From Rags to Rinses

It will come as no surprise to anyone who is involved with industrial parts cleaning that rinsing is an expensive but important part of the process.  Although it may not reduce your wardrobe to “rags,” proper rinsing can put a sizeable dent in the cleaning budget.  Let’s talk a minute about how to reduce the cost of rinsing.

The purpose of rising, of course, is to dilute and remove the stuff left over from the washing process.  By this, I mean chemical residues and maybe a small amount of the original contaminant that’s mixed in with the chemical dragout.  WARNING – If you count on the rinse to remove the original contaminant, then you need to fix your washing process.  Rinses are not intended to remove bulk contaminant.  The most common rinsing media is clean water.  How clean depends on what you are rinsing and the cleanliness specification.  Ideally, the last thing the cleaned part should see before drying is the cleanest possible rinse water.

One way to assure that rinse water is clean is to only use it once.  If water was free (and it usually isn’t) it would be simple enough to just spray the cleaned parts with fresh water or dip them in a rinse that is continually replenished at high volume.  In the real world, either of these options turns out to be prohibitively expensive for most applications.  This is especially true if the water requires filtration or purification prior to use or if the rinse water needs to be heated.  At the very least, there will be disposal costs.  Remember, waste disposal is a major cost of the cleaning process too.

Fortunately, there are schemes that provide excellent rinsing using minimum amounts of water.  An article entitled Ten Minutes to Better Rinsing (just click it) is an excellent reference that is well worth reading.  It describes not only how rinsing works, but how you can reduce water consumption and save money while still providing excellent rinsing.  In many cases, simple and inexpensive in-house modifications to existing equipment can drastically reduce rinse water consumption.  I think you may be surprised at how much and how little there is to know about rinsing.  With a little effort, proper rinsing techniques may turn rags to riches for you and your parts cleaning operation.

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