What Steps are Necessary to Transition from One Vapor Degreasing Fluid to Another?

Transitioning from one vapor degreasing fluid to another requires careful planning and execution to ensure a smooth and effective process. The following steps outline the necessary procedures:

  1. Initiate an on-site cleaning assessment to gather information on specific requirements, part sizes, substrates, contamination, and equipment.
  2. Identify suitable fluid replacements by assessing gathered information and matching new cleaning fluids to the cleaning objectives.
  3. Conduct in-lab pre-testing on sample parts with various replacement fluids and methods to identify the most effective combinations.
  4. Conduct on-site testing to assess replacement performance in an operational environment for cleaning efficiency and quality.
  5. Explore customized fluid solutions tailored to the facility's needs if initial testing does not meet requirements.

Essential Steps for Cleaning, Neutralizing, and Passivating a Vapor Degreaser

Once a replacement cleaning fluid has been selected, it is time to prepare your vapor degreaser. Plan the switch carefully, conduct a thorough cleaning, neutralization, and passivation of the vapor degreaser before conversion. Consult with a critical cleaning expert to ensure the process is undertaken correctly.

Observe Safety Precautions

  • Wear Protective Gear: Use gloves, goggles, and appropriate clothing.
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation: Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Follow Safety Protocols: Have two individuals present during the process and ensure solvent vapors are evacuated before entering or reaching into the vapor degreaser.

Remove Old Solvents

  • Drain the degreaser and remove all used solvents, thoroughly emptying residual solvent from water separators, spray reservoirs, filters, and pipes.
  • Remove all filter cartridges and drain them.
  • Use mild soap or non-abrasive scouring powder to clean any walls or surfaces that encounter the solvent. Rinse all surfaces with clean water and completely drain the system.


  • Fill the degreaser with warm water, ensuring coverage of the primary condensing coils.
  • Add 1-1/2 ounces of sodium bicarbonate (or soda ash) per gallon of water and mix thoroughly.
  • Heat the water to approximately 120°F (50°C) and circulate the solution throughout the system to ensure effective metal neutralization.
  • Monitor the water's pH and adjust as needed to maintain alkalinity.
  • Drain the water from the degreaser, water separator, and spray wand, then refill with fresh, clean water, circulating for 30 minutes.


  • Prepare a 7% citric acid solution by slowly introducing citric acid into water.
  • Fill the degreaser to a level above the primary condenser coils.
  • Heat the citric acid solution to 120-160°F and circulate it through all internal components for approximately two hours.
  • Drain the citric acid solution and refill the degreaser with fresh rinse water, circulating for 30 minutes.
  • Drain the rinse water and repeat the rinsing process to ensure thorough cleaning.

Dispose Solvents Properly

Properly dispose of all chemicals, solutions, and rinse water following local, state, and federal hazardous waste regulations.

Post-Transition Protocol

Extract a sample approximately three weeks into the new fluid use and analyze it for any remaining traces of the old solvent. If traces are detected, promptly dispose of the solvent and refill with the new fluid to prevent gradual deterioration of the degreaser.