Is there any way to prevent petrol from being flammable without losing it's solvent properties? Preferably some affordable way that is applicable for DIY. In my case, petrol is used for bearing cleaning, and there is a risk of inflammation due to accidental spark.

If no affordable way exists, what octane number is safer (less flammable)?

  • $\begingroup$ For cleaning, diesel oil or kerosene instead. Not so volatile. Also cheaper. $\endgroup$
    – f p
    Nov 8, 2013 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for proposition, not sure about diesel but kerosene seems to be hard to buy at my area. $\endgroup$
    – Dmitriusan
    Nov 9, 2013 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ You aren't going to like it, but working at $-45^\cdot C$, below the flash point of gasoline is one way. $\endgroup$
    – DJohnM
    Nov 9, 2013 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ By the by, breathing in petrol fumes is also super bad for you. $\endgroup$
    – Aesin
    Nov 9, 2013 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ Makes sense. I was thinking about using something automatic like bont.com/quad/products/bearingCleaner with gasoline and custom remote control, but it seems to be too dangerous/harmful. Probably will switch to citrus cleaner. $\endgroup$
    – Dmitriusan
    Nov 10, 2013 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


Nearly every solvent is flammable, some exceptions are halogenated hydrocarbons. But plain hydrocarbons are pretty much all flammable, though some are more dangerous than others like e.g. diethyl ether.

Chloroform is non-flammable, but due to the toxicity I would not recommend to use it. There are some other non-flammable solvents for cleaning mentioned in this presentation from NASA on the search for non-flammable solvents. But it seems that many candidates are being phased out because they are a hazard to the ozone layer.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you are right. Now I consider using citrus cleaner to clean bearings. Hopely it will be able to remove oil and old lubrificant nearly as effective as petrol. $\endgroup$
    – Dmitriusan
    Nov 9, 2013 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Dmitriusan citrus would cause corrosion. This may be a case of "don't do it without proper precautions". $\endgroup$
    – Demi
    Oct 20, 2015 at 23:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Chloroform is both toxic and dangerous for a routine solvent. But dichloromethane has most of the good properties and few of the bad ones. $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    Mar 18, 2021 at 18:50

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