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Naphtha In Uk = Lighter Fluid?

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I've done a search both here and on the internet generally and there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding this issue. Let's see if we can sort it out for good...

From what I understand, there is no product in the UK called 'naphtha'. Instead, the closest alternative is lighter fluid which is almost 100% naphtha but also contains some additional ingredients. Some people complain that lighter fluid leaves a residue/trace.

Some people also refer to 'mineral spirits' and 'white spirits' which again are variations of the same kinda thing...

So, for our guitar-making purposes, which is the best thing to use? Any links would be great.

Any thoughts on particular brands of lighter fluid? Ronsonol (Ronson) vs Zippo, etc.


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I just buy naptha from behlen.

Wow, yes, you're right! Thanks. I completely missed it in all my Google searches. Might they be the only supplier in the UK? For future reference, the link to the naphtha is here:


Unfortunately postage is quite expensive at £7.50. I don't need anything else from the site at the moment so I'll just stick with lighter fluid for now.

Anyone else have any good sources for naphtha or comments about alternatives?

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I use acetone - don't know how right or wrong that is but i've never had any issues.

Acetone will melt plastic and some finishes. So it would be fine for wiping off an unfinished guitar assuming there are no plastic bindings.

I only use is as a pre paint - can't say i've ever had the call to use it, or anything else, at any other time.

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Essentially, Naptha and lighter fluid are the same thing. I don't know that it really matters whether you use actual naptha or lighter fluid to clean unfinished guitars. It shouldn't matter what brand of lighter fluid you use either. The main thing that you are looking for in any kind of cleaning agent is something that will evaporate quickly, remove oil, and not leave residue. Both naptha and ordinary lighter fluid serve all of these purposes.

Personally, I would stay away from acetone cleaners altogether. I know they were suggested, but they can cause all kinds of problems with finish and celluloid binding. In theory, you can't hurt the finish of your guitar if you are using acetone to clean it before it is finished. However, the cleaner could cause finish problems if the wood is not dried properly before finishing. This is kind of a long shot, but there is no reason to chance it. I would just use naptha or lighter fluid.

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Acetone evaporates very quickly. You would have to soak the wood in acetone to have it interfere with future finishing. You would have to be pretty quick on the draw with your spray gun too. Acetone is less toxic to breathe than naptha and so I would use it when it is appropriate (unfinished parts) over naptha.

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Acetone evaporates very quickly.

You've got that right. I used some to show the grain for someone and by the time i put down the rag and picked up the camera it was all but gone. Tried again and i still wasn't quick enough so grabbed some lighter fluid instead as it does evaporate slower.

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