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Parts Washer Proper Soap Concentration

The proper chemical concentration in your Parts Washer
Prevents rusting, Minimizes soap use, Produces Better Rinses

Not enough wash chemical is just as bad as too much chemical. Too little chemical is not effective at cleaning and can cause other problems. Corrosion of the parts washer is one of the worst caused by low chemical concentrations.  Alkaline parts washer detergents, like Power Kleen, protect the steel cabinet through several mechanisms.  Alkalinity in and of itself provides some amount of corrosion protection. Additionally, a well formulated cleaning chemistry will have corrosion inhibitors built into the formula. Maintaining a minimum 2 % to 3 % active chemical charge will protect the steel in your parts washer cabinet from rust and corrosion. To determine the “active” chemical concentration you must do a pH test.  If your incoming water is “hard” part of the alkalinity of an initial chemical charge is used up in a chemical reaction with the hard water. The pH above 10.5 to 11 will tell you there is sufficient alkalinity to prevent corrosion.

Too much chemical is wasteful and may not rinse well.  Chemical is one of the washing consumables and using too much, increases your operating costs.  Some chemical manufactures “bulk” up their chemical with fillers that contribute to additional waste disposal.  Thus minimizing chemical usage reduces costs in two ways. The four parameters of cleaning are – time, temperature, chemical and mechanical energy.  Vary these parameters to optimize your cleaning and minimize your costs.

Rusted Parts Washer

Rust Caused by Low Chemical Concentration

The mechanical energy of your washer is probably fixed but make sure you are using it to its best advantage.  Position parts so the dirtiest portion is facing the vertical spray manifold.  Position parts so that washing solution doesn’t pool in cavities and prevent direct blast from the spray nozzles. Make sure your spray manifold nozzles are clean and not clogged.  Next, if you can, increase the washing temperature.  It is generally more cost effective to wash at a higher temperature than to add more chemical.  Oils and greases have a melting temperature that is within the range of wash temperatures.  A higher wash temperature will cause the oils and grease to flow like water. Next, increase the wash time to that required of your process.  There is no point in having a wash load finished in 8 minutes if the average required process time for the parts is 20 minutes.  This uses slightly more mechanical energy but saves in the long run by minimizing your chemical use. Finally, after the other three cleaning parameters are optimized increase the chemical concentration to achieve the cleaning results you desire.

It is best to increase the heat or lengthen the wash time or both to improve cleaning rather than increasing the chemical concentration.  If adding additional chemical results in no improvement in cleaning, it may also be time to change out the bath.

Finally, less washing chemical makes it easier for the rinse system to thoroughly rinse the parts.  Rinsing is essential dilution of the wash water on your parts with fresh water.   The less chemical in your wash water the better your rinse system performs.