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Cleaning rock with rubbing alcohol
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By ----
Apr 2, 2012

I've heard of some people cleaning off holds on their projects with rubbing alcohol. Never heard about this until I moved to the east coast. I guess the idea is to clean off any sweat/dirt/grime that might accumulate on the holds. Seems kind of weird to me, but it could be affective. My conscience tells me its evil, but I don't really have a good reason for believing this.

What are your thoughts/opinions about this?


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By G McG
From Victoria, BC
Apr 2, 2012

Downgrades it 2 V- grades!


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By Woodchuck ATC
Apr 2, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I'm guessing this is directed to boulderers who would be cleaning off their holds? A brush dipped in alcohol could do a nice cleanup I suppose. Evaporates away quickly.. Just don't use organic cleaning agent like acetone as it can damage the rock surface and is harmful to the climber in many ways.


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By Nick Barczak
Apr 2, 2012
...

"...Just don't use organic cleaning agent like acetone as it can damage the rock surface and is harmful to the climber in many ways."




sarcasm?


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By Jason N.
From Grand Junction
Apr 2, 2012
Indy pass

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
I'm guessing this is directed to boulderers who would be cleaning off their holds? A brush dipped in alcohol could do a nice cleanup I suppose. Evaporates away quickly.. Just don't use organic cleaning agent like acetone as it can damage the rock surface and is harmful to the climber in many ways.


So you mean like nail polish remover?


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By Woodchuck ATC
Apr 2, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Jason N. wrote:
So you mean like nail polish remover?

Well it is an ingredient of nail polish, but I was thinking more of 100% straight chemical form. I use it to clean the rubber on my shoes, but try my best to keep it off my skin. Nasty stuff.


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By Jason N.
From Grand Junction
Apr 2, 2012
Indy pass

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
Well it is an ingredient of nail polish, but I was thinking more of 100% straight chemical form. I use it to clean the rubber on my shoes, but try my best to keep it off my skin. Nasty stuff.


I think this might be inaccurate. I used acetone all the time in chem labs in college, all it does is give you this weird cooling sensation and maybe dries out your skin a bit. Sure, we typically have gloves on for chem lab anyways, but it isn't something we'd make sure we have gloves on for when handling it. Looking at the "fire diamond" the biggest danger of it is flammability, which is almost moot because how fast it evaporates.

FYI, rubbing alcohol would also be considered an organic solvent.


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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Apr 2, 2012
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protect between Bolt 2/3 just post crux . <br /> <br />Picture credit goes to eric Singleton, and many thanks to Josh Bagget for the great belay.

i've seen many a sink fire started from residual acetone fumes from cleaning of glassware...both are not really harmful in any small amounts and would work to help dissolve various other chemicals such as those composing sweat, oil, etc...


Jason N. wrote:
I think this might be inaccurate. I used acetone all the time in chem labs in college, all it does is give you this weird cooling sensation and maybe dries out your skin a bit. Sure, we typically have gloves on for chem lab anyways, but it isn't something we'd make sure we have gloves on for when handling it. Looking at the "fire diamond" the biggest danger of it is flammability, which is almost moot because how fast it evaporates. FYI, rubbing alcohol would also be considered an organic solvent.


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By Nick Barczak
Apr 2, 2012
...

I'm a professional organic chemist by trade, having completed my PhD last summer. So I have lots of experience with acetone. Really not harmful, unless you drink it. As for ethanol on the rock. Probably would in fact do a decent job of scrubbing off oils left by your skin. Actually, the 'liquid chalk' stuff that comes in a squeeze tube is mostly just a suspension of chalk dust in ethanol.

Trust me, I'm a doctor. ;-)

and just remember....beakers of bubbling blue solutions = SCIENCE!!


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By Woodchuck ATC
Apr 2, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I just recall that acetone is carcenogenic after long exposures, but then again, what isn't these days. Think most non organic chemist types also won't be finding a liter of it easily either.


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By Eric Krantz
From Black Hills
Apr 2, 2012
smoke break, pitch 5 or 6 (or 7??) of Dark Shadows

Acetone by the liter can be found in any paint section of a hardware store.

It's also frequently used on animals skin in dermal tests... I believe because it can dissolve the lipids and help carry the chemical that's being tested into the skin.


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By Joe Huggins
From 666 Rue le Jour-Edge City
Apr 3, 2012
mmmm....tree

Isopropanol is a great low toxicity solvent-cheap and fast evaporating. Bottom line-not evil, but maybe a little anal.


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By nick frazee
From bozeman, MT
Apr 3, 2012

if you cant send your project without alcohol, maybe its time to take a long hard look at your life....


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 3, 2012
El Chorro

I used to huff my siters nail polish remover...


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By J Q
Apr 3, 2012
Me again!

Fred Gomez wrote:
I've heard of some people cleaning off holds on their projects with rubbing alcohol. What are your thoughts/opinions about this?



Bad idea. The alcohol makes the chalk penetrate the pores of the rock deeper than water or how they would penetrate without a solvent. It makes a slugy paste that really sinks in to the texture of the rock. The end result is slicker holds in the long run. I have seen this happen to several problems in Hueco.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 3, 2012
Stabby

Trisodium Phosphate.
Mix it up in a spray bottle.


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By thomas ellis
From abq
Apr 3, 2012
Mint jullop

Water. I have cleaned many holds with it. It does have side effects, cools skin, hydrates if you swallow, local plants will absorb it and grow!


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By BDergay
From Eldorado
Apr 3, 2012
Jayy-Dogg on rappel

thomas ellis wrote:
Water.


+1... all we need is a bunch of people thinking that pouring various solvents onto holds is the only thing holding them back...


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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 3, 2012

What about the rubber that is apparent on any foot placements on any popular routes/problems anywhere in the world?

How do we get rid of that easily without impacting local wildlife or vegetation or smelly hippies or the rocks themselves?


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By thomas ellis
From abq
Apr 3, 2012
Mint jullop

You stand on it.


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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 3, 2012

thomas ellis wrote:
You stand on it.


stand on the vegetation or the hippies? =)


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By Jason N.
From Grand Junction
Apr 3, 2012
Indy pass

BDergay wrote:
+1... all we need is a bunch of people thinking that pouring various solvents onto holds is the only thing holding them back...


Water is a solvent, arguably one of the best known to man.

Sorry, chem nerding out.


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