When you are working on your vehicle or another garage project it can be frustrating and unsafe if everything is covered in a layer of dirt, grease or rust. That’s why you should invest in the right set of tools for properly cleaning whatever you might like to work on in your garage.
It’s a fact that mechanical parts get dirty, and in particular, engine components which have regular contact with oil or fuel. If you intend to regularly service mechanical components, whether they are automotive, agricultural or otherwise, a parts washer can make your job a whole lot easier. The best parts washing solution to use will vary depending on what you are washing. Water-soluble parts wash is a good all-round chemical, that is biodegradable and therefore a bit better for the environment. Provided that you dispose of it safely and responsibly, there are non-water soluble fluids that can provide a more aggressive wash, and sometimes even diesel can be used to clean stubborn grime off parts (as long as you don’t mind the smell, that is.)
One of the simplest, and most useful tools you can use to clean off dirt, grease, old paint and even rust scale, is the humble wire brush. Available in a whole range of sizes, and with bristles made from a variety of different metals, you can be sure you use the correct brush for the job. Harder bristles are great for stripping off paint and rust to uncover areas that need repairs, and softer bristles are better suited for removing dirt and grease build up on alloy parts that could be damaged by a steel brush. You can also get wire brushes for use with power tools - these make quick work of almost anything that you want cleaned off your project so use them with extreme care! Whenever you use a wire brush, be sure to also wear appropriate eye protection!
There is a wide variety of chemicals that can be used to clean dirt and grime from garage projects, as well as your garage itself. The most highly recommended is a degreaser since it is useful in almost any garage project. Next are a range of soaps and detergents. You should also think about how you intend to wash yourself after a busy and messy day in your shed. Perhaps invest in some dedicated hand-cleaner, with grit or abrasives present to really wash the grease and oil away. If you are going to strip paint from a project, then a chemical paint stripper can really speed things up by reducing the amount of grinding and sanding that you need to do. And finally, consider buying chemicals in bulk and decanting them into smaller containers ready for use - you’ll save yourself trips to your local Supercheap Auto, and won’t run the risk of running out of something in the middle of a project.
Ultrasonic cleaners are handy little machines that use ultrasound to agitate a fluid which then breaks down contaminants on the item to be cleaned. The ultrasound can be used with just water, but use of a solvent appropriate for whatever you are cleaning and the type of soiling present enhances the effect. An ultrasonic cleaner is incredibly useful to use when rebuilding any small mechanical parts, such as carburettors since the cleaning process can remove any particles that could clog up the jets and other small channels and passages that need to flow freely. Not limited to automotive use, however, an ultrasonic cleaner can be used to clean electronic components, jewellery, musical equipment, firearms, watches, fishing gear and much much more - provided that the correct cleaning fluid is used in each case.
Sand blasting, or rather media blasting, is an incredibly efficient and powerful method for stripping contaminants from project pieces. It can be done using a portable gun or in a dedicated cabinet, depending on the size of the piece that you are blasting. A wide variety of different materials can be run through the blaster, with each offering a different degree of abrasion. Be sure to use the right material (or media) for your project, and use all of the appropriate safety gear. Sandblasting with a gun can be incredibly messy, so perhaps invest in an appropriate booth, and be sure to think about how you intend to clean up the mess!
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