I have been using automotive brake cleaner to break down old gummed up grease is there something less expensive or safer for my lungs and head? I had heard that kerosene is an alternative. thanks in advance
I keep a shallow wide-mouth jar with some Goof-Off inside for the really grungy ones--works in seconds. The stuff smells just as bad as BraKleen, but it isn't an aerosol and the jar only needs to be opened long enough to toss the parts inside. A little on a rag works wonders on the cups, too.
I like kerosene. It's less volatile and less stinky than some other solvents. And you can reuse it: After cleaning parts in a small container, pour the used kero into a bottle for reuse while leaving the grit in the container. Every once in a while, use some fresh stuff.
BRAKLEEN. Wear gloves, the cheap ones from Harbor Freight, and have good ventilation. Put a small amount into a small shallow container and roll the bearing around on the bottom of the container. I use old discarded Tupperware bowls, it's soft enough to make the bearings roll and it won't break. Take the bearing out and roll it clean and dry on a paper towel. Dip your paper towel in the Brakleen and clean the races. Re-grease and you're ready to roll. I have some Awesome, I'll give it a try and compare the two.
I use either kerosene or gasoline to soak the bearings in a glass jar, put on the top and give it a good shake. These bearings are from my 46 Rollfast had thick gummy grease that easily cleaned off. This method works well for chains too leaving them spotless. The gunk will eventually settle to the bottom of the jar then you can transfer the cleaner liquid to another jar and dump the dirty one.