Gun Cleaning with lacquer thinner?

stlcardinalsguy

Promoted Users
Hi all, new to the forum...lots of awesome info here! I’ve read about not wiping down panels with lacquer thinner which I fully understand. Is it okay to clean my gun with it though or should I use acetone? The reason I ask is I have 2 gal of lacquer thinner that has been on my shelf for a couple of years and I would like to use it up.
 

Sparky

Promoted Users
Lacquer thinner is what was recommended to me on this site to clean the guns. I was using acetone at first, but got corrected. Now I can see the LT works much better.

Chris
 

stlcardinalsguy

Promoted Users
I was hoping that it would be okay! Why is acetone bad to use? I had heard of some using reducer as well but at 4x the cost I would rather stick to what is cheaper and more readily available.
 

texasking

Promoted Users
What qualifies as lacquer thinner anymore is a joke. I've gotten some "100% virgin lacquer thinner" before that wouldn't even clean the basecoat out of my gun. I wash with thinner, then a small amount of reducer as a final. SPI gun wash solvent sure would be nice :)
 
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Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
"Lacquer thinner" that you buy at box stores like Home Depot is usually real junkm many times recycled, and much more expensive than if you bought it through your paint jobber. Last 5 gallon pail of Axalta branded wash thinner I got was under $40 at my Axalta jobber.
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
I was hoping that it would be okay! Why is acetone bad to use? I had heard of some using reducer as well but at 4x the cost I would rather stick to what is cheaper and more readily available.

Acetone evaporates so fast that you will use more and acetone alone isn't really great at cleaning the entire spectrum of refinish products.
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
Like Texas said above, do the initial clean with wash thinner and final rinse with urethane reducer. To cut down on cost and waste I will reuse some of wash thinner and reducer (stuff that isn't filthy) by saving it in an empty gallon can. Reuse the stuff on cups or guns (use a paint filter). Cuts down on the cost.
 

crashtech

Combo Man
Since I cannot buy 5 gallon pails of reducer from SPI, I get 5 liter cans of a cheap urethane reducer in the "store brand." It would suck to use for painting, but it's acceptable as a gun rinse. Thankfully, long ago I bought a used solvent recycler that we can run our waste through. It doesn't work quite right, but it does well enough. I mix 2 parts recycled solvent with 1 part cheap reducer to make a gallon of all-purpose wash solvent, and that's what we use. The fresh reducer makes up for losses that occur by evaporation, etc. I think we are pretty lucky to have found a solvent recycler for cheap that continues to serve our needs. I'd encourage shops with even small volume to look into it as an investment, because it's a great way to minimize waste and drastically reduce costs on gun cleaning.
 

stlcardinalsguy

Promoted Users
Thanks for all the replies! Now I'm scared to death of just using my lacquer thinner alone (it's 5 yr. old Klean Strip junk)...I'll just chase it with the urethane reducer I have as Texas mentioned. Wonder if the SPI solvent based W&G remover would work as a chaser too? Not gonna risk it though, I'll just chase with reducer. Thanks again!
 
I paint in my garage at home. Lacquer thinner is the best low budget way to clean a gun. Like Chris, I found the best bet is to buy through a local auto paint store. It is sold as Cleaner Thinner because that it what it is meant for.

I save my used thinner in a separate container. Solids will settle to the bottom and then I can pour it through a paint strainer as the first rinse out for my spray gun, followed by new lacquer thinner. I like to remove the tip set and place it in a cup of clean lacquer thinner while I clean up the rest of the gun.

The used lacquer thinner is also good for cleaning up your filler spreaders.
 

JC Daniel

Promoted Users
I do exactly the same as 68 Coronet R/T, I buy 5 gallon buckets of cleaner thinner at our local NAPA store for around $32.00 when I catch it on sale.
 

crashtech

Combo Man
I used to do that. But the 5's of cheap thinner tend to be really fast evaporating solvents and also tend to be contaminated with water. If I dared to shake my gun with that crap inside of it, often the lid would blow off, or at least solvent vapors would spray out through the vent hole. Not what we need! But it's totally understandable that a hobbyist would have to go that route.
 

John Long

Member
The used lacquer thinner is also good for cleaning up your filler spreaders.

That is something I do too. I keep a metal coffee can on my bench with about 2 1/2” of thinner in it. I keep 5-6 spreaders in it with a lid on. When I finish spreading filler, I throw the dirty spreader in the coffee can. Then I get the bottom one out, wipe it off and am ready to go again.

That keeps the edges from getting roughed up and will make your spreaders last and last.

I've done that for years.

Johm
 
the only solvent that has more oils (lubricant) in it is mineral spirits. That means the residue left after cleaning a gun with lacquer thinner helps lubricate the needle after it is clean and evaporates out. Goes hand in hand in why you do not wipe down panels with lacquer thinner. Gun cleaners add some, urethane and acetone have none.
 
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