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Old 04-17-06, 03:29 PM   #1
BryE
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Removing WD-40 from steel prior to painting?

Getting ready to paint my frame, but I've run into a snag. A friend and I were working ("messing around" as my wife puts it) in my garage and some WD-40 was accidentally splashed on my freshly-stripped ready-to-be-painted frame and wasn't discovered until after it had dried and left that thick residue behind. I've looked around the internet for ideas on how to remove the WD-40 residue, and I've seen a few ideas, such as Windex, a 50/50 mix of Windex and isopropyl alcohol, Dawn dish soap, lacquer thinner, etc, but I'm wondering if anyone here has been in this situation. I'm a bit concerned; I found an auto-body site that basically said, "anyone who sprays WD-40 in a paint shop should be killed".

I e-mailed the good folks at wd40.com, but their site seems more oriented towards "WD-40 is the best thing that ever happened to mankind". They even have a WD-40 fan club. So, does anyone here have any suggestions? Thanks!

Edit: I guess I should add that I'm going to experiment with the Createx Auto-Air paints including their new primer. These are all water-based, and so I think I need to get every last bit of the WD-40 off or my paint job will be seriously compromised.
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Old 04-17-06, 03:36 PM   #2
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How about mineral spirits? It's a really good degreaser (I use it on my chain), so it might work for WD-40.
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Old 04-17-06, 03:39 PM   #3
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Tar and Grease remover, when your done cleaning it with that dont touch it again with your bare hands...
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Old 04-17-06, 03:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PatrickMcCabe
when your done cleaning it with that dont touch it again with your bare hands...
Yup. I'm planning on that frame being so clean you could perform surgery with it (if it where thin and sharp instead of big and round, that is ).
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Old 04-17-06, 03:52 PM   #5
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Mineral spirits works, followed by an auto body specific prep like Klix, which is designed to use as a cleaner right before painting.
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Old 04-17-06, 04:11 PM   #6
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Silicone spray would have been worse. Even a tiny trace of it causes fisheyes in the paint.

Wax and grease remover is the generic name for the product you want. It's used before and after sanding.
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Old 04-18-06, 12:50 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BryE
... but I'm wondering if anyone here has been in this situation.
--- Good ol' Acetone always comes through for me.
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Old 04-18-06, 01:15 AM   #8
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Denatured alcohol or as 77 suggested, Acetone. Mineral spirits and citric cleaners are good at dissolving grease and thinning paint, but they also leave their own residue. When I clean a chain, I clean it with mineral spirits, then get rid of that residue with alcohol.
If you get either one on your hand, you can tell which leaves no residue.
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Old 04-18-06, 04:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by PatrickMcCabe
Tar and Grease remover, when your done cleaning it with that dont touch it again with your bare hands...
+1 for the prep . i use PPG acryli-clean wax & grease remover prior to panting then wipe down with a tack rag.

Last edited by snazz; 04-18-06 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 04-18-06, 08:49 AM   #10
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I got a response back from the folks at wd40.com. They say either mineral spirits or acetone will completely remove WD-40. Which proves, once again, that people here at bikeforums know what they're talking about.
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Old 04-18-06, 09:46 AM   #11
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Tough call. The thing that makes WD-40 so good for loosening frozen parts - it's penetrating ability - makes it lousy for thorough removal. It penetrates into all the microscopic pores of the metal surface. Soak the part(s) in a strong commercial soap solution, then scrub thoroughly with an old tooth brush. The more time you spend scrubbing now, the less time you'll be griping later when the paint flakes off!
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Old 04-18-06, 10:16 AM   #12
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Acetone, will desolve the oil and carry it away when it evaporates. It will "soak" into what ever "pores" there are and desolve and carry away the contaminants from there too. For a really good time, use lacquer thinner vice acetone. Soap will leave a deposite which you have to clean up later....with acetone or lacquer thinner. alcohol can do the job, but IMHO acetone and lacquer thinner is the way to go.
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