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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 17th Aug 2019, 12:18 am   #21
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Stardrops has lots of fans, and it is indeed a good general detergent. It can be difficult to find, but branches of Savers seem to stock it. It's not expensive.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 9:40 am   #22
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

FLASH used to be supplied in a packet. It was a mixture of easy dissolvable green crystals. I used to mix in a jam jar a concentrated solution in warm to hot water. It was absolutely fabulous and brought TV receiver cabinets back to new. The knobs were soaked in the jar and grime removed with a nail brush. The Thorn receivers [900/1400/1500 etc] restored particularly well with their Formica finished cabinets.

Flash is now in a spray container and is not so vigorous as the old crystals. It works ok but like everything today, not quite so well. I still keep a couple of the old packets 'under the kitchen sink' for very stubborn cleaning but use the more convenient lazy spray for quick jobs.
The best grease and nicotine remover of all time is of course 'Sugar Soap' It was generally employed to wash down paintwork, doors etc before repainting. It is still available but the old Flash is a very close second. John.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 9:45 am   #23
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Flash also comes on a concentrated form in a bottle - usually about 1 litre. A capful to a bucketful of water is the recommended strength for washing your kitchen floor. I'm sure it's similar to Stardrops and other similar cleaners.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 9:48 am   #24
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Oh my Gawd! Looking at that picture it appears to me that I have a cleaning fetish!
Maybe I should have mentioned this before I was discharged from hospital yesterday..Or maybe not! John.
PS I didn't know that VM. Thanks for info. J.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 10:01 am   #25
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Before my Grandad moved into sheltered accommodation my Uncle had to give the walls a good clean up with Sugar Soap as the previous tenant had been a heavy smoker who liked to often fry chips.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 10:32 am   #26
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

I have used sugar soap many times to prepare surfaces for painting.

I got the impression it was abrasive and that it softened oil based paints.

Be careful where you use it.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 10:53 am   #27
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

I believe that the significant degreasing ingredient in both Flash and Sugar Soap is sodium carbonate ie, soda crystals/washing soda. Readily available from many sources at around 1 per kg which is sufficient to make gallons of active solution. Very economical in use and happens to be my go to cleaning/degreasing agent.

Alan
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 3:05 pm   #28
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heatercathodeshort View Post
Oh my Gawd! Looking at that picture it appears to me that I have a cleaning fetish!
I really should read posts a liiiiiittle slower. I somehow put both of Johns posts together & ended up with 'flash fetish' (the wife says 'you only read what you want to read') Glad you're on the mend though John

The last set I revived needed a good going over, especially inside. Ended up using Cif and an old cotton t-shirt, applying little to no pressure, the muck just came away with no effort and left no swirls or scratches.

The set was a Cossor 501AC, foaming cleanser worked well on the outside followed immediately by wax (if you don't the cabinet can go dull very quickly), and optical instrument cleaner ever-so gently on the inside of the dial.

Mark
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Old 23rd Aug 2019, 4:59 pm   #29
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

I use Dettol antibacterial Spray in the aerosol



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Old 23rd Aug 2019, 10:39 pm   #30
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

I have excellent success with Krylon Foaming Glass Cleaner & Windex
The gunk just runs off and a gentile wipe with a soft cloth finishes the job.
Used it for decades on TV set CRT's & cabinets. It contains a lot of ammonia, from the smells of it. Just don't spray it anywhere it will get into a keyboard, circuit board or control panel.

I wear rubber gloves and a respirator when using it, since nicotine residue/cigarette smoke can trigger an anaphylactic reaction. ( Been there. Not fun).
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 4:25 pm   #31
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

CIF bathroom mousse anyday.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 2:18 am   #32
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

I have had fantastic luck removing the nasty stuff from glass and such with just straight ammonia.
Also Krylon Foaming Glass Cleaner is the cats pajamas for cleaning glass & chassis and such.
Always carried a couple of cans of it in the old tube caddy for house calls.

If the item is glass and non-metallic or plastic, foaming oven cleaner works fine.
I even used it on old cast iron engine blocks and it would take a few shots, but ate the crud right off, even some sticky tar/oil. Just be sure to really rinse good a couple of times.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 6:15 am   #33
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

It all comes down to what surface the nicotine/Tar is on and what other substances, inks paints etc are nearby.

Practically any hydrocarbon based solvent will clean off the nicotine. However it can seriously damage some plastics and dissolve inks and paints depending on the solvent.

A fairly safe option is WD-40, it won't dissolve plastics and most inks and paints. It will dissolve some tape glues though. Also, if used as a solvent to remove nicotine you need to wash it off afterwards with kithchen dishwash (detergent) to remove the residual oils which are hygroscopic and promote corrosion on copper and brass parts especially. It is a "safe" option doing it this way.

Highly ionic compounds and oxidizing agents are not suited to dissolving non-polar hydrocarbon based compounds. It pays to remember from your chemistry lessons "like dissolves like". One other interesting thing, is that more compounds, in total number, dissolve in water than any other solvent (though having said that if you are dealing with a non-polar compound/molecule water is not ideal) So never underestimate the value of a lightly damped cloth.

Last edited by Argus25; 2nd Nov 2019 at 6:20 am.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 9:21 am   #34
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Back in the 70's/80's, I always made sure the workshop had plenty of Ajax 'White Tornado' cleaner, which I believe had a fairly high Ammonia content. It really got to work on cigarette tar deposits and would leave a squeaky-clean surface. Good on glass too. Later on I used the good old 'foaming cleanser'.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 8:07 pm   #35
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

If you can get it, a small tub of white GoJo hand cleaner will easily remove nicotene pickling. It will even remove petrified masking tape. I'm sure there's an equivalent over there. It's what mechanics use to clean their hands. But be sure to get cleaner WITHOUT PUMICE in it.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 9:22 pm   #36
AC/HL
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Sounds like Swarfega, the original green type.
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Old 4th Nov 2019, 6:01 am   #37
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Quote:
Originally Posted by AC/HL View Post
Sounds like Swarfega, the original green type.
I used a lot of that green Swarfega back in the 1970's when I was stripping down and rebuilding engines & gearboxes in Morris Minors and Ford Anglia 105E's to earn a crust. I still like the smell of it. It was pretty good at removing grease from skin with minimal toxicity to it, which is not any easy task, to have both functions.

(Nowadays at work I wash my hands with Chlorhexidine or Iodine derivatives, but these are intended to kill micro-organisms and not specifically to dissolve grease).
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Old 4th Nov 2019, 2:39 pm   #38
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

Laundry washing powder dissolved in water makes an excellent all round cleaner. It works really well on greasy and cigarette smoke residue.

I have not used Flash for many years but I suspect the washing powder will give similar results and saves from keeping both in the cupboard.

Al
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Old 5th Nov 2019, 7:18 pm   #39
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Default Re: Degreaser for cigarette tar removal

If you're trying to remove nicotine-stainage from fabric like speaker-grilles, I've foun that Ambersil "Foaming Upholstery Cleaner" [available from car-spares places like Halfords] works well.

Spray it on, watch it foam, leave it for a few minutes, then _gently_ suck over the surface with the nozzle of a wet&dry vacuum-cleaner to drag off the dissolved crud. Be careful though - quite a lot of old speaker-fabric is by now well-rotted by age, and once you remove accumulted decades of dust/grime/nicotine the whole thing can crumble.
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