Naphta substitute for cleaning the finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by hoshino, Jun 13, 2018.

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  1. hoshino

    hoshino Junior Member

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    Hi all.
    One guy brought to me his guitar for some work and maintenance, and it's covered in unbelievable amount of that gunk made of grease, sweat, dust, cigarette smoke and whatewer it could be else. Never seen that much.
    So, everywhere on the net they say to use naphtha to remove this gunk, but in my country I actually never heard of a "naphta" and I can't find it. What's the best and safest substitute for it? Some sources says it's a petroleum spirit between benzene and kerosene, some says it's actually a white spirit, another ones - that it's a regular lighter fluid. Which of these I can safely use instead a naphtha to clean off this thick layer of grease without worrying about ruining the guitar finish?
    All that I've tried up until now (various clean&polish stuff) seems to be little help or building up cloudy stuff on the finish.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. w666

    w666 Senior Member

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    Lighter fluid=naptha
     
  3. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    @w666 I thought the same, mostly because my old bottle of Ronsonol Lighter Fluid says 'Contains naphtha'. However, I was under the impression that they no longer use naphtha. Is that the case?

    FWIW, Coleman Camp Fuel is 100% naphtha.
     
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  4. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    Can you get Simple Green? Not a solvent, but will clean most gunk off a guitar and won’t hurt the finish.
     
  5. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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  6. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    whlatever you try....be sure you test in a pup cavity or something....just in case
     
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  7. C_Becker

    C_Becker Dat Gibson smell Premium Member

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    Does zippo lighter fluid still contain naphta ? You might be able to get that.
    I have a bottle of regular lighter fluid (some supermarket off-brand) here, and it says naphta as well.
     
  8. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    Most of the lighter fluids now state "petroleum distillate" but I believe for all intent and purpose its the same stuff. Any "white gas" camp fuel type stuff will do the trick!
     
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  9. madmusicltd

    madmusicltd Senior Member

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  10. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    Not advisable.
     
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  11. Al Walker

    Al Walker Senior Member

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    Mineral Spirits. I've never had any problems.
     
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  12. LtDave32

    LtDave32 Sua Sponte Super Mod Premium Member

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    Coleman camp fuel. Otherwise known as "white gas". Also known as naptha. It's a fuel, not a solvent. You can run it all over a lacquer finish and it won't hurt a thing.

    What it will do is remove all the old wax, gunk, human goo and whatever happens on a good Saturday night off of your guitar.

    I keep a gallon can under my bench, and I use it constantly. Sometimes when I'm wet sanding a fresh lacquer job I recently sprayed, and I'm a bit worried about water getting into an unfinished crevice, I'll use it as the sandpaper lubricant instead of water.

    Never had a problem.

    And on waxing a guitar, this I could never understand; why people will take fresh wax and rub it onto a guitar with old wax on it.

    All you're doing is pushing around the old wax. Get that crap off of there, and apply fresh wax.

    you can find this stuff (naptha, or naptha "substitute" or whatever semantic is popular now) in any liquor store that sells Ronson lighter fuel.

    Get a can of that. Flip up the little red spout. Apply some to a soft rag, and wipe that funky crap off your fret board.

    Extra tip:

    If you've got an unfinished fret board such as rosewood or ebony, with the strings off (of course), rub some Kiwi brown (for rosewood) or black (for ebony) shoe polish (in the tin, not the bottle) over that board. Then buff it real good with a soft, dry rag.

    -After you've cleaned it with (you guessed it), "naptha".
     
  13. LtDave32

    LtDave32 Sua Sponte Super Mod Premium Member

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    Wal Mart brand "white gas" is only about 12 bucks a gallon. Beats the dickens out of a 5 ounce bottle at the liquor store.
     
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  14. charisjapan

    charisjapan Silver Supporter

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    Hey @hoshino, where are you? In Japan, we call it White Gasoline, and 4L is about $20 on AmazonJP. Coleman fuel is nearly the same thing. Lighter fluid is also nearly the same thing, but expensive in those little Zippo cans.
     
  15. Mindfrigg

    Mindfrigg Senior Member

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    I use mineral spirits. Cotton rags. Used it for 45 years, to clean centuries old finishes. The wetness of the rag or brush depends on the fragility of the finish. Never had any problems. Removing rosin from an old violin is especially stubborn. But works. Doesn't leave a matte look like naphtha sometimes does.
    Also good for removing silica contaminants between rub downs of coats if you're experiencing fish eyeing or orange peeling. Or before touch ups or over spraying. After drying of course.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018

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