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Author: Subject: Industrial Parts Washing Solutions
CaliusOptimus
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[*] posted on 1-6-2013 at 11:20
Industrial Parts Washing Solutions


I'm looking for a reasonably cheap way to make a large amount of parts washing solution for a parts washer at our machine shop. The parts washer is used for iron and steel parts only, so a strongly basic cleaner seems to be the best option. The parts are generally soiled with hydraulic oil, grease and dirt. The solution will be heated up to 120F or thereabouts. We have proper disposal procedures in place.

I've considered a few things like "Industrial Purple Cleaner" from the big box stores, and also some other options from suppliers like Grainger, Mcmaster, MSC etc. Aside from being very expensive, they all have two things in common: They contain sodium hydroxide and butyl cellosolve. Most cleaners contain other things in small amounts, see the Industrial Purple MSDS for example.

My question is: would a solution of NaOH and butyl cellosolve be a good alternative to spending a relative fortune on other cleaners?

I'd like to do some kind of small scale testing, but I doubt I will ever find the time to make it happen. The parts washer has been in the shop for years, and has always been loaded with plain NaOH @ approximately 1lb/gallon (3Molar). According to the owner it worked "ok", but I feel it could really benefit from a cleaner with some type of surfactant, especially considering the parts rarely come out clean.

Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!
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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 1-6-2013 at 12:45


Quote: Originally posted by CaliusOptimus  

My question is: would a solution of NaOH and butyl cellosolve be a good alternative to spending a relative fortune on other cleaners?



If you feel reasonably sure of the composition of these commercial parts cleaners, then go for it by all means. The mark-up for these liquids, often of fairly simple composition, must be seriously high.




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franklyn
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[*] posted on 1-6-2013 at 12:58


You should get worth while practical advice by asking about this in some
automotive forum. Hot concentrated lye is an excellent cleaner providing
you are careful not to expose aluminum to it , for it will entirely dissolve
that part , and it is even an adequate paint striper so use it accordingly.
Rather than submerging or soaking , it is by far better to spray or dip and
lay a part aside while the solution works on it in the air. After it has dried
merely washing with water will remove all but the most stubborn of residue.
A method I use for removing stains from vitreous enameled metal such as
kitchen appliances is to first apply hot Lye as I said then following that apply
common laundry bleach. The material is left sparkling white.
You can also use hot vinegar to ' finish ' a part. This will actually mildly etch
the metal surface so use it sparingly. It will apply a dark slate grey to black
surface essentially like ' anodizing ' does to aluminum , which gives some
protection against rusting and corrosion.

Etching steel with boiling vinegar
www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRtEPDzCa2A

For electrical parts , chlorinated ' brake cleaners ' are still the most suitable.

.
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 1-6-2013 at 20:55


Around the kitchen I find Bar Keepers' Friend to be a powerful cleaner. Its MSDS says it contains 5-10% oxalic acid.

Although I don't have much experience with citrus oil cleaners I'm wondering how effective they might be for your use:

http://www.schaefferoil.com/citrol-cleaner-degreaser.html




The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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