A Water based degreaser utilize water as the primary solvent. It remove soils not only by dissolving contaminants, but can also chemically react with the greasy contaminants and make them more readily dissolvable in water. The combination of water, solvents, surfactants, and saponifiers in a water based degreaser can be safer than solvents and often more effective at cutting through hardened on grease.
In order to really understand the advantages of today’s water based degreasers, it is necessary to have some understanding of the traditional solvent based process.
Solvent degreasing is the process where grease, oil, wax and other surface contaminants are removed from work pieces. They typically use organic solvents (such as trichloroethylene and Kerosene). Solvent degreasing is commonly carried out in metal working industries, and especially in garages and the automotive and related industries. Usually applied when cleaning things like engines and other mechanical parts that get covered in. Most degreasing solvents are, to a greater or lesser extent, harmful to health and therefore require some form of control measures to minimise or eliminate the risk to the user.
Solvents can enter the body through inhalation, skin absorption and by ingestion of contaminated food or drink.
Inhalation of solvent vapours is the most common route of exposure as solvents are usually volatile i.e. they can readily give off vapours even at room temperature.
Exposure to excessive solvents may cause health effects such as:
Irritation to the eyes, nose and throat
Strict guidelines have to be followed when using solvent based degreasers, and equipment has to be carefully designed to minimise the risk to the user. All degreasing tanks should be fitted with covers and have some form of extraction. If degreasing is carried out by hand, such as by using a rag or hand spray, adequate ventilation needs to be provided. PPE such as gloves, goggles or face shields and respirators are required, and an emergency shower and eye bath has to be available.
With recent restrictions on the purchase and use of solvents such as Trichloroethylene and Methylene Chloride there has been a move towards the development of safer, environmentally friendly degreasers.
Respirator not required
Low degree of evaporation
Universal products – one product is able to clean parts, machines and surfaces within heavy industry
Suitable for preparation of painting with water based or solvent based paints
No effect on rubbers or plastic
Does not damage painted surfaces