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Filtering kerosene used in a parts washer. Any issues?

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  • Filtering kerosene used in a parts washer. Any issues?

    I filtered used kerosene using coffee filters. They take out the particles (above a certain size) but the kerosene is dark and I'm sure the dark stuff is made of 'who knows what'.

    As long as I'm using gloves do you see any issue with reusing kerosene in a parts washer. Parts get wiped down after being cleaned in the parts washer so I'm thinking it's okay.

    Any comments? Is this a common practice?

    Yeah, I'm a tight wad.

  • #2
    It burns, I wouldn't use in a shop?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by pgmrdan View Post
      do you see any issue with reusing kerosene in a parts washer.
      No.

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      • #4
        You can save a lot of effort "filtering" by setting the dirty stuff aside to settle for a week.
        Pour off the "clean enough" liquid and reuse. Through a filter if you want. The stuff that settles out to bottom can cake pretty hard, so if you are using a small mouth container, make it something disposable.
        I use "gallon size" paint cans.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CalM View Post
          You can save a lot of effort "filtering" by setting the dirty stuff aside to settle for a week.
          Pour off the "clean enough" liquid and reuse. Through a filter if you want. The stuff that settles out to bottom can cake pretty hard, so if you are using a small mouth container, make it something disposable.
          I use "gallon size" paint cans.
          Yep, this is what I'm doing. When I'm finished filtering I'm going to scrape out the sludge at the bottom and toss it and the container.

          From what I cleaned I know this sludge is primarily old grease and metal shavings. I've mainly been submerging the parts in the kerosene and using a stiff brush to clean them. I didn't want the metal shavings to burn out the motor on the washer pump. After filtering it should be safe to use the pump again with the old kerosene.

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          • #6
            I have an old Graymills that sits on a 30-gallon drum. It was made to use naphtha. That is far more inflammable than kerosene. There's no filter to speak of but the pump sits on a table to keep it off the bottom and out of any sediment. The pump has a screen to filter out large particles though. It worked great the last time I used it. For about the last five years, it's been used for a small belt-sander stand.

            Wow! I see on Amazon that they go for nearly $1000 now! And that's without the drum.

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            • #7
              Beside suspended solids, any solvent has limited "carrying power" that is its ability to work effectively as the tramp oil, grease residues etc increase in concentration until it no longer gets parts sufficiently clean. Many folks use two or three solvent washes starting with dirty working up to fresh solvent.

              Eventually, the solvent becomes so contaminated that filtering has little effect in improving its cleaning power. A part may go in putty knifed free of goo and encrustations but come out still oily with crevices still filmed with goo. A second cleaning in fresh(er) solvent is required.

              There are solvent wash tank services used by busy service shops. Periodically the service truck stops by, pumps their solvent wash tanks and refill them with fresh reconditioned solvent of the contracted specification. The old solvent goes back for re-cycling.

              Want to make your solvent last? Start by removing the worrst of the adherent crud and corruption with a putty knife and thrift store spoon, sticks, etc. The less you wash off in the solvent the longer it will stay effective.

              There seems to be a pattern. Solvent that's benign doesn't work very well. Solvent that does work is irritating and probably hazardous. Solvent that works great gives you cancer and kills penguins 6000 mile away.
              Last edited by Forrest Addy; 08-11-2017, 05:36 PM.

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              • #8
                I guess the Green Police wouldn't like to hear that I cleaned a vise and the table feed screw with gasoline.

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                • #9
                  My wash tub is a 10gal Rubbermaid container with a fuel pump for a stream. There's rack to keep the parts off the bottom and on the bottom a piece of high-pile carpet intended to trap the sediment. Seems to work pretty well at keeping the sediment out of the pump.

                  Bob

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                  • #10
                    My parts washer came with a built in filter tray that takes rectangular filter sheets. It's almost 35 years old now (how time flies!) and was/is a commercial model. As others have said, you can only filter out particles above a certain size but there's absolutely no reason not to try to clean your fluid as much as possible.

                    I took to using paint thinner in it since any difference between the paint thinner and the varsol sold at the local Co-op wasn't readily noticeable and at the time, paint thinner was much much cheaper. It also didn't seem to be as harsh as good
                    quality Varsol so I never bothered to use gloves and yes, I should have. If you are using gloves, good on you!

                    If a person had the room, it would be nice to have two parts washers, one for primary cleaning (after you have scrapped as much of the crud off the part as you can) and a secondary one to wash the clean part off in just to remove all the oily residue you inevitably will get from oil/grease contaminated cleaner in the primary cleaner.

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                    • #11
                      If you don't want to wait a week for it to settle, and you like putting together gadgets for their own sake or have enough to justify it, you can make a centrifuge.
                      "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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                      • #12
                        Fortunately the one I'm dealing with is a little Harbor Freight washer. This is the first time I've filtered the kerosene and I was straddling the fence about it. Almost decided to replace it outright. I won't filter this batch again and I won't add to this batch. Don't want to make clean kerosene dirty before I even use it.

                        Thanks for the help guys.

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                        • #13
                          Dry Cleaners use a steam distillation system for their Varsol. https://www.google.com/patents/US5069755
                          An option could be: http://www.stillclean.com/

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CCWKen View Post
                            I guess the Green Police wouldn't like to hear that I cleaned a vise and the table feed screw with gasoline.
                            I wouldn't worry about the Green Police. The gasoline vapors could be easily ignited by bumping two pieces of metal together though and that might be a small problem. Look up the flash point of gasoline vapor.

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                            • #15
                              Fit a bucket halfway up with a bung. Fill the bucket with water to just below the bung. Pour your kero into the bucket. It will float on the water. The crap in it will settle out - down into the water. When the kero is clean, open the bung and drain it back out for reuse.

                              metalmagpie

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