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Old 07-22-2010, 06:07 PM   #1
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Default Can plumbers putty be cleaned off with PBW?

I bought some used natural gas burners from a member and he used 1/2" SS T's & elbows to put them together with the valves. When I setup my new brew rig, I used all black pipe for the gas setup, so I have all these extra SS fittings that I'd like to use for beer/pump connections. Instead of using teflon tape, these were previously sealed with the grey plumbers putty (pipe dope).

Does anyone know if this grey plumbers putty will come off with a PBW soaking to make these sanitary and usable for beer lines or should I just stay away from using them?

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Old 07-22-2010, 06:36 PM   #2
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I dont think youll get it off like that, plumbers putty is really hard to remove, normally the only way would be to hold a hairdryer up to it then scrap it off when it gets warm enough, even then youll probably not remove all of it.

If anything might work then alot of agitated boiling water? Probably better to just ditch em though than risk some nastys hiding out in your tubing.

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Old 07-23-2010, 10:34 PM   #3
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I use a wire brush to clean pipe dope off of black pipe thread., I would use a SS wire brush for the SS fittings.

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:21 PM   #4
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I did try a wire brush, but it still left a lot of residue. I may put one in the BBQ and see if the high temp will burn it off. I could also try cleaning them in a bead blaster. If they don't clean up easily, I'll just leave them in my misc. gas fittings box and not move them to the beer fittings box. It would just be nice to have some spare beer plumbing fittings.

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:26 PM   #5
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Two words....WD 40. Be sure to triple-rinse after.

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Old 07-24-2010, 12:05 AM   #6
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I'm guessing that plumbers putty has oils in it to keep it from drying. So, you need some sort of non-polar solvent, like paint thinner (or WD-40 as suggested above). Water-based cleaners and solvents won't work. PBW and starsan will be useless.

I've used paint thinner to clean SS keggles and if you clean them really well afterwards you won't have any problem.

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Old 07-24-2010, 12:38 AM   #7
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I was thinking a overnight soak in a metal paint can filled with lacquer thinner
after first digging out the most of the material with brass made picks to save the threads.

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Old 07-24-2010, 12:59 AM   #8
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I tried bead blasting, but that won't get into the female threads well, but it did clean up the male threads nicely. I also just finished using a SS dental pick on the female threads and got most of it out. I'll try some goof-off or WD-40 (whichever I can find in the shop) and see about soaking them to get the rest. I'll then do soap/water to clean followed by PBW/StarSan to sanitize. I think by then they'll be good to go!

Man, another reason to only use teflon tape since it comes off as easy as it goes on.

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