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Parts washer fluid

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I have a Harbor Freight parts washer.  It works fine, for what it is intended, but I am wondering about the cleaning fluid.  I used 10 gal. of HET, 1501 (it really needs 15 gal. to reach the pump (but, not necessary).  Here's the trouble.  The fluid evaporates RAPIDLY.  The fluid costs about $50 per 5 gal can.  What would you propose - kero?

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I have a similar but smaller HF parts washer.  I bit the bullet and emptied my wallet for 5 gallons of Ozzy Juice fluid.  I really like the fact that it's non-flammable and not nasty to work with. Hate the cost.

My washer rarely gets used, maybe once every couple of months-- that stuff has sat in there almost 5 years now and hardly any has evaporated with the lid down.  It has loosened some of the crappy HF paint and I just chalked that up to it being HF paint.  The pump was already killed by the previous fluid or just being a HF product (can't even remember what that first fluid was--likely a petroleum-based degreaser) so I can't say whether the Ozzy Juice was pump-compatible.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, if I want to use the recirculating pump, I would have to put about 15 gals. in the parts washer.  But, then again, I really don't need the recirculation feature, not, do I need the $150 price tag the fluids would cost.  I priced kerosene, but the $45/gal. price scared me off.  Still looking.


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Try "Stoddard solvent". I did a quick search and most hits offer prices by the 100ton lots so I skipped them.  Alibaba seems to offer by the drum but they'll quote you prices via. email so I skimmed on.  I haven't looked in a parts, paint or industrial hardware but 5 gl. buckets used to be common. 

Do a search and see if it'll do what you need. It's what we used in parts washers as far back as I remember and it worked a treat. It doesn't evaporate quickly and isn't particularly flammable, IIRC less than kerosene. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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6 hours ago, GMoore said:

  I priced kerosene, but the $45/gal. price scared me off.  Still looking.

Is this a typo? Diesel fuel at the local gas station is under$4.00 a gal. Do you mean $45 to fill up the parts washer?



Edited by pnut
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I use paint thinner. (Mineral spirits) my parts washer is 40 gallons and it has worked out to be the cheapest way of doing it. 

Sadly the best way to go is the oil eaters.  Then there is no harmful waste products.. Well that is at least the hype.   it also has some anti rusting agents in it. 

The mineral spirits when new was really nice because I could wash a part that needed to be welded, wash it, dry it and within an hour of so it would be ready to weld with no contaminants. 

Now I have some brake cleaner that snuck into the parts cleaner so it's a big no, no. 

Now I have to degrease/clean.  Then air dry, then blow dry, then simple green.  then air dry and then with a heat gun give it a preheat to get rid of the water. Then weld. 

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I just got done replacing the rusted out, steel reservoir in our System One industrial washer, it took me all day Friday. (I wonder if I have a picture.)


(It's gets no respect, I tell ya.) Today I finished reinstalling all the plumbing and putting the solvent back in. We pay something like $50.oo a gallon for that solvent and it gets regular service from our vendor. So when it started leaking out all over the floor, we had the business owner start calling around. He found a replacement tank made from $tainless steel.  Real nicely tig welded tank, the old tank was mild steel, and condensation slowly ate through it everywhere, leaving rusty pinholes.


Those rusty colored spots on the left of the motor are all pinholes. I have no idea what formula of solvent they use though. It functions well for cleaning parts, and dries by the end of the day if left alone. Brake parts cleaner is way different! Fast drying, harsh, no lubricity.

I would try mineral spirits, which can no longer be bought in this messed up state.

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