slowyojoe, the evaporating is a good tip. I think you might’ve shared it in the past, because I’ve been doing just that! But with unpredictable weather at this time of year, a 4-year-old who can reach whatever he wants, and an infant son who can’t get an everything but who would certainly TRY if I were careless… I just figured “hey, why not try it?”
If I’m being totally honest, it was really just an extra excuse to exercise the part of me that likes to putter.
In the dilution I used (about 1:4 SG to water) the solution has a detectable soapiness to it like most alkali solutions. It seemed like it would for sure leave a film, so I wouldn’t want to leave it to dry just after the cleaning phase. I rinsed the bearings off with some distilled water and blew the excess water out with canned air, finishing the job of drying by spinning on a chopstick for a while. Since I was adding lube in this case (I only rarely run anything dry, even ceramics) I was even less worried that there would be any sort of corrosion from the water. I mean, there was no water in the first place, but the lube gave me extra peace of mind for no truly logical reason that I can pinpoint ;).
The end result was a clean bearing. It wasn’t any better or worse than one cleaned with acetone or mineral spirits. The SG is mainly a degreaser, so the idea was to break down and wash through any residual lube from the last time it was maintained. Any grit/particles in there are removed more by the agitation and air blast than the solution itself. I find that’s the case with acetone, too.
So far, I’m not really noticing any truly significant difference between ANY of the methods, in terms of the final result. So it’s all about process and potentially safety. Acetone has the benefit of quick drying for the impatient. Mineral spirits are somewhat less dangerous than acetone and dry relatively quickly. Acetone you would need to evaporate or store and dispose of in accordance with regulations. Mineral spirits are best stored and disposed of properly. SG can be put down the drain or dumped into the garden/lawn/back field.
I suspect denatured alcohol would evaporate quickly. I’d definitely be willing to give it a try. Not sure where to find any! But it would carry similar ease-of-disposal benefits as SG, wouldn’t it? I’d imagine it can just go down the drain? Must to research.
At the end of the day, the SG was fine, but all the warnings (especially about respiration) just made me paranoid… kept the hood fan running and the door opened. So that was an inconvenience and a literal headache. Not sure I’m going to bother persisting with that method. But hey, I’ll have SG around in case I want to use it again, or use it for cleaning my tools ‘n’ stuff. I’m sure it won’t go to waste!