Best solvent


What is the best solvent to clean bearings? Mineral Spirits? Acetone? Lighter Fluid?

Let me know your opinions.


All three work fine. Like anything else here opinions vary.


Unicorn tears, of course. I’m surprised someone hasn’t suggested it yet.


More on the expensive side but ya gotta live a little.

On the topic: I’ve only tried acetone but it seems to work well for my needs. It’s cheap and it cleans.


What about 100% acetone nail Polish Remover. It was pure apart from one other ingredient ( something benzoate…I can remember the full name)?


I’d stay away from nail polish remover regardless of the label.


If something claims to be 100% acetone, but has another ingredient in it, then stay away from it! Very strange!!! As far as solvents go, I don’t see much need for lighter fluid if you have access to the other two. On a day to day basis an acetone rinse would seem the best option. It is likely to give a cleaner bearing, however this must either be a rinse or an agitated cleaning because acetone may well not dissolve larger particulates like dust or hair. However, white spirits won’t get rid of these things either. Largely the difference in these solvents is how easily they dissolve general oils/grease. Something really oily (probably only introduced into the bearing by lubricant) may be better removed by white spirit, but for the most part acetone will do a better job of general day-to-day grease removal. It should be noted that you need to be careful using these solvents. They are not good for you and are flammable.

In addition to using solvents, because often it’s particulate that clogs a bearing, I would recommend using compressed air blown over the bearing in conjunction with a separate solvent cleaning.


My word may not count for much (still new to yo-yoing and had to relube my bearing because of noise). I cleaned my bearing with denatured alcohol. I know this stuff is very potent because I’ve seen how great it is with breaking down oils like lube. I’m not sure what it feels like to have solid matter in my bearing (hair and dust) but my bearing plays similar to how it was prior to cleaning but quieter.

EDIT: only problem I have is disposal. I used like 10-20mL of the stuff. I don’t know if it’s safe to throw down the drain diluted with lots of water, burn it, evaporate it, or put kitty litter on it. Regardless of the solvent you’ll use, make sure to check if proper disposal is necessary. I wouldn’t want fish to die.

EDIT 2: Denatured alcohol does NOT leave any odor and dries very quickly. I’m not sure if it’s relevant but I think this stuff broke down my table’s black paint.


just let that stuff evaporate the stuff dries within 1 hour to 30 minutes.


I have it on good authority that denatured alcohol is an excellent bearing cleaner. Haven’t tried it myself, but your reminder makes me want to go get some. :wink:


I would hate to burst a bubble here but I really can’t see why denatured alcohol would be any more use than acetone, and is really a less, well for want of a better word, ‘aggressive’ solvent.


You’ve hit the nail on the head, inadvertently! That’s exactly why some people would want to use it-- it’s a less aggressive solvent. And for me, the lack of odour would be an excellent trade-off for less aggression.

I’m a believer that when my bearings start getting responsive, it’s usually due to debris. Some people see the solvent’s ability to dissolve the debris as the main reason to use it, but I don’t buy into that myself. I believe the agitation phase is clearing out debris and the solvent phase is breaking down residual oils.

Despite my descriptions of my fiddly process in other threads, I believe pretty firmly that I could do serious agitation in a regular de-greasing detergent (very much non-aggressive except to grease) and achieve more or less the same results. But then the detergent would need to be rinsed off, which is where for me the acetone really comes into play. If the denatured alcohol is less dangerous and also smells less, while still displacing water and evaporating more quickly than water… that’s a win for me.