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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just thought I'd share my little screw-up for your amusement:

A procedure I do NOT recommend

  1. Carefully pour acetone into a disposable plastic cup until about 1/3 full. Not too full, you don't want to spill or waste anything...
  2. Take old toothbrush that you've already used to clean bike parts and scrub it in acetone to remove any residual grease
  3. Smile to self as grease comes off easily - wow, acetone works great!
  4. Smile fades as you notice weird gooey stuff building up on toothbrush - realize it is the cup rapidly dissolving
  5. Swear loudly as you run into house looking for a glass jar that you should have used in step 1.
  6. Attempt to pour contents of plastic cup into glass jar - realize plastic cup is mysteriously empty
  7. Notice that plastic cup is no longer attached to it's bottom
  8. Observe pool of acetone spreading across table - now melting toothbrush and nearby screwdriver handle
  9. Swear some more
  10. Grab paper towels and clean up big mess
  11. Throw everything away

Note to self: Acetone melts certain plastics rather quickly.

What I was trying to do, for those that care, was prep some alloy surfaces (a FSA carbon crank arm) prior to applying loctite 641. Previously, they were (incorrectly) covered with grease which I had already removed with Simple Green. I was going to use the Acetone to get the last bit of greasy film off so that the loctite would stick better.

At least I didn't spill/drip any acetone on my cranks (arms). It never occurred to me that it could ruin the finish. I haven't tested this theory, but based on my recent experience, I'm not about to try.

I knew acetone was strong (so I was wearing gloves), I didn't realize it could eat through a plastic cup in less than 30 seconds. Amazing.

BTW: Anyone have any suggestions on how to clean such parts with Acetone now? I'll probably try q-tips next so that I can keep the acetone away from the carbon finish. Some have suggested rubbing alcohol instead, but I'd read that Acetone was a better degreaser for use prior to applying loctite. Clearly it can melt plastics faster!

Cheers,

George
 

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Just a flesh wound
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WD40 on a rag works great. Really, it does. It gets rid of grease and grime without ruining paint. Just keep it off the discs and pads.
 

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Prophet Julio said:
WD40 on a rag works great. Really, it does. It gets rid of grease and grime without ruining paint. Just keep it off the discs and pads.
You also need to keep it away from bearing, fork and shock seals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Berkley said:
What the devil do you need acetone for? I agree, it's some nasty ****. Degreaser and isopropyl alcohol are all I've ever needed.
Just so you don't think I'm totally crazy...

Some have recommended acetone as prep prior to using loctite 641:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/661122-Clicking-BB30

Obviously, you need to be more careful with it than I was!
 

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jtmartino said:
Acetone + styrofoam/plastic = homemade napalm.

edit: or was that gasoline and styrofoam? :)
I believe its gas and styrofoam or gas and certain types of bar soap.

I didnt think acetone was ALL that nasty. I work with it all the time in Organic Lab, there have been multiple things that are worse
 

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Acetone's not nasty, it doesn't tolerate disrespect, but it's not nasty.

I second (third?) using Isopropyl Alcohol. Acetone's for thinning paint, blasting out of blowtorches and treating epilepsy, not very good for cleaning.
 

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I like alcohol as a cleaner too (keeping a spray bottle full was one of the best mechanic tips I've ever received) but it just doesn't seem to cut it for really greasy stuff or to work quickly enough either. For nastier stuff I use odorless mineral spirits, either on a rag for most parts or in a sealed container for soaking other parts, as it isn't as nasty as acetone and evaporates like acetone and alcohol.
 

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Berkley said:
What the devil do you need acetone for? I agree, it's some nasty ****. Degreaser and isopropyl alcohol are all I've ever needed.
Key ingredient in nail polish remover. If you have wife, daughter, girlfriend or are a bit goth, you already have a bottle or two in your house.
 

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Diesel fuel works wonders, or kerosene, which is almost identical. I like the smell of diesel fuel, especially after it has been sent through a good engine, but I don't care for my hands smelling like it for long periods of time.

For really nasty chains and the like, I use Dawn Direct Foam and an old toothbrush. Works very well, is cheap, a little bit goes a long way, clean up is easy, and the wife gets pissed when I wash diesel down the kitchen sink. With the Dawn, she never even knows.
 

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Berkley said:
What the devil do you need acetone for? I agree, it's some nasty ****. Degreaser and isopropyl alcohol are all I've ever needed.
"degreaser" can refer to a lot of different chemicals, but most of these need to be rinsed off after use otherwise they will leave residue and break down greases applied afterwards. Hence the desire for something like acetone that naturally evaporates with no appreciable residue, like what most people know alcohol as being good for too. Mineral spirits does a decent job of this too, as does kerosene, without being quite as nasty as acetone.

Another plus to these solvents over many standard degreasers is that you can filter out the junk and reuse the solvent if you're using it for things like soaking a chain in a jar
 

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Underskilled
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If you think acetone is good, try petroleum ether. Much better stuff, just wish I could buy it now I no longer work in a lab.
 

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As one person pointed out, its the main ingredient in some fingernail polish removers.

In science class years ago, we had about 1/2 cup of acetone in a jar, and stuffed thousands of styrofoam peanuts into the jar. It dissolved about a cubic yard of them, leaving behind a nasty blob of petroleum byproduct about the size of one peanut.

and it smells good to!
 

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Hi.
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jeffw-13 said:
Get yourself a can of brake cleaner at the local auto parts store.
Just don't get any overspray on any plastic or rubber parts. I had some brake cleaner overspray onto my stereo and it ate some big holes in the plastic housing.
 

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jeffscott said:
You also need to keep it away from bearing, fork and shock seals.
Why is that? I was in the understanding that WD40 lubricates more than degreases. It has some solvent too hard?

My brother just sprays all over any part of his bike that needs lubricating. I usually use Finish Line lubs on the chain and pretty much that's it until is sent to major maintenance to the LBS.
 
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