Fire-safe solvents

Hi everyone!

I’m starting to set up a shop at home, and have some space carved out in my basement. Unfortunately, I’m sharing space with a water heater, and I’m worried about solvent fumes and the pilot light and, well, setting my house on fire while trying to clean my press

Does anyone have any ideas on which solvents would be safe to use? Anything with a high flash point? Organic solvents (maybe citrus)?

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Crisco followed up with a detergent (to remove the remaining Crisco) works pretty well for presses, but not type.

In my garage I use kerosene, however, in the basement I use a non-flammable paint thinner. This seemed to be a safer option for inside.

I have a recommendation or two… If you’re cleaning the glass of an inking slab, you can’t get much better than a razor scraper to remove the bulk of the ink, and then some simple green, and then some water to remove the simple green.

Your roller/press cleanup, I would recommend a solvent called “Genie Safe and Easy”.

Flash point is greater than 300F, it doesn’t really evaporate. It’s a great product, I’m really happy with it.
You leave it on the rollers and it conditions them. Don’t leave it on bare metal/steel, though.

To clean it off, you do need something like an alcohol for the metal parts, but if you can remove rollers from your press, you can supposedly use water to sponge it off of them after you’ve removed the ink residue. (I use Varn V120 right before printing, put some on, wipe the rollers down, run the press for a while, Genie is gone).

vegetable oil !


I got the recommended “Genie Safe and Easy.” I put it in a spray bottle; have never had an easier clean-up on the windmill.

Do you leave it on the rollers indefinitely (for days) to condition them?

The directions say to clean up with warm water. I wiped it off with Dick Blick’s citrus cleaner. Is this enough or do I need water to get it all off?

Hey H Hale- I am glad you like it. It has really been a boon for me here.

I do leave it on the press, until the next time I use it. I haven’t seen any harmful effects on the rollers, just a little rust on the metal.

I actually use Varn V-120 roller wash to remove the Genie before inking up the press. I have also used acetone in a pinch (ONLY before inking up, so as not to dry the rollers out- the ink itself will keep them from drying out and hardening after a light wipe-down with acetone)

I don’t put water on my machines, in any way, so I’ve never tried the warm water cleanup.

For forty years I have been plugging along with white kerosene. Very inexpensive if you bring you own cans and fill them at rural gas stations that have a kerosene pump around the back. I live in farm country in rural Iowa so this is a great option for me. “White” kerosene is basically kerosene that is a little more refined so that it does not give off as much odor as regular kerosene. My shop is in my basement and my wife would kill me if the house smelled like kerosene.

The kerosene has a much lower flash point than gasoline. Gasoline explodes when lit. I also use the kerosene to get large bonfires lit outside occasionally (Out in open pastures). I should mention that my house is 104 years old and that aside from washing up my brayers and type forms in the basement, I also have a wood-burning stove within 5 feet of the press. This keeps my toasty when I am working down there in the winter.

I can hear the tree-huggers screaming already.