Different Types of Industrial Parts Washers

parts cleaning, parts washers

Choosing the right industrial parts washer for your application can be a daunting task, with the numerous options available in the market. Various factors must be considered when purchasing an industrial parts washer for your business, such as the range of cleaning solutions to use with the parts washer; whether to go for manual, automated, agitation or ultrasonic machines; the machine’s effects on worker health and safety; and, environmental concerns that come with particular parts washers.

Parts washers are a staple in various manufacturing, re-manufacturing, assembly, maintenance and repair operations and are used to remove contaminants and debris, including dirt, grime, dust, carbon, oil, grease, metal chips, chemicals, ink, paint, residue, and corrosion from components and parts. This is done to prepare the parts for surface treatment, assembly, inspection or shipment.

With all the different options available, deciding on which type of parts washer to buy is no small matter. Not all of these machines are created equal, and there are many elements to take into account to ensure that you are purchasing the appropriate parts washer for your application.

Types of Parts Washers Based on Cleaners

Solvent-Based Parts Washers

Traditional petroleum-based solvents were typically used for parts washing for many decades. However, they have lost their popularity due to the risks they posed to worker health and safety and the environment.

Alternative safety solvents are now available in the market that are low hazard and replace common hazardous and dangerous industrial solvents. These safer chemicals offer reduced environmental compliance costs and health and safety risks.

Aqueous-Based Parts Washers

Aqueous cleaners are pH-neutral and water-based. These are often used with jet sprayers or power washers.

Biologicals Parts Washers

Biological parts cleaning involves a combination of water-based surfactants and microorganisms (usually in tablet form) that transform pollutants into food and energy, thus regenerating the solution and making it available for re-use.

Types of Parts Washers Based on Functionality

Rotary Parts Washers

Rotary parts washers utilise a blend of spray and flood cleaning technology. The spray removes oils, dust and debris from the part exterior, and the solution flushes out contaminants from hollow areas or blind holes of the component while it is immersed. This type of parts washer is ideal for those with high-volume cleaning requirements each day. Whilst parts are rotated during the cleaning process, the machine doesn’t cause damage to parts and handle them with care.

Immersion Parts Washers

As the name suggests, immersion parts washers are used by submerging components in cleaning solution inside the tank. Grease, oils, soiling, dust, debris and other contaminants are removed either by automatic agitation, or scrubbing (manual or with the use of impellers or paddlers). Some examples of applications for immersion parts washers include general purpose cleaning, surface preparation, container cleaning, degreasing, and descaling.

High Pressure Spray Cabinet Parts Washers

In a high-pressure spray cabinet parts washer, components are loaded through a door at the front. The parts are subjected to high pressure and heated solution composed of water, cleaning chemicals, or detergent. This type of parts washer is ideal for cleaning parts of any size, including oversized ones.

Ultrasonic Parts Washers

Ultrasonic parts washers use ultrasound technology (at 20 to 400 kHz) to produce cavitation bubbles through high-frequency sounds to agitate the cleaning solution. The agitation enables contaminants in deep holes, cracks and crevices to be removed which cannot otherwise be cleaned by normal high-pressure sprays or immersion.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Parts Washer

Several other aspects that you need to consider when choosing a parts washer for your business include:

  • What is the material composition of the parts you need to clean?
  • How big or small are the parts?
  • Are the parts delicate or durable?
  • What types of soiling do you need to remove?
  • What is the cleanliness level required?
  • What type of cleaning chemical do you want to use?
  • How do you plan to deal with the waste generated by the parts washer?
  • How much risk are you willing to take on in terms of your workers’ health and safety?
  • How will your organization’s parts cleaning operations affect the environment?

Red Flags When Purchasing Parts Washers

When trying to choose a parts washer, keep an eye out for these red flags:

  • Untested and unproven technology – Unscrupulous suppliers abound in every industry, and there will be many companies that will present questionable claims about their parts washers. Be diligent in your research and background checks of companies. Ask if you can talk to their current customers to find out how satisfied they are with the products. Request to see the machines in action so you can determine how well they work first-hand.
  • Fly-by-night companies – Make sure that the company you are talking to has an established history in the industry. New, legit companies will have a verifiable physical address, a working website and several ways to be contacted, such as an email and phone numbers.
  • Costing that sounds too good to be true – Most, if not all, parts washers will cost a lot of money upfront to purchase. If the supplier gives you a quote that sounds to good to be true, it may be that the machine is not all they are making it out to be. As a rule, get quotes from different suppliers so you can compare the pricing.


Industrial parts washers come in many sizes, functionalities and differ in the cleaning chemicals to be used. They are a significant but necessary investment, especially considering the number of hours your workers spend cleaning parts and the volume of components they clean on a daily basis. If you are looking for a parts washer for your business, Envirofluid has several options for you depending on your unique applications.

For more information on our parts washers, contact us at 1800 777 580 or sales@envirofluid.com.

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