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Thread: 70% Isopropyl Alcohol

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    Default 70% Isopropyl Alcohol

    I hope I've posted this in the right place!

    While I was in the States, I was talking to a guy who was selling me the magical elixir properties of 70% isopropyl alcohol. He told me he cleaned his track with it, and his loco wheels, and that there was nothing this stuff couldn't do.

    I bought it from Walmart the next day, without really thinking any more about it.

    However....Now I'm back home, I am wondering if I have anything to worry about. We can't buy this stuff over the counter in the UK, well not where I live anyway. Is there anything else this stuff can be used for around the layout? Is there anything I should avoid using it for?

    I usually use Goo Gone to clean my tracks and wheels. Some people love it, others avoid it, because it also attracts dirt if not cleaned off again straight away. Is the alcohol better than Goo Gone?

    Forgive me for this huge list of questions, but I need tuition!!! I allowed a well meaning guy in Wisconsin talk me into getting a bottle, and I guess I didn't ask him enough questions.

    Andy
    UK
    Montrose and Highland Railroad
    "Gotta Keep Movin' On".

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    For me isopropyl alcohol is a must have, I use 90% to strip paint, 70 for track cleaning and "wetting" ballast before i glue and I keep 50 around incase i need it
    Did someone say whitcomb?

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    It works great for cleaning track and grease on loco wheels. 91% is great for stripping paint
    "It's not whats best......It's whats best for you"

    Gary

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    I use 90% for A&I washes, you can use 70% too, the 90% just evaporates faster so less chance of warping. Avoid touching your skin with it , it won't kill you but isn't good for you either.
    As long as I can model in N-scale, I know I'm not old

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    How could something so common and useful not be available? Do they just call it something else?

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    I wouldn't be caught without it in the layout room. I use 90% to clean the rails, clean the wheels, and strip paint.
    Dick,

    Usually, when all is said and done, there's a lot more said than done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by baronjutter View Post
    How could something so common and useful not be available? Do they just call it something else?
    Available at drug store and online in the Netherlands, I would think it's available in the UK too.
    It's called Rubbing Alcohol https://mistralni.co.uk/products/rub...ohol-70pct-ipa
    As long as I can model in N-scale, I know I'm not old

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    Quote Originally Posted by baronjutter View Post
    Do they just call it something else?
    Isopropyl Alcohol is also known as:
    - Isopropanol
    - Dimethyl Carbinol

    ... and among professional users it's one of those compounds popularly known as "brain removers", so be careful not to inhale the vapours.
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    If you have any friends working in a university lab, maybe you can ask them for some reagent grade 99% isopropyl.

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    Alcohol is used to thin shellac. So, while you may not find it at the chemist, you might find it at a home improvement store or hardware shop. Also check with woodworkers and refinishing places.

    After water, alcohol is the next most powerful solvent. As long as you don't drink the medicinal and mechanical versions, it is mostly harmless as long as no flames are involved. Like any volitile substance, have good ventilation.

    Similar to what Janbouli said. Alcohol is often mixed with inks, paints and even colored chalks to create thin washes, that don't puddle like water would. Because it evaporates so fast, pigments are deposited quickly, no long wait, like with water.

    Be careful with some water based paints. Rather than thinning them, the paints curdle. Always test on a small amounts.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intermodalman View Post
    and I keep 50 around incase i need it
    especially useful for those inevitable X-acto blade cuts through the skin

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    Well according to Wikipedia it. Is rubbing alcohol, known in the uk as surgical spirits.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubbing_alcohol

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    Isopropyl alcohol is fairly low toxicity wise and is a good universal solvent like the others have said. It is great for wetting ballast for gluing. Don't drink it and don't sniff the fumes for hours at a time and no worries. Not sure where the "brain removers" came from, but a little common sense goes a long way.

    Trey

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    Agree with all the above, especially useful for ballasting track, general cleaning - especially locomotive wheels.

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    It's cheap, I use only 70% for general use and 90% for stripping paint. It's often on sale 2 for 1 so I'm stocked up as I buy it by the quart.
    It's also good for stripping wax. I put some vinyl graphics on my boat and was told to use it as a cleaner before applying them.

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    I only use 90+ percent. I don't clean track with it, but I use it to ballast Kato track, and I also have it around to make vinyl record cleaning fluid for my wet-vac system. Odd that you can't get it in the UK.

    I've not thought to try stripping paint with it.

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    As above @P-LineSoo
    I use the 70% as a wetting agent to help white glue (aliphatic) to flow into ballast, scenery etc
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    I use 190 proof Everclear. It cleans just about anything, even electrical contacts. You can even drink it if you're brave enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherLarry View Post
    I use 190 proof Everclear. It cleans just about anything, even electrical contacts. You can even drink it if you're brave enough.
    Isn't that kinda of pricey?
    "It's not whats best......It's whats best for you"

    Gary

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