10, 2010, 08:30 PM
I don't use it on guns either but not because it is harmful to the gun. There are dozens of Simple Green cleaning products for specific applications. Use a general purpose or multi-purpose (properly diluted per instructions) by SG with confidence. Use it or don't,it's up to you.

One-Time
November 10, 2010, 08:45 PM
Non/Un-chlorinated Brake Cleaner works great, just make sure you relube appropriately as it of course de lubes the rifle/gun

Drail
November 10, 2010, 09:31 PM
We seem to have some real chemical junkies here. I have cleaned hundreds of firearms for at least 25 years with nothing but a bottle of non aerosol Breakfree CLP and an M 16 brush. You guys are overthinking this. You don't need all that aerosol stuff.

jimmyraythomason
November 10, 2010, 09:40 PM
You don't need all that aerosol stuff. I personally use brakekleen or odorless mineral spirits for cleaning. I will also use hot soapy water. I have also used a LOT of different cleaner/degreasers for many different jobs over the last 40 years. With few exceptions they have all been safe and effective. I do avoid cleaners containing lye or alkaline or any acids.

ScottC
November 11, 2010, 06:59 AM
Like I said before, the only thing I have ever used is straight rubbing alcohol. Yes it is flammable but I let my weapon cool down, if it ever gets hot. I then leave the parts disassembled until they dry. I then finish off with Sentry Solutions. I started using it when I was in Desert Storm and will use it till I die or the plant that makes it falls down!

I have a Glock that has over 70,000 rounds through it and have never had to replace anything. I have replaced the springs twice but only cause it is a carry weapon.

I could actually just blow the gun out after shooting and not worry about any fouling or powder. However, you never know when the next time that you will actually need a weapon, so I clean mine every time.

There are plenty ways to get to the LZ, I just like mine!:D

jimmyraythomason
November 11, 2010, 07:32 AM
There are plenty ways to get to the LZ, I just like mine! And that's just how it SHOULD be.

bubbinator
November 12, 2010, 02:43 AM
FYI-My Father-in-Law recently died of liver problems. His doctor, familiar with militray vets, determined is demise was from contact with artillery cleaning materials, like benzene, used in WW II. All these products discussed above carry warnings. I just sent a pistol back to S&W for warrany issues and the Tech Support guys touted CLP as the product of choice.

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