Mineral spirits on rubber

I’ve seen poeple saying that using mineral spirits on rubber rollers was good and some others saying it was bad… What’s your point of view? And why?

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OK, I’ll bite.

I think the folks who are against mineral spirits are the anti-petro folks. Nice people who need to be concerned about stuff, one thing after another. Other folks just need to be concerned about how the hell are they going to keep a roof over their heads, pay for food, clothing, etc.

It works fine. I’ve used it for over a third of century (how nice is that to admit too? :—) It Is available in any hardware store and costs far less than any industry solvent you will find. Those folks are up against the wall anyways.

They can’t take mineral spirits off the market as it is not a printing industry solvent. Buy it in the odor free version. Less of the old chemicals.

For a type/plate wash, Coleman Lantern fuel. Good old white gas (de-odorized as well). That ain’t going anywhere either.

Yeah, support your local hardware stores. The printing industry folks are just trying to rip you off and stay in the green game, offering high-priced diesel fuel and anti-freeze, etc., as viable solvents. They are not and will damage your presses/rollers.


The OK, I’ll bite comment made my day!
I clean my type with order free mineral spirits. Why do you suggest Coleman white gas?

I’ve been using Phenoid for years, but I am changing to white gas when my supply runs out. You can buy a gallon of white gas for less than it costs to ship Phenoid across town. White gas works nearly as well as type wash. It dries almost instantly and leaves no oily film. I still use press and roller wash because it works well in my blanket wash up device. When technology finally finally kills my offset business and all I have left are my letterpresses, I will probably start using mineral spirits as a general wash.


One thing you should know about white gas: the fumes are heavier than air. If you are using small amounts, no problem, but if you start to use it in larger quantities, and there is an ignition source at floor level (like a pilot light), you could have an explosion. Or so I am told (by a guy who just filled his cigarette lighter with my white gas).


Yeah, that is the problem with petro-chemical solvents. The fumes crawl across the floor. I guess that probably makes them better in terms of the risk of inhalation than a lot of the stuff currently being proffered. But yeah, probably best to be cautious in the basement next to the water heater.


Folks, kerosene does it well, no smells, no high octane, loves rubber and all, cleans numbering heads, you can even shine your shoes with it.
It also would burn the house if you have it on top of the water heater.

I swear by carbon tetrachloride. Stuff works wonders.

Seriously though…I’ve been using Rostow & Jung inks lately, and detergent is the recommended and best thing for cleanup. I don’t think the water-based inks will work for all things, but I’ve enjoyed them.

When I use oil-based inks, I use mineral spirits. I tend to be environmentally caring, but nothing really beats a hydrocarbon for cleaning a hydrocarbon-based ink. It has worked fine on various rubber (brayers, rollers, etc.), but I will have to give kerosene a try. I haven’t, because I also can use odorless mineral spirits to thin oil-based inks, and I don’t want to have to stock too many random cans of stuff.


What about denatured alcohol for a hand brayer?

I generally use kerosene, but I find myself in posession of some alcohol and find that it works okay for cleaning the slab. But I’m curious about the effect of using it on the brayer.




Side note,
When HD-Tiegel mentioned that mineral spirits love rubber, Does he mean, absorbs?, permanently?
In addtion, I have also used mineral spirits to clean my house paint brushes (that have rubber handles), and the smell seems to linger. I am considering throwing them in the garbage, as this would directly contact my hands.

Is this logical at all?

What brand of mineral spirits are people using?


I recommend white gas because that is what Lewis Allen used to clean his type, and his printing was superb. Anyone can blather about what they think they know, but it is their printing that is the final arbitrator and testament to what they know (or, in Allen’s case, what he knew).

Plus, type and plate washes have pretty much disappeared yet Coleman Lantern Fuel (which is deodorized white gas) is relatively economical and easily obtainable.


Mineral spirits probably does not love rubber, all solvents are going to be detrimental to rollers. But given the alternatives, high priced industry concoctions or DIY kitchen greases and oils (which can both damage much more than your rollers), does it really matter? When your rollers are gone, replace them. Best thing you can do to improve your printing anyway.

To eliminate the smell, buy the deodorized stuff (the problematic stinky and hazardous toluene and xylene have been removed).


Doesn’t matter, mineral spirits is generic.