Using Alkaline Cleaners

Industrial cleaning is essential in the fabrication of any product. Unless parts and surfaces are properly sanitized and cleaned, products may form incorrectly or become contaminated. Many types of cleaners, disinfectants, and sanitizers are manufactured daily — but alkaline cleaners are significantly more effective than others, and the sanitation chemical supplier Bell Chem can tell you why. Alkaline cleaners may act as alkaline builder salts, chelators, emulsifiers, and surfactants. Learn how each role is played out with which chemicals below. 

  • Alkaline builder salts: Depending on the metal substrate being cleaned, alkaline builder salts may include carbonates, caustic potash, caustic soda, phosphates, or silicates.

    • Caustic potash and caustic soda are highly acidic and work on hard metals. Through saponification (creating soap via reactions of alkaline materials with fatty acid lubricants), alkaline builder salts break apart grease and oils as they neutralize acids.

    • Softer metals, such as aluminum and brass, require medium alkalinity in silicate alkaline builder salts. Medium alkalinity cleansers tend to leave scale if not rinsed quickly after cleaning.

    • Phosphate alkaline builder salts are good water conditioners and are considered safe on soft metals such as potassium and lithium.

  • Chelators (sequestering agents): Many metal ions adhere to surfactants, which inhibits a cleaner from working properly. A chelator clumps metal ions together, causing them to be released from surfactants.

  • Emulsifiers: Adding an emulsifier to a cleaner allows fats to be broken apart before a surfactant is able to neutralize them.

  • Surfactants (surface active agents): Soluble in either oil or water, surfactants lift and hold oils within a solution, helping to easily rinse oils from surfaces. Heat acts as a catalyst for surfactants, rapidly expediting the process.

Bell Chem, the sanitation chemical supplier, is based in Longwood, FL (just north of Orlando) with hundreds of products — including alkaline cleaners — stocked in our 50,000+ square-foot warehouse. You can expect the highest quality products, expedited shipping options for maximum efficiency, and unrivaled personalized customer service. Let our knowledgeable and friendly customer service representatives and accounting staff personalize all your needs by either calling 407-339-BELL (2355) or by sending us an online message.