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Vapor degreaser leaves polishing compound on aluminum

Q. We are experiencing problems with our vapor degreaser. After polishing the aluminum cases, the polish process leaves a light residue of polishing compound on the surface of the part.

After we degrease these parts we are left with a residue or drip of chemical & compound at the bottom edge of the parts. Then we must wipe off every piece to clean the drip mark.

The chemical we use for cleaning these parts is Perchlorethylene. We also have used Trichlorethlene.

Maybe someone has had these problems before?

Vito D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Mfg. of cosmetic containers - Brooklyn, New York, USA

A. Hi Vito. Your degreaser is not malfunctioning. Vapor degreasing can sound like a good approach to cleaning aluminum, considering that other approaches have issues, such as the fact that aluminum is attacked by strong alkali, cannot be electrocleaned, and can be galvanically attacked if mixed metals are aqueously cleaned. In some instances, vapor degreasing is a good way to clean aluminum!

But the thing is, vapor degreasing isn't especially appropriate for removing polishing compounds because the problem you are experiencing is common and it's inherent: the vapor dissolves the waxes, soaps, or other organic binders in the polishing compound, and they run down off the parts, but it leaves the dry abrasives behind on the parts.

Power washers or ultrasonics are probably a better tool for removing polishing compounds from aluminum. Good luck!


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
October 22, 2012

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