The bath temperature of your cleaning tank is critical to getting the best results. Whether you are cleaning by hand with a brush, using a pressure spray cabinet, a submersion agitation tank, a submersion tank with pressure nozzles or eductors, or an ultrasonic tank, water temperature is key.
Just like when Goldilocks broke into the home of the Three Bears, she tasted the first porridge and it was too hot. Then she tasted the next porridge-too cold. Once she moved over to the third porridge, you guessed it, just right. But this was according to Goldilocks taste preference. Some other intruder with different taste sensations may have had an entirely different experience with temperature.
Same thing goes with industrial cleaning applications. There is no one magical temperature for all. What determines the bath temperature involves several factors.
- What contaminant are you removing?
- What chemistry are you using?
- What type of material are you cleaning: plastic, soft metal, hard metal, graphite etc?
- What is the desired outcome – how clean does it need to be?
- Is there another step following the cleaning process?
We all know that cleaning in hot water is better than cold based on years of dish washing experience. Then why not go with the hottest water possible, almost boiling, and cut to the chase?
Because cleaning soaps break down and fail at different temperatures. Having the correct detergent to decouple contaminants from surfaces is even more important than the bath temperature in most cases. If you destroy the detergent formulation, you won’t achieve your cleaning results, regardless of how hot you operate the bath.
Because plastics will warp and generally deform in fluids that are above their melting point.
Because soft metal surfaces can get scarred or develop star bursts on the surfaces during ultrasonic cleaning. Surface scarring will show through even in secondary plating processes. Extremely hot water is very detrimental in this situation.
Because cleaning personnel could encounter serious safety issues such as burns, when the bath fluid is extremely hot.
If your application deals with removing heavy greases, mold release or carbons from cast iron surfaces, then the hotter the better. But in most cleaning applications, you need to operate in an operating range of 120 – 150°F which is fairly hot as it is.
So just like Goldilocks, getting your bath cleaning temperature “just right” is key to cleaning success