Selecting The Right Metal-Cleaning Solvent

Many industries rely on metal-cleaning solvents to help ensure safety, reliability and top performance in their products. Whether you need precision cleaning solutions for aerospace, electronics, automotive, medical devices, jewelry making, metal finishing or any other industry, it is essential to choose a metal-cleaning solvent that meets your needs and your budget. Here are a few questions to help you through the selection process.


4 Helpful Questions for Selecting the Best Metal-Cleaning Solvent

  • What type of cleaning method are you using? Different metal-cleaning methods require solvents to perform in different ways. At which temperature range does this solvent work best? Is it designed to clean in liquid or vapor form? How fast does it evaporate? Knowing the requirements of your cleaning method will let you make appropriate metal-cleaning solvent selections based on manufacturer-provided data.Here are a few suggestions for various metal cleaning applications:
  • Is the solvent compatible with the material(s) you need to clean? Materials compatibility is a major selection criterion for metal-cleaning solvents. Carefully read the MSDS of any solvent you are considering to be sure it is safe to use on all materials you intend to clean, including metals, elastomers and plastics. The wrong solvent can result in corrosion and/or compromise the strength, appearance or performance of your product.
  • How costly is the solvent? Budget must always be considered in any purchasing decision. Finding a cost-effective solvent can help you stay competitive, especially in industries where margins are slim. When pricing a solvent, remember that an apples-to-apples price comparison isn’t always effective. To determine value, ask questions such as these in addition to per-unit price:

  • Does the solvent present EPA compliance issues? How closely is this solvent regulated by the EPA or other regulatory bodies? How will compliance affect operations? Even if a solvent is not banned, its use may not be allowed in sufficient quantity to be practical for your application. Or, compliance may prove cost-prohibitive.
  • Vapor degreasing: A good vapor-degreasing solvent will have a high solvency strength and a mid to low boiling point to avoid excessive energy consumption. It should evaporate quickly, and for safety reasons should not be highly flammable. Enviro Tech’s EnSolv® and NEXT brand solvents have been formulated for ideal performance in vapor degreasing applications.
  • Cold cleaning: Look for a solvent with low viscosity and surface tension to penetrate complex parts, especially very small ones. Where solvent recovery is possible, a high vapor density is desirable to minimize solvent loss.
  • Oxygen cleaning. Equipment that is intended to be used in contact with oxygen (such as oxygen cylinders) must undergo stringent cleaning procedures to ensure that absolutely nothing remains behind that could react in an oxygen environment. Solvent used for these applications must therefore be exceptionally effective at removing all residue.
  • Non-solvent cleaning: Not every metal-cleaning method involves a solvent. For instance, aqueous methods clean metal with water and a surfactant such as soap or a detergent. However, this approach is not appropriate for many applications, especially where the materials used are likely to react with water.

Consider the types of contaminants you wish to remove, as well. It’s important to find a solvent that will remove them effectively.

  • What is the cost of disposal?
  • What is the solvent’s potential for recovery and re-use?
  • Will it require acquisition of additional equipment such as ventilation or personal protective equipment?
  • Will it raise compliance costs?
  • What are the storage requirements for this solvent? How long can it be safely stored?
  • Are bulk discounts available? If so, what are the price points?

Looking for the Best Solvent for Metal Cleaning?

Our EnSolv® and NEXT 3000 solvents have been specifically engineered to provide exceptional performance for a wide range of common metal-cleaning applications — including vapor degreasing, cold wiping and oxygen cleaning.

For expert assistance in selecting the solvents that will best meet your budget, compliance and performance requirements, or for a free sample, contact us here — or call us at 708-343-6641.