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Solvent Cleaning

Last updated: September 11, 2019

What Does Solvent Cleaning Mean?

Solvent cleaning is a cleansing process that uses chemical solutions to remove unwanted grease, oil, residue, coatings or paint from the surface of a material. There is more than one type of solvent, and each individual type may be better suited than another is to clean a specific type of base material.


Corrosionpedia Explains Solvent Cleaning

Solvent cleaning is a process that is used for many purposes. Dirt should almost always be removed from a substrate prior to applying a coating. The solvent cleaning process may be as simple as using acetone to remove nail polish; other types of solvents may be required for different kinds of contaminant removal. Solvent cleaning is frequently used to remove oils after machining operations or to remove a coating that was applied incorrectly or is damaged before applying a new coating.

There are many types of solvents commercially available. Hydrocarbon solvents, such as turpentine and benzene, are usually the most complex. Benzene is commonly used to remove paint. Oxygenated solvents are also used for solvent cleaning. They are simpler and typically more affordable than hydrocarbon solvents. Alcohols, acetates and ketones are examples of oxygenated solvents. Halogenated solvents are hydrocarbon solvents that have been chlorinated.

Water is an abundant solvent that has little impact on the environment, depending on the type of contaminant being removed. Water, however, is not grouped into the solvent cleaning family. Cleaning methods that use water as a solvent base are considered aqueous cleaning processes rather than solvent cleaning processes.


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