Chemical Cleaning

Cleaning is an important first step to prepare the part for other surface finishing operations. Chemical Cleaning dissolves and/or displaces contaminants and produces a surface ready for more specialized finishing processes.

Allegheny Surface Technology provides a broad range of chemical cleaning services for high nickel alloys including stainless steel. Whether you need simple degreasing or critical cleaning for oxygen service, Allegheny Surface will get your job done.

Chemical Cleaning Method Description Uses (examples)
Acid Cleaning Primarily used to remove tarnish and oxides and to brighten non-ferrous metals. Although some limited cleaning of organic soils (such as oils) is possible with some acidic chemistries, they are rarely used for general cleaning. It is not unusual, however, to use an acidic chemistry to brighten work previously processed with an alkaline cleaner and a rinse. Removes hard water stains, mineral deposits and discoloration.
Alkaline Cleaning Most commonly used cleaners for removing oils, greases and general soils. There are numerous chemistries available depending upon the type and degree of contamination, the material to be cleaned, the type of cleaning equipment used and the subsequent use of the cleaned surface. Removes fingerprints, oils, fats, greases and proteins.
Aqueous Cleaning Contains water as its primary solvent with the addition of any of the following: surfactants and detergents, emulsifiers, inhibitors, anti-foaming agents, pH buffers, builders, deflocculants, and chelating agents. By altering the pH of the aqueous solution, it can more effectively remove different substances. Offers a safer working environment as they have a low volatile organic compound (VOC) content and emit fewer odors than solvents.
pH Neutral Cleaning The mildest of cleaners, and are preferred when soils are light. Generally they are environmentally friendly. Depending on local codes and the composition of the soils that become part of the mix during use, spent cleaning solutions may often be disposed of without further treatment. The pH is similar to that of human skin which minimizes risk of skin irritation. Easy on surfaces, but still an effective cleaner.
Hot Water Cleaning Temperature has a significant effect on cleaning efficiency in most applications. Generally, the hotter the cleaning solution, the faster the cleaning occurs. Hot water dissolves more material than cold water, great for food syrups and sugar or salt crusts.
Bead Blasting Uses tiny spherical beads of plastic, glass, or other material to remove impurities from a metal’s surface. Using a high-pressure air or water powered spraying tool, the media is propelled onto the part to clean its surface. The impact of the beads removes contamination without damage or dimensional change. A metal cleaning process that creates a clean, bright, uniform matte texture. Removes paint, rust and corrosion.
High-Pressure Spray Cleaning This procedure utilizes the kinetic energy of a water jet to “blast” the particles and soils from a surface. It is most often used in conjunction with detergents or surfactants to chemically loosen or solubilize the soils in order for the water jet to more effectively remove the contaminants from the surface. The ability to vary the water pressure, nozzle size and/or spray pattern allows this method to be easily customizable for different materials of construction and soil compositions. Eliminates the buildup and growth that contributes to deep stains, decay and erosion of coatings. Removes salt deposits, hardened gums and grease stains.
Flush Cleaning Using a turbulent velocity, cleaning liquids are flooded through the interior of tubes, pipes, and other internal pathways to flush the contaminants out of the hardware or component as it rotates. This method is particularly useful for precision cleaning of components of varying shape and size for which high-pressure sprays are not useful. Cleaning piping or tubing systems.

To choose a proper chemical cleaning method, several factors should be considered, including:

  • Time: The results in the cleaning process rely heavily on the amount of time spent. If you increase the amount of cleaning time, the chemistry behind the product has a better chance of breaking up soils and being more effective.
  • Temperature: Higher temperatures aid in chemical productivity. To put it simply, the cleaning process becomes faster and easier as temperature increases. Higher temperatures also decrease the viscosity in soils, allowing for easier removal.
  • Mechanical Action: Desired results occur when optimal chemical reaction and mechanical action takes place. Agitation can help break up soils, increase wash efficiency and reduce wash time.
  • Chemical Reaction: The type of chemical being applied will affect how the soil is removed from the surface. Understanding how to utilize the right chemical is critical in achieving the desired level of clean.


  • ✓ Tanks and vessels
  • ✓ Filter Housings
  • ✓ Medical device parts
  • ✓ Hoppers
  • ✓ Baskets/bins
  • ✓ Piping and tubing
  • ✓ Heat exchangers
  • ✓ Steam Lines
  • ✓ Sinks, work surfaces, carts
  • ✓ Conveyors
  • ✓ Process line equipment
  • ✓ Autoclave / sterilizer units
  • ✓ Holding and IBC tanks