How to Safely Use a Solvent Cleaner

As described in Chapter 3 of the Adhesives Technology Handbook*, “solvent cleaning is the process of removing soil from a surface with an organic solvent without physically or chemically altering the material being cleaned. This includes methods such as vapor degreasing, spraying, immersion, and mechanical or ultrasonic scrubbing.” This post describes how to safely use a volatile solvent cleaner with a low flash point.

Solvent Cleaner Flash Points

Solvent cleaners have different flashpoints. In chemistry, the flash point of a volatile material is the lowest temperature at which its vapors ignite if given an ignition source. In brief, the lower the flashpoint the more flammable they are. This is important when using a solvent cleaner.

The American Chemical Society publishes a table of common organic solvents that includes flash points. Examples of low flash point volatile solvents are 1-propanol at 59⁰F (15⁰C), acetone at -4⁰F (-20⁰C)  and toluene at 39⁰F (4⁰C). … Read the rest