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Is Ballistol a good lubircant/cleaner?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by ipwn3r456, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. ipwn3r456


    Sep 2, 2013
    Hey all,

    I have been using isopropyl alcohol for cleaning my knives for a while, not sure if it's a good idea but it seems to be working fine. Is Ballistol a good lubricant/cleaner? Should I get the Aerosol or the non-Aerosol version? What's the difference?
  2. 3fifty7

    3fifty7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 24, 2016
    I like Ballistol, I keep an aerosol can in my range bag and one in my truck.

    On my firearms I clean with hoppes 9, and lube with white lithium grease or ATF depending on the application. During a session if anything needs lube it usually gets hosed down with Ballistol.

    Now with my knives I try to lube with mineral oil. If that is not satisfactory I’ll work in some lighter fluid and blow clean with compressed air then oil. On rare occasions disassembly may be required for a thorough cleaning. If I’m away from my cleaning supplies a quick shot of Ballistol and working of the action will normally suffice.
  3. Be careful with the isopropyl on some plastics. Victorinox's 'cellidor' plastic handles on their Swiss Army Knives will soften and/or distort in shape (warping, shrinking) if isopropyl alcohol is used to clean them. I found that out the hard way. One of mine softened enough that I left an embossed image of my thumb print on it, after cleaning it with IPA. Good news is, I used IPA again to 'erase' it. But the handle scales still ended up a little warped after they dried; that also affects their ability to hold snugly onto the toothpick & tweezers, inserted underneath the handles. The toothpick in mine kept falling out on it's own, after that misadventure.

    Some dyed bone handle scales might also shed some color if solvents like IPA are used to clean them. Most of the time, it's not a big deal, as any dye coming off is usually excess that's left from the factory, and hasn't really been absorbed fully into the bone. But some handles might noticeably fade with even a little bit of dye loss.

    IPA will also dry out natural materials like wood or stag. So, if you use it, you might also follow up with something to recondition the handles so they don't get too dry and crack or split. But generally, I'd avoid using IPA on those in the first place.

    IPA is fine for cleaning blades and flushing moisture out of blade wells and pivots, on knives that otherwise won't be harmed by it. Just be aware of which materials can tolerate it, and which ones can't.
  4. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    ^^^Have had similar results on the Victorinox covers when using DEET while backpacking in the Wrangells of Alaska with a couple of buddies. Left some permanent finger smudges which remind me fondly of that expedition.
  5. maximus83


    Nov 7, 2011
    Ballistol is good stuff; I used it a lot on firearms and knives years ago. Essentially a light mineral oil plus additives. A lot of folks like it essentially for two reasons: it's non-toxic, and it seems to work well for all kinds of different applications. Kind of like a non-toxic WD40.

    It is a great multipurpose solvent, but like all "CLP" (Clean, Lubricate, Protect), it isn't especially great at any of them. Definitely I see better choices for knives, and have moved on to other things. For example for my firearms, I ended up finding much better non-toxic cleaning solvents, better lubes, and better corrosion inhibitors. The trade-off is that like nearly everybody I know, you end up with multiple solutions and solvents on your shelf and in your gear bag. :)

    In the end, just my 0.02, but I think a lot of us probably end up overthinking the whole lube and protection thing. There are so many things that will work, I don't even think it about it that much anymore, and I definitely have stopped spending money on super pricey specialty items. There's really no magic bug juice.
    Swampdog likes this.
  6. wade7575


    Apr 3, 2013
    With alcohol another to watch is it will sometimes eave a white film of dot's that can not be removed on some plastic as well,I have used it on some circuit boards after soldering and it has do it to me.

  7. Valenciamanu


    Oct 7, 2016
    Cuidado con Ballistol.
    Es muy bueno.But clean the bronze.
    Beware of bronze and alpaca washers.
  8. Neko2

    Neko2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 18, 2003
    It doesn't solidify or gum so I like it for that but it can attract dirt and grit so use sparingly.
  9. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I like Ballistol on my revolvers for a good deep cleaning I can soak them down good and easy to clean up ...

    I prefer other products on semi autos ... like good old Hoppes ... and Eezox and Kroil and RemOil for cleaning and lube ...

    Ballistol would clean knives ok but lube I only use mineral oil unless its a knife I know will have no food prep or cleaning game contact ... then Eezox or Tuf Glide gives good lubricant doesn't seem to collect dust as bad as many.

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