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Alternative case cleaning methods

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by eldon519, Mar 3, 2010.

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  1. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

    Jul 21, 2005

    I live in an apartment without much outdoor or semi-finished living space, and I am searching for an alternative method to clean my brass rather than my case tumbler. I've read that fine lead particulate tends to gather in the area of tumbling and especially sifting out the media. Since I have to do this all inside, I'd rather not go down this road.

    I was considering trying to do a cleaning with fluids which I could just perform in the tub. Maybe a milk jug full of soapy water?

    Anyway, does anyone have a method that might fit the bill? I've seen some commercially available liquid cleaners, but they tend to be pretty pricey.
  2. CoastiesDad

    CoastiesDad Member

    Feb 5, 2010
    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
    I tried and liked this solution: 1 cup of water, 1 cup vinegar, a squirt of dish soap and a table spoon of lemon juice. I put my brass in this solution in a tupperware tub shaking occassionally for 24 hours. Rinse with clear water, bake in oven 175 degres for a 1/2 hr to dry. It does not come out shiney new but it does come out clean.
  3. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    El Paso, TX
    You can get fair results from a liquid cleaner called "Awesome", available at the Dollar General stores. It's a very strong soap.

    Add about a cup to a gallon of hot water, and dump the brass in. Theck progress every ten minutes until the desired cleanness is achieved. Rinse thoroughly in hot water, and dry thoroughly, in the manner previously suggested.

    A better result obtains if the brass is deprimed before cleaning.

    You are wise to avoid tumble cleaning indoors; even outdoors, a lot of lead accumulates in the tumbling media, and it spreads everywhere when the media is poured from the tumbler into a storage container. :eek: I do this when there's a good breeze, to partially clean the media. I have no close neighbors, so the lead isn't a threat to anyone.
  4. jcwit

    jcwit Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Great state of Indiana
    Here we go with the lead scare again. Way overblown. We should be so concerned with drunk drivers and people using cell phones and texting.

    Yes, I've been a caster for over 40 years, and have been tumbling brass for 15 years now. Indoors BTW. Do I get my heavy metals tested? Yup, 3 times a year when I have my blood work done.

    Cautions to take? No eating, drinking, smoking makes no difference as that will get you anyway. And last but not least, wash, wash, wash.

    I will add that an apartment is probably not a good location for a tumbler tho.
  5. woods

    woods Member

    Aug 15, 2009
    Hey eldon, a fellow Houstonian huh?

    I gave my tumbler away to a kid starting to reload because I found a way to clean that I like better. This is the way my cases look after cleaning and loading

    I use a Lee Zip Trim



    mounted on a piece of 2x4 and clamped in my bench vise. With it I can trim with the Lee trimmers

    then chamfer. Then I spread some Flitz along the case and spread with one of those sponges that come in the top of a Barnes bullet box

    hold a rag against it and spin again and it will come out clean and polished

    Also clean the inside of the neck with Scotchbrite or steel wool around a 22 caliber brush

    I can do 50 cases in about an hour
  6. gearheadpyro

    gearheadpyro Member

    Sep 3, 2009
    Charleston, SC
    That seems like a lot of work to clean cases, they sure are shiny though woods.

    I run my tumbler in my townhouse without worries. Through a drier sheet in the media and it sucks up most of the dust (which is what carries the lead).
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