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What Cleaning Fluid?

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Hi there

I am looking for some advice as to what 'quick and easy' watch cleaning fluid people use.

As a pet project, I've bought a non working Seiko from evilbay to strip down put back together so it doesn't matter if it gets trashed (obviously I'll try NOT to trash it). Rather than getting some cleaning product off ebay (which, after buying all the tools I need seems quite an additional expense to go to if I have no idea if when I put it back together it'll work again), is there anything I can get from the local DIY store that would have a similar cleaning ability? I understand meths provides good results but as it's alcohol based will dissolve the shellac that the jewels sit in.

Also, how do dials that sit behind glass get so dirty? The one I have appears very stained but by what, I don’t know. Until I open it up I don’t know if these stains are permanent – again, any advice on what to clean the dial with would be appreciated.

Many thanks.

Chris

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There are proprietary brands of cleaning fluids but some folks use lighter fluid. This cleans but does not lubricate. Once the movement is cleaned, it needs to be stripped to reach the lubrication points. See if you can get hold of a De Carle book or two for hints and tips. They may be old but so are most mechanical watches. The principles still apply.

Mike

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Hi Tixntox. I use lighter fluid in a home made mechanical cleaner which works on the same motor driven vibration principle as the cheap jewellery cleaners on e-bay. I find lighter fluid effective but it does leave a tiny amount of residue so I use a very diluted water based bicycle degreaser after to cut through this residue (especially important on hairsprings) The problem you will find with experimenting with non specific cleaning fluids is that some can tarnish pivots and create friction. I only clean the train wheels in lighter fluid and then I gently push the pivots (taking care not to damage the wheels) into Rodico. I've screwed watches in the past experimenting with things like nail varnish remover.

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Other than cost, I have no idea why you guys use lighter fluid (which does leave a residue), when you can easily buy non-flammable Horolode:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Watch-Degreaser-Cleaning-Fluid-500ml-can-of-Horolode_W0QQitemZ220551942490QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Jewellery_Watches_WatchAccessories_SpareParts_SM?hash=item3359eb915a#ht_2349wt_914

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Other than cost, I have no idea why you guys use lighter fluid (which does leave a residue), when you can easily buy non-flammable Horolode:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Watch-Degreaser-Cleaning-Fluid-500ml-can-of-Horolode_W0QQitemZ220551942490QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Jewellery_Watches_WatchAccessories_SpareParts_SM?hash=item3359eb915a#ht_2349wt_914

Quote from the ebay auction page you refered to

"A special cold cleaning & degreasing Solvent based on Trichloroethylene"

I'm surprised that they are still allowed to sell this stuff. Trichlorethylene is a Class 2 carcinogen and I thought its use was outlawed some time ago. I'd suggest anyone using this stuff reads the appropriate Material Safety Data Sheet and only uses it with adequate ventilation.

Regards

Dave

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Other than cost, I have no idea why you guys use lighter fluid (which does leave a residue), when you can easily buy non-flammable Horolode:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Watch-Degreaser-Cleaning-Fluid-500ml-can-of-Horolode_W0QQitemZ220551942490QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Jewellery_Watches_WatchAccessories_SpareParts_SM?hash=item3359eb915a#ht_2349wt_914

Quote from the ebay auction page you refered to

"A special cold cleaning & degreasing Solvent based on Trichloroethylene"

I'm surprised that they are still allowed to sell this stuff. Trichlorethylene is a Class 2 carcinogen and I thought its use was outlawed some time ago. I'd suggest anyone using this stuff reads the appropriate Material Safety Data Sheet and only uses it with adequate ventilation.

Regards

Dave

And I'm not allowed to buy Creosote for my fences any longer ... :angry:

I'm surprised we're allowed to put petrol in our cars.

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Other than cost, I have no idea why you guys use lighter fluid (which does leave a residue), when you can easily buy non-flammable Horolode:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Watch-Degreaser-Cleaning-Fluid-500ml-can-of-Horolode_W0QQitemZ220551942490QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Jewellery_Watches_WatchAccessories_SpareParts_SM?hash=item3359eb915a#ht_2349wt_914

Quote from the ebay auction page you refered to

"A special cold cleaning & degreasing Solvent based on Trichloroethylene"

I'm surprised that they are still allowed to sell this stuff. Trichlorethylene is a Class 2 carcinogen and I thought its use was outlawed some time ago. I'd suggest anyone using this stuff reads the appropriate Material Safety Data Sheet and only uses it with adequate ventilation.

Regards

Dave

And I'm not allowed to buy Creosote for my fences any longer ... :angry:

I'm surprised we're allowed to put petrol in our cars.

There are plenty of wood preservative alternatives which don't have the hazards associated with creosote.

You are not allowed to put petrol in your car which contains lead.

Why are you angry about changes which in the main are to protect people and the environment?

Would it be better to leave things as they are and just accept that some people will be ill or may die as a result?

Regards

Dave

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You can't get sodium chlorate for weedkiller because someone who shall remain nameless used it for bom* making. Car fuel is now not classed as "petroleum" because it seems that "petrol" in its original form no longer is produced! ...and is it just me or are Wagon Wheels and Mars bars smaller than they used to be? ......or do the kids on adverts have larger hands????

Mike

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You can't get sodium chlorate for weedkiller because someone who shall remain nameless used it for bom* making. Car fuel is now not classed as "petroleum" because it seems that "petrol" in its original form no longer is produced! ...and is it just me or are Wagon Wheels and Mars bars smaller than they used to be? ......or do the kids on adverts have larger hands????

Mike

Sodium chlorate was never a particularly effective weedkiller anyway. Sure, it killed the weeds above ground but didn't do much to prevent regrowth. The modern alternatives are much more effective. BTW, chlorate was not the oxidising agent of choice for the purpose you refer to.

I'm sure you're right though about Wagon Wheels (I was never a fan) and Mars are definately smaller, but is that such a bad thing? The modern diet is full of crap: salt, burgers, kebabs, pizza, fries (not British chips mind). About time kids learned what real food is about. Sorry to get serious again.

Back to watches

Regards

Dave

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Trichloroethylene is nothing like as bad as benzene.

There is benzene in petrol and we have unshielded petrol pumps whereas American pumps often have a shroud.

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Trichloroethylene is nothing like as bad as benzene.

There is benzene in petrol and we have unshielded petrol pumps whereas American pumps often have a shroud.

The vapour pressures of both benzene and trichlorethylene are reasonably similar (benzene is slightly higher) BUT the potential for exposure is determined by the concentration of the carcinogen and the length and frequency of exposure.

The benzene content of UK petrol/USA gasoline is limited to 1% max whereas the trichlorethylene is likely to be a major component of the cleaning fluid. Therefore the concentration of trichlorethylene in the vapour breathed in will be significantly higher than the concentration of benzene in petrol fumes.

Petrol stations are designed to be well ventilated so reducing the possibility of an explosive mixture. This also ensures that human exposure is minimised.

Amateur watch cleaning is likely to happen in an uncontrolled environment with little, if any natural or forced ventillation.

In my opinion, the hazard from trichlorethylene is significantly greater than for benzene in petrol.

Just my 2d.

Dave

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I agree about the good ventilation point and would advise that when using any solvent.

I am sure trichloroethylene is nothing like as carcinogenic as benzene

My link

.........This is supported by epidemiology studies of

workers exposed to trichloroethylene that generally indicate

no overall increase in cancer risk.........

Benzene on the other hand is a severe carcinogenic risk

Edited by Griff

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I agree about the good ventilation point and would advise that when using any solvent.

I am sure trichloroethylene is nothing like as carcinogenic as benzene

My link

.........This is supported by epidemiology studies of

workers exposed to trichloroethylene that generally indicate

no overall increase in cancer risk.........

Benzene on the other hand is a severe carcinogenic risk

Griff, We can swap references all day eg "One recent review of the epidemiology of kidney cancer rated cigarette smoking and obesity as more important risk factors for kidney cancer than exposure to solvents such as trichloroethylene.[8] In contrast, the most recent overall assessment of human health risks associated with trichloroethylene states, "[t]here is concordance between animal and human studies, which supports the conclusion that trichloroethylene is a potential kidney carcinogen".[9] The evidence appears to be less certain at this time regarding the relationship between humans and liver cancer observed in mice, with the NAS suggesting that low-level exposure might not represent a significant liver cancer risk in the general population."

I think we are in agreement. Benzene is a known human carcinogen, trike is a likely human carcinogen and breathing in any organic chemical, solvent or otherwise is likely to be harmful.

Kind regards

Dave

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lol gone off topic a bit. Truth is Trichdhsdfhsrhrthdfthrthwrhwrhtrhwrhethylene and lighter fluid are both dinosaurs. If I was splashing out on a cleaner I would buy one of the newer non toxic cleaners available online and not Tricgdfgdrghaergwe5yw45yherjerjhwhethylene. I think when my stash of lighter fluid is gone i'll try one.

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lol gone off topic a bit. Truth is Trichdhsdfhsrhrthdfthrthwrhwrhtrhwrhethylene and lighter fluid are both dinosaurs. If I was splashing out on a cleaner I would buy one of the newer non toxic cleaners available online and not Tricgdfgdrghaergwe5yw45yherjerjhwhethylene. I think when my stash of lighter fluid is gone i'll try one.

Tricgdfgdrghaergwe5yw45yherjerjhwhethylene
:o

Well..........that does sound hazardous :D :bag:

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RAF aircraft (and vehicles sometimes) used to have pump-action brass fire extinguishers which were supposed to be full of trike. Unfortunately people used to steal the stuff to dryclean their clothes. So they dyed the trike purple to stop that. And, amazingly enough for a fire extinguisher we were told not to use it to put out a fire in any enclosed space because trike when exposed to flames produces Phosgene gas (as used in WWI). And what more enclosed space than an aircraft cockpit? So then they replaced those fire extinguishers with BCF (I can still remember the full name - bromochlorodiflouromethane) which was then found to be a CFC and destroy the ozone layer, though was not directly dangerous to humans.

So now we use - I give up. Whatever it is, it will be found to cause obesity in UK kids or ingrowing toenails in rabbits :offtopic2:

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So now we use - I give up. Whatever it is, it will be found to cause obesity in UK kids or ingrowing toenails in rabbits :offtopic2:

What I thought was particularly stupid, was replacing all fire extinguishers, with their individual colours depending on contents, so you could easily identify them. With extinguishers all the same colour, and a small label telling you what type it is.

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So no-one bit! ;¬)

Has anyone purchased this stuff?

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/PRO-WATCH-MANUAL-MOVEMENT-CLEANER-/290445937435?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_Jewellery_Watches_WatchAccessories_SpareParts_SM&hash=item439fed4b1b

I emailed the seller to ask if he could supply the ingredients to which he replied "why would I do that?", I replied stating to check if it was trichloroethylene based but he hasn't bothered replying.

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I wouldn't risk using any home made fluids or anything with a high solvent content.

I stick with tried and tested products like Horolene (for clocks) and L&R cleaner/no.3 rinse (for watches and very small clocks) in my ultrasonic tanks. These are safe to use with just about everything, except the poor quality lacquer applied to the plates of modern clocks.

I'd hate to have a pallet or roller jewel come loose because the cleaning solution had dissolved the shellac.

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I wouldn't risk using any home made fluids or anything with a high solvent content.

I stick with tried and tested products like Horolene (for clocks) and L&R cleaner/no.3 rinse (for watches and very small clocks) in my ultrasonic tanks. These are safe to use with just about everything, except the poor quality lacquer applied to the plates of modern clocks.

I'd hate to have a pallet or roller jewel come loose because the cleaning solution had dissolved the shellac.

My problem is for the small amount I'm going to use 'tinkering', I really can't justify a 3.8 litre bottle of cleaner :)

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Good point! I bought 2 of each about 5 years ago, and I'm still using the first ones.

Have a look on the Cousins Material House website. They do small bottles of Greiner cleaning fluid for about £8. I've not used it, but, if Cousins sell it, it's good stuff.

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