Ronsonol Lighter Fluid as a Degreaser.


March 31, 2012, 04:36 AM
Hey guys, just thought I'd post another tip that I personally use.

What do I do when I want to strip the metal of old lube/grease when switching lubes (doesn't happen anymore, I'm dead-set on CLP) or doing a deep clean on barrels and slides?

I use Ronsonol. In my personal experience it leaves the metal in a bare, dry state (still has factory finish, though), and ready to accept a new coat.

I do this because I will strip bare the metal, and relube once every 3 months, mainly to pull whatever carbon the CLP has pulled out of the metal (from firing and what not).

Anyone else do the same?

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Larry Ashcraft
March 31, 2012, 05:59 AM
Been using it for years, except instead of buying the little cans of lighter fluid, I buy it by the quart (VM&P Naphtha). Much cheaper that way.

Naphtha won't harm any finish that I'm aware of. I've been using it to clean plaque plates and to remove adhesive residue for many years.

March 31, 2012, 06:09 AM
Glad to know I'm not the only one, lol. I've been using it because of it's ability to remove grease, (and I am a smoker and use a Zippo) it does the job quite well.

March 31, 2012, 06:12 AM
Will give the lighter fluid a shot. Up to this point I've been using rubbing alcohol.

March 31, 2012, 06:14 AM
Been using Coleman Fuel for decades (Naphtha)...

Everything from Jon-E handwarmers and Zippo lighters,
to degreasing and label removal...

March 31, 2012, 06:16 AM
I'm not sure of the price difference between rubbing alcohol and Ronsonal, but I use it because of my smoking and Zippo lighter.

It evaporates off the metal pretty fast, leaving a bare surface (the rag takes away whatever grease is on there) and does pretty well about taking away the skin oils from handling.

The Lone Haranguer
March 31, 2012, 07:19 AM
Rubbing alcohol still has water in it, the cheaper brands/grades having more of it.

MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) is a great degreaser, but has volatile fumes and will attack skin tissue.

March 31, 2012, 07:24 AM
Yea, rubbing alcohol has between 10 and 40% water in the mix. Denatured alcohol is water-free and does a great degreasing job. I might try lighter fluid next time I go to buy solvent. (I like the smell!) :D

March 31, 2012, 07:33 AM
The fumes from Lighter fluid aren't terrible, and the worse it'll do is cause minimal skin irritation.

March 31, 2012, 08:21 AM
For all intents and puposes, most lighter fluid available is Naphtha solvent. Instead of buying expensive lighter fluid, go to your local building supply or paint store and buy Naphtha in quart or gallon cans and save a few $$$. I have found this solvent to be an excellent cleaning product used in my work shop as a general degreaser. Please follow the safety instructions on the container...THR hates to lose good members.

March 31, 2012, 08:25 AM
Hm. I've been using acetone for a long time. Never thought of lighter fluid, but using the little spouty cans sounds a lot more convienient and safe.


Good tip!

Terry, 230RN

March 31, 2012, 08:28 AM
No problem. And really, it's good for firearm owners who also smoke and use Zippos. And a little goes a long way. As long as the rag is still moist with it, it still does its job.

March 31, 2012, 08:32 AM
I also use it to clean solvent and grime off my brushes, jags, and cleaning rods before I put them away.

March 31, 2012, 08:37 AM
Another good use ^^^ should've put that in the OP as well.

loose noose
March 31, 2012, 12:30 PM
Been using lighter fluid for years, in fact when I joined the Marine Corps back in 1965, that was what we used to clean our M-14, as ordered by our DI. We used some kind of oil in a little metal can (olive drab) after we thoroughly cleaned the weapon.

March 31, 2012, 03:14 PM
Well, glad that I'm not the first one to stumble upon this. lol

March 31, 2012, 06:22 PM
Arnold Jewell has always recommended cleaning his triggers with lighter fluid. They can usually be flushed from the top, right on the gun. No lube, just the lighter fluid.


March 31, 2012, 07:28 PM
Cheap cans of brake cleaner from wally world do it also and have that nice straw for pinpoint placement

March 31, 2012, 07:43 PM
MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) is a great degreaser, but has volatile fumes and will attack skin tissue.

MEK is some nasty stuff. It will eat or melt stuff you don't want melted or ate. MEK fumes will eat brain cells so follow precautions with the stuff.

Naptha is a good degreaser and I have used lighter fluid for cleaning up too.

March 31, 2012, 07:54 PM
Yea, rubbing alcohol has between 10 and 40% water in the mix

91% isopropyl works well, is cheap and available and not super flammable. A little water is not a bad thing to remove the salts from your handling the object.

March 31, 2012, 08:02 PM
Yup liter fluid = Naphtha

Alcohol? Go to the party store and buy Everclear. Virtually no water.

March 31, 2012, 08:07 PM
When using naphtha, are you using aliphatic naphtha or aromatic naphtha? Aromatic naphtha will attack certain plastics, and can be used to fuse Plexiglas.


March 31, 2012, 08:23 PM
MEK, acetone, and brake cleaner will melt many plastics and finishes. I have never had a firearm so nasty that any one of those were even considered.

March 31, 2012, 08:32 PM
Charcoal lighter fluid also does a great job. I bought a couple of Mosin-Nagant rifles a couple of months ago and they remove the cosmoline better than anything I've used in the past. It also dries quickly. I don't care to keep large amounts of solvents around the house so charcoal lighter fluid serves a dual purpose. As a cigar smoker, I don't miss my Zippos.

Sig Bill
March 31, 2012, 08:54 PM
How about mineral spirits? Any good?

March 31, 2012, 10:34 PM
I've never tried mineral spirits.

Ronsonol Lighter Fuel,
Naphtha, CAS #64742-89-8
Naphtha, CAS #142-82-5

Doesn't say if it's aliphatic or aromatic on the container. Maybe the CAS # will tell you something that I don't know.

March 31, 2012, 11:15 PM
Look on the side of your lighter fluid can, it should say, contents Naphtha, a Qt. of Naphtha like 13 buck, been using it for years...........

April 1, 2012, 12:17 AM
MEK is super nasty stuff. Place I used to work, we used it to recondition plastic parts, make them look like new, just held the parts in the vapors coming off the heated vat of it. Had to wear a really good respirator, gloves, and have really good exhaust.

Larry Ashcraft
April 1, 2012, 12:20 AM
a Qt. of Naphtha like 13 buck, been using it for years...........
About $7.50 a quart at Lowe's, but it was just a few years ago it was under $8 a gallon at the lumber yard. (Yes, I use a fair amount of it in my shop.)

April 1, 2012, 12:49 PM
CAS #64742-89-8 appears to be the aliphatic naphtha, or at least it contains benzene (or C6H6), and CAS #142-82-5 appears to be heptane, or C7H16; one step below octane(gasoline), or C8H18.

I'm no chemist, but "naphtha" seems to cover a wide range of petroleum distillate compounds all hovering around hexane, C6H14.

I can tell you this: If you put too much in your Zippo, it'll irritate the bejesus out of your leg right where you keep it in a pocket.


April 1, 2012, 06:01 PM
Yes, has happened before, but nowhere near as bad as other chemicals.

Chemistry Guy
April 1, 2012, 08:16 PM
I'm no chemist, but "naphtha" seems to cover a wide range of petroleum distillate compounds all hovering around hexane, C6H14

You are correct in that commercial production of the more common solvents are really just the fraction of petroleum that comes off the distillation column at a particular point. Naptha is pretty much just the range of hydrocarbons that have boiling points just over room temperature to several hundred degrees. It can be further divided into light, medium, and heavy naptha, with the most volatile being the lightest. Coleman camp fuel is a good example of light naptha, and it is a great solvent.

As far as the molecular composition, boiling point tends to increase with the number of carbon atoms in the molecule. For a given number of carbon atoms, the linear chain will have the greatest surface area and thus the highest boiling point, so branched chains or aliphatic (carbon atoms form 4 bonds) rings will have a lower boiling point than similar weighted straight chains. The addition of oxygen (as in ketones like acetone and MEK, ethers such as MTBE and diethyl ether, or alcohols methyl, ethyl, isopropyl, butyl, etc) typically increases the boiling point when compared to the hydrocarbon (hydrogen and carbon atoms only). Aromaticity is a bit more complex, but in general it refers to compounds with a ring that is planar rather than puckered, most commonly seen in benzene and its derivatives.

Mineral spirits are similar to a medium fraction of naptha. There is a lot of overlap when describing the various petroleum distillates.

April 1, 2012, 08:27 PM
I grew using Lighter fluid for degreasing guns or sewing machines. But I have been using Naptha since I got grow and since I dont smoke.

Owen Sparks
April 1, 2012, 08:28 PM
Naptha is a great cleaner, the problem is that it cleans so well that it strips off all the protective oil. As long as you follow it with a coat of gun oil it does a great job. Using it by itself is an invitation to rust. I use it with a "chaser" of Breakfree all the time.

April 1, 2012, 08:33 PM
I use it to strip old grease and lube off. I usually do this when I want to apply a fresh coat of lube.

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