View Full Version : Varsol

03-01-2002, 09:27 AM
I frequently read machining articles citing the use of varsol as a cleaning solvent. Yet I've never seen it in catalogs/stores. Is that a brand name, or a particular compound? What's its characteristics?, etc.

03-01-2002, 11:05 AM

I used Varsol years ago when I was rebuilding a couple of old motorcycles. It worked well as a parts cleaner/degreaser. However, it was really hard to find--I actually found the only source in a convience store. I can't recall any specific properties but I think(and don't take this to the bank) that it is less volatile than kerosene.

03-01-2002, 11:57 AM
My local Home Depot sells Varsol in gallon plastic jug. It's often used to thin oil based paint and to clean the brushes with. I'm not sure chemically if it's much different than your regular paint thinner, but it seems to serve the same function in painting. It will degrease parts, but it doesn't dry very fast. For degreasing small parts, I use break cleaner in an aerosol form which works wonders. It's quick and clean.


03-01-2002, 12:47 PM
For degreasing and cleaning parts I use M.E.K.(methyl-ethyl-ketone) Dangerous stuff, but it works really well...I don't recommend it to the home shop, in case kids get to it, but I use it at work....


03-01-2002, 03:06 PM
I've always assumed Varsol is "mineral spirits," i.e. "paint thinner." Could be wrong....

03-01-2002, 09:30 PM
Try D-Limonene (citrus peel oil) instead. It will melt some plastics, but is safe except for being flammable and can be washed off with plain old water. I buy it in 5 Gallon pails for around $50 Canadian. Great stuff.

Get rid of the MEK.

Varsol is a stoddard solvent (low volatility) - much safer to use than most solvents.

03-02-2002, 08:14 AM
Stoddard solvent is mineral spirits, so there you have it.

Herb W
03-02-2002, 10:54 AM
I've been using Varsol for quite a while for parts cleaning - it's available from lube dealers. I buy it in 5 gal (actually 20 litre) pails for approx $25 Cdn.

Thrud - is the D-limonene better/more effective? Where might I find it - I'd like to try some.


03-03-2002, 12:24 AM
I buy it from Van Waters - a chemical distributor here in Edmonton. Barrels are easier to get, they tell me. It removes adhesives, grease, oils, (some plastics will disolve) and silcone grease (tough to clean off). You can mix with water - it turns white like Pinesol. It is about like laquer thinner as far as ability to clean goes but is much safer. It is more flammable than varsol (160*F). Nitrile or rubber gloves - latex, neoprene, & vinyl are attacked. And it can remove some paints or soften them - experiment!