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Thread: Tumbler cleaning recipe?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Tumbler cleaning recipe?

    So I picked up a Franklin tumbler with stainless pins. I’ve never done wet brass cleaning before. What’s the recipe?
    How much water? Just cover the brass? Or more?
    I use Lemi Shine, right? How much?
    Do I only use Lemi Shine? Or do I add anything else?
    How long do I spin it?
    Any other tips so as not to make my wife angry?
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    I just cover the brass about an inch with water. A light squirt of Dawn and a 9mm case of LemiShine. You can substitute an automotive wash and wax in place of the Dawn. It leaves a protective coating on the brass. Start at 1-1/2 to 2 hours for normal brass. Wash/tumble the pins alone in Dawn for a few hours before you tumble brass for the first time.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    AbitNutz; It doesn't take much Dishsoap or lemon shine. I use about 1/4 to 1/2 tspn. of each. Automotive wash and wax works also but be careful not to use too much or it makes a big mess of your brass and SS pins. Gp

  4. #4
    Stainless Steel tumbling Media, 3 table spoons of dawn, 1 tea spoon of Lemi Shine, 1 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar, to 1 gallon of water. Lube, resize, deprime and wet tumble or just deprime with universal deprimer then wet tumble and resize. This is hands down the best recipe I have found for cleaning brass in 30 years of reloading. I dry my cases with a towel first and then on Name:  peg b.JPG
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Size:  15.6 KBplastic board I drill the holes out for larger Dia Bottle NEck cases. I am in Texas and our water his harder than a woodpeckers lips so I use a table spoon of lemi shine and set em up on the peg board on glass outdoor table in the sunshine, in the summer about 15 min and there dry

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Ok, so:
    1: water-Gallon
    2: dawn 3-tbsp
    3: Lemi Shime (9mm case-full)
    4: Cream of Tartar

    I also have an ultrasonic cleaner but I suspect this will perform better and be less annoying...if not as fast.
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    ^^which is why we don't kiss them on the lips

    I use 1/4 teaspoon of Lemi-shine, 1 oz of Wash and Wax and 1 gallon of water out of the tap. 2 hours on 'regular' brass; extra dirty gets longer. Rinse well and on a towel in Texas Sun (at least it's good for something--been a long summer)

    I tried Armor-All but the cheap wally world wash and wax does fine. have gone through an entire jug of the stuff and well into my second one.

    Did convert to SS 'chips' in place of pins and feel they do a better, shorter job of cleaning. https://www.facebook.com/southernshinetumblers/ Not part of this operation, just a satisfied customer.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
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    In case nobody has mentioned it, deprime with a universal deprime die before washing the cases. Clean cases with the dish soap or car wash/wax and citric acid (lemishine) with pins and enough water to cover by about an inch. Depriming first makes for clean primer pockets and helps the cases dry faster.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Bayou52's Avatar
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    Yep - that's about as simple as it gets. As others have said: 1/4 TSP Lemi - Shine, 1 ounce auto wash and wax, any brand, cover with water and over about an inch. This recipe works well.

    Result: real shiny brass!
    Bayou52
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  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    What does Cream of Tartar do in these recipes for tumble cleaning?

    I found Dawn make too such suds. Suds so strong they will support the weight of some of the SS pins so float out in/on the suds.

    I switched to "Cascada" dish washing machine detergent. I'm sure any brand will work just Casacade is a big national brand and available everywhere. It doesn't make suds and seems to be a mores powerful cleaner than Dawn. Your hands don't soak in Cascde like they do in Dawn.

    Also like to use Hornady One shot Ultra Sonic cleaner in my tumbler along with the SS pins.
    Cases come out cleaner and shinier than new.
    Last edited by greenjoytj; 09-09-2017 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Spelling

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy shell70634's Avatar
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    I sized and decapped some 06 brass. threw it in tumbler with dawn and lemishine and it came out dull and greasy. Switched to 1 tsp simple green and lemishine and it came out great.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Many good comments here. Something I did not see mentioned is the water quality as this does affect the cleaning. Here the local water is quite hard so I found that I needed to add more Lemishine to get the desired result.

    The other thing I learned was to get as much of the rinse water off the brass before drying or spots would form. I use a pillow case with about 10 micro fiber towels together with the brass. Rotate and tumble the pillow case so the brass rolls around so as to dry the brass as much as possible.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I add as much water as possible.

    How many plates can you wash in a cup of water? 1 or 2 maybe but 100?
    The same with brass, the dirt is watersoluble and has to go somewhere. If there is not enough water you just move it around instead of cleaning it away. And what is excess water going to hurt?

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 17nut View Post
    I add as much water as possible.

    How many plates can you wash in a cup of water? 1 or 2 maybe but 100?
    The same with brass, the dirt is watersoluble and has to go somewhere. If there is not enough water you just move it around instead of cleaning it away. And what is excess water going to hurt?
    Excessive water does not hurt anything except that it kind of pads the action of the media and extends the run time. Not a real big deal either way.

  14. #14
    What does Cream of Tartar do in these recipes for tumble cleaning?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Cream of Tartar is an acid salt. "Cream of tartar. It is the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid (a carboxylic acid). It can be used in baking or as a cleaning solution (when mixed with an acidic solution such as lemon juice or white vinegar)."

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I like to fill my F/A tumbler just below the top with water. Also if brass is very dirty I run them for an hr then, rinse and start over with new solution. I'm about to try the car wash/wax soap. I only use 2-3 drops dawn & 1/4tsp Lemi-shine for full tumbler. But I use 10lbs of either pins or chips. After tumbling I put F/A end strainer on one side and pour excess water down drain. Then I pour the rest into a shallow bucket and allow pins to dump out, shaking to get as many out as possible. I then refill the tumbler and add 1 or 2 strong magnets the HF rectangular ones or a rubber coated super magnet I have. I run it for a 1-2 minutes to rinse brass and the magnets grab any pins that were left in. I then pour the water off and take magnet(s) out & put strainer end back on & stand tumbler on end to drain. I then add 2-3 strips of dry Chamois I cut from a full one & tumble the brass for another minute or so. This gets the brass almost completely dry. I then remove chamios & poor the brass out onto a towel and air dry maybe with ceiling fan on. I never get water spots. This seems like it takes a long time but it is much faster than it sounds. Too much soap will gum up the works as well. Also jewelers use a special powdered non sudsing soap similar to dish washing machine detergent for tumbling jewelry and this is what brass tumbling was based off of but it's not cheap. Also tumbling just the pins in some solution without brass every once in a while keeps tumbler and pins clean.
    Last edited by NyFirefighter357; 09-10-2017 at 02:14 PM.

  17. #17
    Cream of Tartar adds another element of cleaning to the brass and it works. When I first heard it I thought this is BS but it works its incredibly well.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Looks like I need to raid the spice cabinet next time Momma goes to the store..

    I learned something, I like that..

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