Oil Solvent: What is it?

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Oil solvents break down petroleum products to leave a clean finish on floors, machinery, and metal parts. They are used to remove oil-based coolant, brake oil, and stains from concrete, clothing, and metal surfaces. Some solvents are petroleum-based and can be absorbed by the skin, causing irritation. Diesel engine starting fluid is a highly effective oil solvent.

An oil solvent is a chemical compound that breaks down petroleum products, such as oil, to leave a clean, oil-free finish on floors, machinery or metal parts. Often used to clean a metal part after it has been machined, an oil solvent is used to remove all traces of the oil-based coolant used during the machining process. Another type of oil remover is found in brake cleaner solvent. This solvent is applied to the braking surfaces of an automobile’s disc and drum brakes to remove all traces of oil and grease. This allows the brake pads to work effectively without burning, smoking or slipping.

There are many oily solvent cleaners designed to remove grease and oil from concrete floors, metal finishes, and even clothing. Many dry cleaners offer stain removal which is accomplished with a mild solvent designed to remove food stains and oily perspiration stains from clothing. Many of the best-selling laundry detergents for use in home washers contain one or more different solvents in the detergent. Grease-cutter floor cleaners are commonly used to clean oil stains from a concrete garage or shop floor with great success. Special greases and oil solvents are used to prepare a metal surface for painting, thereby ensuring that the paint does not bubble or swell from oil on the metal.

Many solvents designed to cut through grease and oil are actually oil-based petroleum products. One of the best solvents on the market that can remove an oil film from a metal surface is not typically marketed as a solvent; Diesel engine starting fluid, commonly known as ether, is considered a very effective oil solvent. A small amount sprayed onto an oily surface and wiped clean with a soft cloth will result in an oil free surface. Some other cleaners used to get rid of grease and oil stains from concrete are not petroleum-based.

Some weak acids are commonly used to clean concrete and are very capable of doubling as an oily solvent. White spirit and turpentine are petroleum-based products that are also known to be an effective solvent when used correctly. The danger when using some solvents is that the chemicals are easily absorbed by the skin, resulting in an itchy rash. This is because the chemical composition of the solvent is smaller than the chemical composition of the oil, so the solvent can penetrate the oil and remove it from the bottom up. This also allows the solvent to penetrate the skin easily, causing irritation if not used with protective rubber gloves.

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