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How to remove grease

Date: 28 July 2022 | Category: How to...

Removing grease from metal components, machinery and surfaces is an essential part of a huge variety of industrial and manufacturing activities. Machines need to be clean to run efficiently. Old parts need to be cleaned before repair. Manufactured items need to be cleaned before finishing, packing and shipping.

Safetykleen’s parts cleaning services include a range of fast, effective ways to remove grease from parts, tools and products.

Why remove grease?

The reasons for removing grease will vary depending on where it’s building up: in your machines, tools and equipment, or on the products you make.

While regular lubrication of moving parts is usually a good thing, a build-up of old, dirty grease on industrial equipment can reduce performance and increase the speed at which components wear out. And that will increase your cost of production.

The risk from grease that builds up on items during production and manufacturing is slightly different. Fail to remove it properly at the right points in the process and you may cause problems in subsequent stages of production and finishing, especially if they involve coating and painting. Grease can also make quality control harder whether you do it manually or automatically.

How do you remove grease effectively?

In many cases, the process businesses follow to remove grease is time-consuming, repetitive, wasteful and surprisingly labour intensive:

  • Wiping away the bulk of the grease
  • Applying a detergent or solvent to break up grease
  • Scrubbing to remove grease built up in threads, corners and holes
  • Rinsing the surface
  • Thorough drying to reduce the risk of rust

And even if you follow that process religiously there’s a risk that the end results will vary from degreased part to degreased part.

There is a better way.

Safetykleen degreasing solutions

Safetykleen’s all-in-one parts cleaning service provides you with an automatic parts washer filled with specially formulated degreasing fluids. And this alone can transform your approach to cleaning grease from metal.

The process is similar to the dishwasher you might have in your kitchen:

  1. You load dirty items into the machine
  2. You select the cleaning cycle you want to run
  3. You press go

The machine cleans the parts, removing grease to a consistent standard that’s right for you in a predictable length of time. And while it runs, you can get on with other tasks.

This approach uses modern degreasing chemical solutions that are water-based rather than flammable solvent-based, reducing both workplace risk and environmental impact. Those degreasing fluids will be recycled multiple times to minimise material costs, and will include special treatments that prevent flash rusting as the cleaned parts dry.

Our grease removal products

Our industrial parts washers deliver the powerful degreasing performance of solvent-based cleaning but without the need for harsh, hazardous chemicals.

Multi-item degreasing

Our Aquakleen Automatic parts washers can remove grease from many parts in a single load, or clean large items quickly, leaving your team free to work on other things.

Ultrasonic grease removal

For higher levels of degreasing performance, our Sonickleen ultrasonic cleaners are ideal if you’re cleaning complex shapes and intricate components like carburettors, turbo units, heat exchangers, gearboxes, cylinder heads, PCBs and even optics.

High-speed degreasers

Even manual grease removal doesn’t have to be slow. Our high-pressure machines clean up to 10 times faster than traditional manual parts washers.

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Grease removal FAQs

What types of grease are there?

Grease is a type of lubricant. Lubricants can classified into four types: oils, greases, penetrating lubricants and dry lubricants. Greases themselves are classified into Mineral, Synthetic and Semi-synthetic. You will also see them categorised as oil-based, water-based and silicone-based, or simply by intended use.

Why are greases used?

Using grease for lubrication reduces friction, extends life of components and control temperatures. This is particularly important on frictional components such as chains, linkages, bearings and gears.

Why does grease build up?

Lubrication is usually specified by component manufacturers, and their specification usually includes the top-up interval (usually in running hours). Some people do not clean with every top-up, effectively layering grease upon grease. In addition, grease breaks down as it used. Heat causes carbonisation. Water and moisture causes emulsification, contamination (dust, swarf and grit) causes parts to wear. These combine with, or become trapped in the grease, changing its properties and effectively adding mass.

How do you choose the right grease?

The main considerations for grease choice are the conditions in which it will be used. Temperature determines lubricant base oil type. Speed determines the viscosity required at operating temperature. Load, vibration and moisture levels determine the additives.