Ferrous Metal Parts Cleaning – Is Water Good Enough?

What works best for your parts?
–Eric Bromley

Q: Are there any changes required to my cleaning system to convert to a chemistry for cleaning?
A: If the cleaning system was purchased to clean with water only, the pump seals may need to be replaced with a set that’s compatible for use with a cleaning chemistry. Also, if the system is configured to operate in full cascade mode meaning the water is not contained in the wash tank and sent directly to drain after use, the system will need to be configured to operate with a captive wash tank. Other than that, there usually isn’t any other changes.

Q: How important is temperature when cleaning with just water?
A: Without the benefit of a cleaning chemistry to break down and solubilize the soils, you’re relying on a combination of the water temperature and the wash spray pressure to soften and loosen the bond of the soils to do the cleaning. Adding heat to the process will improve the results but also increase the risk of flash rusting ferrous parts due to latent heat in the parts being cleaned.

Q: Will converting from water to a chemistry change the amount of water I use for cleaning?
A: The short answer is yes. When using a chemistry, the wash is maintained in the wash tank for re-use rather than with a water only process where it’s typical for the water to be used once them sent to drain.

Q: How are cleaning chemistries typically measured and controlled in the wash tank?
A: The main methods for testing chemistry concentration are Titration, PH and Conductivity. We have found that most of the KYZEN Chemistries using Conductivity is the best method. PH test results can be affected by the cutting fluids and coolants being cleaned, especially water soluble and Titration, although accurate can be subjective depending on the person doing the test and the how the test is completed.