January 2024

Degreasers

The term “degreaser“ is confusing. Any cleaning chemistry or cleaning process that removes oils and greases is doing the task of degreasing. Degreasing chemicals might be water based with additives that promote dissolving non-polar substances. They may be organic solvents which inherently have solubility for oils. The term degreaser is […]
December 2023

Traditions of the Season and Process Change

To The Cleaning Lady, nostalgia includes hand-grating potatoes for Chanukkah latkes; and bandaging the inevitable minor knuckle scrapes. Nostalgia includes one lonely Menorah with orange candles set high on a mantlepiece (the elders were afraid that the Cleaning Lady would set fire to the house). Nostalgia for The Rocket Scientist […]
October 2023

Part 2: Real Costs of Changing the Cleaning Process – Shortcuts and Consequences

Product manufacturers are likely to change the product cleaning process in the next two to five years. Regulatory happenings, notably from the U.S. EPA Amended TSCA and PFAS concerns may mean that well-established cleaning agents are not available. As a result, manufacturers may be drawn into a frenzied effort to […]
September 2023

Real Costs of Changing the Cleaning Process

Changing to a new product cleaning process costs time and money. Do it correctly, and manufacturing becomes more productive – quality improves, customers are happy, defect rate decreases, the company makes more money. Fail to consider the scope of the effort, and process change is likely to be a frustrating, […]
August 2023

Why Clean?

When we see clients, one of the first questions we ask is: Why? Why are you cleaning the part or component or product? How did you come to choose the cleaning process and cleaning chemicals? Why are you changing the process? Why are you looking at a particular type of […]
July 2023

Is There Perchloroethylene in my Aqueous Cleaning Agent?

After a recent program, a concerned attendee wanted to know: “Is there perchloroethylene in my aqueous cleaning agent?” Barbara’s first thought was to respond that it’s like asking “Is there chicken soup in my cupcake?” Perchloroethylene (PCE), an organic solvent, used in liquid/vapor degreasing, has a different skill set – […]
July 2023

Rust

[This article first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Clean Source] Yellow, Orange, Gold – Rust! Beautiful as autumn colors, desirable as a patina on some sculptures, terrible on manufactured parts. Corrosion compromises product quality, both by direct impact on surface quality and by contributing to contamination. In critical cleaning, […]
May 2023

Chemophobia

It’s an emergency! Regulators decide that the cleaning agent is unsafe for workers, neighborhoods, and/or the environment. Manufacturers are faced with the capital costs, testing, and performance verification associated with finding a substitute chemical and changing an established effective cleaning process. Within a few years, there’s another emergency. Regulators decide […]
April 2023

Cleaning with Organic Solvents, Part 2: Iso-paraffins and Modified Alcohols

Professor Darren Williams, Sam Houston State University Barbara Kanegsberg and Ed Kanegsberg, BFK Solutions LLC Manufacturers are exploring critical cleaning processes that use a modified alcohol, or an iso-paraffinic blend. There are a number of reasons. Some manufacturers find that aqueous cleaning does not provide the appropriate cleaning efficacy. Many […]
March 2023

Cleaning with Organic Solvents, Part 1: Names and Structure

Manufacturers are exploring moving to new critical product cleaning processes that use either organic solvents or water blended with a bunch of chemicals, including organic chemicals. We’re going to get to know a little about molecules. Why bother? Perhaps you are reading product literature that asserts superlative cleaning performance of […]
January 2023

Interesting Times for Manufacturers

“May you live in interesting times” is a thinly-veiled curse, one that no doubt resonates with manufacturers involved in critical product cleaning. In the United States, current interesting times arise from a confluence of multiple factors. One set of factors is the regulatory activities at the Federal and State level […]
October 2022

Critical Cleaning, Wettability and Solvency

To clean effectively, the cleaning agent must access the surfaces of the product. In contrast with flat surfaces, it is very difficult to reach all the surfaces of complex, ornate, or miniature products. Electronics assemblies with spacing below 0.005” (125µ) are not as readily cleaned. The more surface area, the […]