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What’s The Difference? Aqueous Cleaning Solutions Vs. Petroleum Solvents

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

When it comes to parts cleaning, companies want a solution that is effective and safe for the workplace. This article will describe the differences between petroleum solvents and aqueous cleaning solutions. 

Petroleum Cleaning Solvents

According to Thurston County Business Pollution Prevention Program, mineral spirits and other chlorinated solvents are used for parts cleaning because they quickly dissolve oil, grease, grime, and burnt- on carbon. Although these solvents are very effective, they continue to raise significant environmental, health, and economic concerns. Petroleum solvents can be costly and potentially toxic to dispose of making it an effective solvent for cleaning but hazardous during the aftermath. The chemicals are toxic enough to increase the risk of cancer for the people who are involved. Employers can try and control the exposure but petroleum solvents evaporate quickly making the process difficult. An advantage to petroleum solvents is the start up costs are typically cheaper than other solvents. However, overall a business will still spend more during the disposal process as well as that these solvents sometimes leave residue that needs for the parts to be washed again. 

Vs.

Aqueous Cleaning Solutions 

According to United States Environmental Protection Agency, aqueous solutions are water based cleaners that, unlike petroleum based solvents, are typically nonflammable and contain little or no VOCs. Instead of dissolving grease and solids, aqueous cleaners rely on heat, agitation, and soap action to break dirt into smaller particles. Although they clean differently, aqueous cleaners perform as well as solvents. A lot of businesses have switched to aqueous cleaning solutions because it provides a safer work environment and the disposal process is simpler and less hazardous than other solvents and mineral spirits. These cleaning solvents have a high start up cost but save money overall with effective cleaning and easy disposal process. 

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