If you are having trouble with foam in your parts washer, it’s most likely due to one of four things: 

  1. Running the machine at a temperature lower than the soap manufacturer suggests.
  2. Washing off animal fats or natural oils, which are becoming more common with the movement towards making environmentally friendly products for lubrication.
  3. Washing off mold release agents or buffing compounds. These often have natural oils or animal fats in them and they can cause foam.
  4. The chemistry could be saturated with soils and the de-foaming agents in the soap can’t overcome the saturation.

So, how do you prevent foaming?

Start by getting the safety data sheet and technical data sheet for your soap and see what temperature it suggests running your system at. Make sure you are at this minimum.  If that doesn’t completely solve the issue, get a sample of the solution in the tank and let it sit in a room temperature environment. Once it cools down and isn’t being stirred, the soils in the chemistry that have been cleaned off of the parts will begin to fall out and settle at the bottom. The greases and oils will float to the top. Carefully look this over and determine if there is too much soil or floating oils. If so, change out the solution (following local, state and county environmental codes). 

If you are cleaning especially dirty parts, wipe off as much grease, oil, buffing compound or whatever before you put the part in and clean it. This will help extend the life of the bath.  Lastly, if all of these things don’t help, contact your chemical supplier. They have almost definitely had this same problem in the past and can offer solutions for you to try. 

Foam doesn’t have to be an issue for your parts washer. By following these simple steps, you can rid yourself of recurring foaming issues and get on with the task at hand.