This has been asked time and time again. A search of this forum, and the Clock repair forum, will give you a lot of hits. If I dare summarize them it would go something like this: some say water based solutions are fine, others wholeheartedly disagree. Some say alcohol is a suitable rinse and won't hurt shellac if not heated and/or left on the parts for a minute or so. Others wholeheartedly disagree. Most petroleum based solutions are for the most part White spritits. The addition of ammonia will brighten gilt surfaces. Commercially available solutions paired with the proper rinse will give you the best results and pose the least risk to your parts and Health.
Speaking from my own experience I've tried all of the above. I used chemically pure heptane for a while. Now I have L&R solutions that I payed through the nose for. Speaking from a European perspective: get American made solutions if you are in the US. I Think L&R No Fome is about 20 dollar a gallon? I paid about 80 dollars including shipping from Germany to get mine. The only other stuff available here locally is the Bergeon solutions, and goes without saying that those are not cheaper. So enjoy the privilege of being Close to the manufacturer!
While I have tried making my own cleaning solutions, most have not worked well. Rinse is another matter. L&R 111 is what I use for cleaning, but I found that plain old Stodard solvent is pretty much the same as L&R rinse solution (the ingredients are on the jug.) Instead of $50 a gallon I buy 5 gallon cans of Stodard solvent at NAPA (car parts place) for $60 and spike it with a bit of naptha.