Industrial Cleaner and Degreaser Application Guide

by Lawton Brothers | Feb 18, 2023


Industrial products can often become coated with a layer of grease during assembly or use that can prove to be quite stubborn against ordinary detergents. The goal in cleaning these products is to remove contamination with as little scrubbing as possible, so as not to ruin the integrity of the product. That’s where an industrial cleaner/degreaser comes in. 

A degreaser is a solvent-based chemical used for the removal of water-insoluble substances like grease, paint, oil, lubricants, corrosive products, and organic films. They are useful for a variety of machines, tools, and surfaces and are typically used in restaurants, aircraft and automotive industries, and hospitals/pharmaceutical companies. 

While degreasers go by many names (precision cleaner, maintenance cleaner, carb or brake cleaner), they are different from a contact cleaner, as contact cleaner is specifically for electrical components. Degreasers should not be used on electrical connectors. If you plan to remove grease when the power is on, look for a cleaner with high dielectric strength. Dielectric strength is the maximum electrical current that the solvent can withstand before being broken down and causing short circuits or safety hazards. 

Additionally, degreasers are usually very flammable. These should not be used near open flames, sparks, or hot surfaces, and never without proper ventilation as workers have suffered major health effects when exposed to high levels of chemicals that are commonly used in degreasers. 

Application Methods

Aerosol: aerosol degreasers release fresh solvent every time, with agitation from the spray pressure that helps dislodge sticky debris. This type of degreaser is commonly used with electronics and hard-to-reach components.

Trigger Spray: trigger spray bottles are the typical cleaning application we all think of when it comes to cleaning products. These are more common with water-based cleaners and isopropyl alcohol (IPA), but not for aggressive solvent cleaners.

Liquid Immersion: this involves placing the component in a tray or bucket of the solvent cleaner, with swabs or brushes for tough grime. 

Degreaser Concerns

All chemical products have their drawbacks and potential safety concerns. As always, use personal protective equipment (PPE) when using degreasers, or any cleaning product. If the product you’re using has a chronic toxicity pictogram, that means it can cause long-term health effects. The best bet is to avoid chemicals like N-Propyl Bromide (nPB), Trichloroethylene (TCE), and Perchloroethylene (Perc) and always read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS or MSDS). 

Looking for a Degreaser?

As your choice for janitorial services, products, and equipment since 1946, Lawton Brothers knows all the best tips and tricks to keeping your facility and employees safe. Looking for the right product for your cleaning routine? Give us a call today at: 800.432.0813 and we’ll go through our catalog and your questions and concerns with you.

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