Petroleum Solvent: A Good Option for Auto Shop Parts Washers?

The auto repair industry uses petroleum-based preparations to lubricate parts and formulate fuel for vehicles. Consequently, auto repair shops encounter a high level of petroleum accumulations that must be removed from repairable auto components and tools used to repair them. Often, the most efficient way to clean both objects is placing them in an enclosed parts washing system that removes petroleum coatings.

Is a Petroleum Solvent the Best Option?

Traditionally, auto repair shops that use parts washing machines for removing petroleum buildup use one of two types of cleaning solvents: chlorinated solvents or petroleum solvents. The former have a relatively well-known list of disadvantages you may already be familiar with, including:

  • Further contamination of waste with chlorinated agents, increasing waste removal cost
  • Emitting vapors that can be toxic if inhaled
  • Regulations limiting use, particularly in low emission zones (LEZs)

To avoid these and other drawbacks of using a chlorinated solvent in parts washers, some auto shops use a petroleum solvent instead. Most types of petroleum solvent don’t involve the waste removal expense of chlorinated solvents. Even so, they have some significant drawbacks of their own, such as:

  • Emitting vapors that can be toxic if inhaled
  • Fast evaporation, making it hard to control worker exposure
  • Oily residue requiring an additional cleaning
  • High flammability

Using a parts washing system without chlorinated and petroleum solvents can place auto repair shops in a difficult position, especially when they’re accustomed to using one or both of these types of solvents as a go-to cleaner. What type of solvent could they use instead?

Benefits of Acetone Solvent

One alternative is using acetone or an acetone blend whose ingredients have the same traits as acetone in terms of toxicity, efficacy, and waste removal. A powerful degreaser in the right formulation, acetone is a naturally occurring chemical compound that’s non-toxic and non-carcinogenic — two qualities that aren’t associated with chlorinated and petroleum solvent.

In addition, acetone is highly affordable to purchase and use. It won’t boost your chemical waste disposal bill. And its formulation is non-toxic enough that acetone can even be ingested without fatal results, although you would probably have a whopping case of upset stomach.

Acetone and Your Parts Washer

Because acetone works well as a degreaser, and auto shops use parts washers for degreasing, acetone can be a viable replacement for chlorinated solvent and petroleum solvent. First, though, ensure your parts washer would accommodate acetone or an acetone blend. If so, using acetone may offer a safer, less expensive way to degrease auto parts and tools than using a petroleum solvent.

About Ecolink

Ecolink is a supplier of environmentally safe and environmentally preferred parts cleaning solvents for a variety of parts washers. We provide both stock and custom solutions, and supply free samples so you can see the results of a solvent before you place an order.

To explore acetone options for your parts washer, call us today at 800-563-1305, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to supporting your cleaning needs!