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Solvent Cleaning V Aqueous Cleaning – FAQs

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There still remains lots of misconceptions around the use of solvent cleaners, with many businesses using aqueous or water-based cleaning solutions because they think they’re safer – but this isn’t always the case! Instead, it’s important to consider the chemistry that is most appropriate for their needs. Whether you currently use solvent cleaning systems or aqueous solutions, you might learn something new…

These are the most frequently asked questions we receive about solvent cleaning systems versus aqueous or water-based cleaning, to bust the myths and better inform you on these popular cleaning solutions.

Are solvents bad for the environment?

Modern cleaning solvents use extremely eco-friendly chemistries, which offer a superior cleaning performance. They provide a genuine alternative to the hazardous solvents, which have now been banned or restricted, and are also low in cost.

The Chemours™ Opteon™ range of safe, environmentally friendly solvents are best in class and are approved for use in a wide range of standard cleaning systems.

Solvents now also boast low global warming potential (GWP), which is used to represent the equivalent of C02 being released into the atmosphere, where 1kg of C02 = a GWP of 1. Opteon™ SF80 – which is a new generation solvent – has a GWP of <2.5 compared to a traditional HFC-based solvent with a GWP figure of around 148.

What are the health impacts of using solvents?

There are hazardous chlorinated and brominated solvents, such as Trichloroethylene (Trike), Perchloroethylene (PERC), Methylene Chloride (MECL) and n-propyl bromide or 1-bromopropane (nPB), which pose numerous health risks. However, what many people don’t realise is that there are many safe, non-flammable solvents, which maintain compositional stability during use and have low odour and toxicity levels. And crucially, they also offer superior cleaning performance with the best solvency power in their class.

New generation cleaning agents are worthy of consideration as a replacement. SF80™ for example, is a drop-in nPB alternative. SF80 is also unique because it is not affected by any F-gas regulations, which allows businesses to make a one-step replacement, saving time and ultimately costs.

Do solvents clean better than aqueous options?

This is completely dependent on what needs to be cleaned, and to what level, but solvents offer extremely high precision cleaning, along with speed and efficiency, which shorten lead times and reduce costs.

Solvent cleaning systems are ideal for water-sensitive or difficult to dry components. SF80™, for example, can be applied to industrial cleaning applications like vapour degreasing, oil and grease removal, precision cleaning, high solvency defluxing, and silicone removal.

We look at each job individually, and then advise on the cleaning fluids, cleaning systems and equipment that will provide optimum results for your business.

If you have any other questions regarding solvent or water based cleaning, please get in touch to speak with one of our experts.

Thank You

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