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What Dissolves Silicon Grease?


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26 replies to this topic

#1 Flounder

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 22:52

Is there anything that dissolves silicon grease? I've washed most of it from a barrel, but between a few of the threads there's still some telltale shininess. Is there something I can soak a q tip in to dissolve the last traces?

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#2 Yoda4561

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 22:58

The only thing that will actually dissolve silicone grease is a dedicated silicone solvent (or a lighter weight silicone oil). I don't know what the solvent for silicone would do to pen material, it's probably safe as pen materials and silicone are so far apart chemically that they shouldn't react with each other, but no way to be sure without trying. I suggest sticking with mechanical removal, maybe carefully work the threads with a pipe cleaner or tube brush.

#3 watch_art

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 23:05

soapy water will help wash it away with a bit of rubbing and scrubbing. diluted ammonia water will help the same way. Good and soapy, slippery, stuff.

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#4 FarmBoy

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:38

Try hexanes.
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#5 LedZepGirl

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:45

Dish soap? It's worth a try because it won't hurt any pen materials that are allowed to get wet.
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#6 dabrez

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:58

Windex is a good choice. Put it on wet, let it stand for a minute then wipe dry with a clean dry cloth. The key is to let the windex float the silicone off the surface and then wipe it off with the clean cloth. Stronger solvents like wax and grease removers will work but I would not recommend them as they are too strong and can ruin the pen.

#7 rockspyder

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:44

Acetic acid. So give vinegar a try?

#8 Sasha Royale

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 13:13

Pipe cleaner or tooth brush are good mechanical items. I would not use a Q-tip,
as the fibers are easily left behind. Rub it enough, and it should come off.
The ultimate concern should be NOT damaging the pen. Plastic can be sensitive to
petroleums. Diluted 1:5, ammonia and vinegar are fairly mild solvents. DAWN
dish deterget is very mild, and patient use may be effective. (Used on oil-soaked
seabirds and otters.)

Tiny traces on threads may not be negative.

Best not to mix different chemicals. Some combinations are lethally toxic.

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#9 framebaer

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 14:49

Try hexanes.


Nasty stuff -- Let this serve as a warning. Avoid fooling with Hexanes unless you are a chemist.
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#10 Paul Raposo

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 15:06

Is there anything that dissolves silicon grease? I've washed most of it from a barrel, but between a few of the threads there's still some telltale shininess. Is there something I can soak a q tip in to dissolve the last traces?

Naphtha, white gas, Ronson lighter fluid. All the same thing, just with different names. It'll clean off the silicone grease, and not ruin your plastic.
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#11 Vintagepens

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 21:55

Try hexanes.


Nasty stuff -- Let this serve as a warning. Avoid fooling with Hexanes unless you are a chemist.


But I really like my Prell with Hexane. Nothing else gets my hair so clean.
Maybe I'll have to switch back to Windex.

#12 FarmBoy

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 22:53

Try hexanes.


Nasty stuff -- Let this serve as a warning. Avoid fooling with Hexanes unless you are a chemist.


But I really like my Prell with Hexane. Nothing else gets my hair so clean.
Maybe I'll have to switch back to Windex.

I may start using octane now.
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#13 Flounder

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 23:02

Thanks for all the help everyone. When I'm finished up I'd like to seal the barrel, that's why I'm keep to get the threads as clean as pos.

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#14 eckiethump

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 20:33

Xylene does it, but I wouldn't go any where near a pen with that, an extremely vicious liquid, that I bought a long time ago for experiment on solvent welding repair with various celluloid and plastic.
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#15 brewerjeff

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 14:43

Here I am, late to the party, but this may be useful. I am not a chemist.

Silicone is used as a lubricant, as in grease and as a sealant, as in caulking. It is also used in polishes. It fits these purposes because the silicone molecule is smaller than most others. As a result it penetrates between other molecules. It may be possible to remove surface deposits of silicone but it is difficult, maybe impossible to remove silicone that has penetrated a surface. Many spray on furniture polishes have silicone. After it has been used on a finish it will be impossible to apply another coat of finish unless the silicone impregnated layer has been removed. You can't just give the paint a light sand and apply more paint. The silicone will prevent the new paint from penetrating and cause it to puddle. I have heard of car painters who will not allow anything with silicone in the building for dear of finish destroying contamination. Those wonderful vinyl cleaner / refurbishing sprays people use in their cars have silicone.

Bottom line, I think, is that once the silicone has contaminated your pen it is there forever.

#16 H.M. Murdock

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 21:22

Vinegar will do it. Just get a relatively soft pipe cleaner, dip it in distilled white vinegar and it will come right up. A q-tip will work too, but it won't quite get into the nooks and crannies like a soft pipe cleaner.
Unless acetic acid damages pen materials?
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#17 FarmBoy

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 23:14

Unless acetic acid damages pen materials?

Some materials, yes it will cause damage.

Try lighter fluid if you can't find Octane or Hexanes.
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#18 jkingrph

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 14:23

Here I am, late to the party, but this may be useful. I am not a chemist.

Silicone is used as a lubricant, as in grease and as a sealant, as in caulking. It is also used in polishes. It fits these purposes because the silicone molecule is smaller than most others. As a result it penetrates between other molecules. It may be possible to remove surface deposits of silicone but it is difficult, maybe impossible to remove silicone that has penetrated a surface. Many spray on furniture polishes have silicone. After it has been used on a finish it will be impossible to apply another coat of finish unless the silicone impregnated layer has been removed. You can't just give the paint a light sand and apply more paint. The silicone will prevent the new paint from penetrating and cause it to puddle. I have heard of car painters who will not allow anything with silicone in the building for dear of finish destroying contamination. Those wonderful vinyl cleaner / refurbishing sprays people use in their cars have silicone.

Bottom line, I think, is that once the silicone has contaminated your pen it is there forever.

There used to be a product called a fish eye remover, which was added to paints to prevent the puddles that appear in paint on silicone contaminated surfaces.  I do not know anything about it's chemistry but suspect that it is some kind of super surfactant


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#19 Flounder

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 16:24

Interesting reading! Since writing, the barrel in question was cleaned as well as I could clean, then sealed with shellac. I've since removed the shellac, and sealed with rosin sealant (I can't leave things alone, so rosin sealant makes it easier to open in the future).


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#20 MC_in_Houston

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 18:44

The solvent to use is:  Denatured Alcohol.  AKA  Rubbing Alcohol.  It is safe on most pen materials.








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