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


[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


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 […]
September 2022

The Value of Direct Interaction

The Cleaning Lady and the Rocket Scientist were LIVE and in person at the recent Parts Cleaning Conference in Chicago. The refrain of the new normal goes something like: “Yippee! We’re talking to each other face-to-face, in person.” Was the conference useful?  In our opinion, yes. The Parts Cleaning Conference […]
August 2022

The Power of Hydrogen: pH and Aqueous Cleaning Agents

We all know that “oil and water don’t mix,” that like dissolves like. We’ve heard statements that solvents (organic solvents) work for non-polar soils while water works for salts. Critical product cleaning, like life, is complex; and the range of soils even for a given manufacturing situation are more varied. […]
July 2022

Supply Chains and Critical Cleaning

If you are involved in manufacturing, if you are part of a supply chain, rugged critical cleaning processes will improve your productivity and profitability. You may be an OEM, a job shop, even a repair/rework facility. You may be the ultimate customer and have little or no direct contact with […]
July 2022

Degreasing and Fireworks

In line with Independence Day fireworks, here’s breaking news! The U.S. EPA is taking steps that will likely severely restrict use of chlorinated and brominated solvents used by manufacturers in critical cleaning and degreasing. On June 30, the EPA announced that they are revising their risk assessment for perchloroethylene (PCE). […]
May 2022

Higher Profits with Less Water

The Cleaning Lady and the Rocket Scientists are in California where there is a water shortage, so the water from cleaning veggies goes directly on our tomato plants. Water is a limited, valuable resource. In manufacturing, using water strategically in critical cleaning can cut the costs of the cleaning process […]