Myths of Cleaning
Myth 1 of 8: Water is Obviously “Cheaper” than Solvents
Regular city water alone won’t clean anything. It needs surfactants and detergents that lower surface tension and remove soils. These are consumed during cleaning and need replenishing. Higher temperatures are needed to activate cleaning chemistry, which is important for ensuring good wetting and evaporation after rinsing, but that consumes energy. Also, an aqueous cleaning system needs rinse and dry units.
In contrast, a solvent cleaning system uses significantly less energy for heating and drying. It occupies less space for an equivalent throughput and being less complex and needs less maintenance. Furthermore, the solvents are usually recovered and recycled. So, while a gallon of solvent cleaner may cost more than the same amount of aqueous cleaner, a solvent cleaning process has lower energy costs and consumes no water. The maintenance spend is lower and, being smaller, the process may carry lower overheads.