can i use water instand of mineral spirits?
No it will rust the bearing.
You can as long as you dry it completely so the bearing wouldn’t rust
If he’s asking if water is safe to use then, I think, we can safely assume he probably wouldn’t dry the bearing completely… Get acetone.
No. Do not use water.
Now, if you’re using water with an oil/grease cutting detergent(I recommend Dawn), then yes, you can use this to clean your bearing. You will need to ensure you have completely rinsed all the detergent out and you want to also ensure you’ve completely dried out the bearing. Those office dusters work great for helping dry the bearing out and blowing out the water. If you don’t, the left-over detergent will stick and gather crud to it, and the water could cause rust. Keep in mind dish soaps are intended to rinse completely away and leave no residue.
Ideally, you want to clean a bearing out using a solvent. The solvent will break down the lubricants you’re trying to clean out of there in the first place. A bonus is that the liquid solvent will also lift some other contaminants but won’t do as well taking most of it away unless you blow out the bearing or use the paper slip method to clean your bearing.
I prefer acetone for cleaning my bearings. When I need to use the paper slip method, I prefer to use mineral spirits since it takes a LOT longer to evaporate. Otherwise, I use acetone. I also treat my bearings with Dry Play, so I have to use acetone anyways. Regardless, I have found in my experience, acetone has given me the best results.
Lighter fluid is also a widely used solvent. I just don’t use it.
Don’t use nail polish remover. It may be acetone based, but it has other stuff in there that you really don’t want in your bearings.
Common solvents for cleaning a bearing include lighter fluid (like Ronsonol), mineral spirits, acetone, lacquer thinner, automotive break cleaner and carburetor cleaner. Some people recommend Simple Green. Others have used electrical contact cleaner with good results.
CRC Lectra-motive. Available at most auto stores.
Dries with no residue and cleans exceptional. Also great for killing bugs.
How do you clean with this? Do you get some in a jar, and constantly agitate, or spray and wipe, or some other technique?
You can use soap and water, but you have to get ALL of it out. Sometimes I’ll clean it like that, but instead of trying to get all of it out, I get most of it out and put it straight into acetone.
Otherwise, make sure to get everything out or it will rust eventually. Even “stainless” steel can and will rust.
I’d stay away from it just to be safe. You can pick up a bottle of lighter fluid at Walmart for $2.50 and be set for months.
Water doesn’t instantly produce rust as soon as it is in contact with metal. There’s no need to be paranoid!
As Studio42 says, water with some sort of detergent works fine for certain tasks. I also use just straight-up water if I suspect or know there’s debris in the bearing (like after I’ve packed it with swirl remover) and I just need the agitation to help clear out the debris. But plain water won’t break down and remove oils.
I don’t think I’ve ever used water as the “final” step, though. I have both acetone and mineral spirits around, so I use one of those. But you could, if you ensured any detergent was rinsed out, and you took care to dry it quickly and thoroughly (blow out with air compressor? Paper towel and then use a hair dryer or leave it in the hot sun?).
Keep in mind the OP is claiming to hail from Israel, so it’s entirely possible some of the common items we use here may not be so readily available there.