Article | What is degreaser used for?

A degreaser is a cleaning agent used to dissolve grease and oil from hard surfaces. Many degreasers contain chemicals or solvents designed to cause a chemical reaction to change the state of substance and make it easier to remove.

Other degreasers use a water base in order to create a ‘lift’ in the grease so that it floats to the top of the water and creates a residue which can then be removed via a number of separation techniques.


Degreasers are used in a vast range of applications.  The most commonly used degreasers are water-based, solvent-based and degreasers derived from natural sources.

  1. Solvent-based degreasers – solvent-based cleaners contain chemicals and are most commonly used in the following sectors:
  • Automotive
  • Rail
  • Marine
  • Aerospace
  • Mechanical
  • Power
  • Oil and gas

These degreasers contain harmful elements which pose a health and safety risk if not handled correctly and may have a negative impact on the environment.

  1. Water-based degreasers – water-based cleaners are excellent for lighter applications in the following sectors:
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Food and beverage production

These cleaners can be hazardous – they can cause minor skin or eye irritation. However, this is to a lesser degree than the potential damage caused by the chemicals used in solvent-based cleaners. They are kinder to the environment are therefore preferred by most businesses.

The water base means that these degreasers suitable in applications where heavy-duty grease or oil removal is not a concern.

  1. Natural degreasers – degreasers containing natural ingredients such as distilled vinegar, baking soda, orange, corn, and soap have good degreasing properties for smaller applications in the following areas:
  • Households
  • Care homes
  • Hospitals
  • Schools

This is because natural degreasers do not contain toxic chemicals, and therefore the effects on contact with skin and eyes or when ingested or inhaled are minimal.

Although natural degreasers are highly effective in smaller applications, they are not strong enough to tackle heavier, industrial applications.

Speak to one of our experts at NCH Asia to determine which industrial degreaser is best suited to your industrial needs.

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