A package just arrived on your front porch: could it be those new reloading dies? In all the excitement, it’s tempting to take the dies right out of the box and to start using them straight-away. But it’s very much worth while to take a few minutes to clean the dies prior to use. By removing the gummed-up thick residue of factory preservative oil, you’ll ensure your new dies (or other reloading tool) will work as-designed.
What You’ll Need
Here’s what I use to clean brand new dies and tools:
- A plastic jar (such as a peanut butter jar) with lid
- Mineral spirits or paint thinner (there are plenty of solvents that will work, but this type is cheap and works well)
- Blue shop towell or terry cloth towell
- Long needle nose pliers or similar
- Compressed air
- Rust preventative (optional, for parts that are likely to rust on the outside)
As shown in the video, here’s the items I personally use to clean factory lube from dies and parts/tools:
Cleaning parts and dies using my method is quite simple:
- Fill jar with clean paint thinner or mineral spirits (or re-use if not overly yellowed)
- Disassemble parts to be cleaned (full disassembly not always needed)
- Drop parts into jar
- Swirl, then wait a few minutes
- Remove parts from jar with long needle nose pliers (to avoid drying out hands), set on towell
- Wipe off solvent
- Blow off parts with compressed air
- Let air dry for a few minutes (any remaining residual solvent)
- Re-assemble, then put to use!
You can see above that it’s time to throw out the paint thinner I’ve been using. After washing a few sets of dies it’s starting to look yellowish and hazy.
Compressed air is great, but if you don’t have it available don’t sweat it! You can let the dies air dry for an hour or more, and that will get them pretty dry. A touch of solvent isn’t usually a problem.
That’s it! I hope this “Quick Tip” is helpful- and if you have your own method for cleaning new dies/parts, please share by dropping a comment below!
9 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Clean New Dies The Easy Way”
This is also a great way to clean some dies that have seen use and abuse, I did this using mineral spirits and a brass wire brush and mineral spirits, did an amazing job.
Have you used the paint thinner or the mineral spirits on a redding competiton die? Does this remove / fade the numbers or melt the plastic?
Yes! I have used it on the Redding competition die and it works great! No issues with white markings.
How do you use the Ballistol?
Very good tip. What tips and equipment do you recommend for cleaning your presses?
Have you heard the use of chlorinated or non-chlorinated brake cleaner for the purpose you mentioned here? How would these products, as well as, paint thinner and mineral spirits have on the rubber seals on some die and press parts? Wouldn’t they dry out from the use of these cleaning solvents? How would one protect them?
Always helpful info….please avoid the use OF WD-40 as it known to leave its own residue over time..
Better products such as TRI-flow , Ballistol etc
I’ve been using the Hornady One-Shot for my die cleaning etc. Cleaning works great and it applies a rust inhibitor via the dry lube.
I admire your piece of work, regards for all the useful blog posts.