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Is Alcohol Safe For Hard Rubber?


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Is alcohol safe for hard rubber? I was looking for a method to clean my hard rubber pens when i find some sources that says it's harmless for this material (unlike for plastic derivatives).

It is true? Have someone any experience with this combination?

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If I type "alcohol rubber" into google then the second prompt adds the word "interaction".

 

I did not look at the answers.

 

GIYF

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Actually, I am interested in what you find. You are more motivated for the particular question so better to hear from you on it than from me. :)

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I can see via google that alcohol is used to clean ebonite bowling balls. I'd be very cautious cleaning the outside of the pen due to possible discoloration but if you just want to flush the inside of the pen I think it'd be fine (presuming it's an eyedropper). I'm 99% sure it won't dissolve the hard rubber or anything like that. Water can discolor the exterior of ebonite pens but I have never had a problem giving mine a quick rinse and immediate dry. Anything petroleum based or with petroleum based additives should be avoided as this will attack the hard rubber. If this is a vintage ebonite pen previous owners may have applied all sorts of compounds to the outer surface which may affect individual results.

 

Unfortunately there are likely to be conflicting opinions on this. You could always test it on a hidden part of the pen or a broken spare pen.

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Alcohol won't harm the hard rubber. It can do nasty things to some plastics, and will dissolve some celluloid rather quickly, but hard rubber is impervious to alcohol.

 

Water can react with hard rubber that has been damaged by UV light. But sometimes you can not avoid contact with water, especially when you want to clean off dried ink.

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Contact with alcohol can discolor hard rubber in the same manner as can contact with water (and most alcohol available to consumers has some water in it, as it happens). I would avoid contact between a hard rubber pen's exterior and alcohol.

 

Water can discolor the exterior of ebonite pens but I have never had a problem giving mine a quick rinse and immediate dry.

 

Latently damaged hard rubber will be instantly discolored by contact with water. Many have learned this the hard way.

 

--Daniel

"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

Daniel Kirchheimer
Specialty Pen Restoration
Authorized Sheaffer/Parker/Waterman Vintage Repair Center
Purveyor of the iCroScope digital loupe

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Thank you all for the - a bit divergent - answer

So, if i must avoid water - of course - and, as kirchh says, alcohol.. what can you suggest me to use for clean hard rubber?

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I think we need more information. Is the problem to do with the exterior or interior of the pen? Is it modern or vintage hard rubber / ebonite? What needs to be cleaned off? Dirt, dust, ink stains? Is the hard rubber already discolored? Pictures?

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Hi, the pens are a waterman 52 and a a 42.

The 52 is slightly faded and the 42 is a completely faded one.

Both have dirt and ink on the exterior. Usually, on plastic pens i would use water to clean them out but i know - for experienxe - that UV exposed hard rubber will fade almost immediately in contact with water.

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I used to clean a sheaffer`s self-filling pen cap with 75% alcohol

and it became white.....

but it gets much better after I polished it

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