Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

August, 2003

Solvents to Clean Spray Equipment

Q. We are trying to locate a solvent or solvents that would be effective for our customers to clean their spray booth equipment... guns, automated spray systems, feed lines, etc. Our primary customers are large wood finishers - furniture and cabinet manufacturers - so the coatings being cleaned are primarily sealers, lacquers and stains... though some industrial customers also use primers, enamels, etc.

We manufacture a product that is used to eliminate the self-heating and spontaneous combustion hazards in the filter wastes - both dry filters and water curtain wastes - thereby eliminating the D001 ignitable characteristic. The wastes become safe for standard Subtitle D landfills (assuming no other characteristic exists such as toxicity)

However - many of our potential customers who wish to use the product face a problem:

Most use standard solvents such as acetone, toluene, xylene, etc., to spray through their guns and equipment for cleaning. This results in all of the overspray filter wastes becoming "F" rated and so must go to expensive hazardous landfills.

We've been requested by several companies to research for a solvent or solvents that would be a good alternative for cleaning their equipment to avoid the F listing.

Are you aware of such a solvent?

A. The only solvent that I have seen used as a replacement for acetone, toluene and other common solvents, is EP 921 by Inland Technology. I don't know how that will change the classification of the waste stream, but you can check with Inland. Although EP921 is a VOC, it does not contain any HAPs and it is slow evaporating. (Here is a link you might want to read: Also, you might find that after you have cleaned the equipment a thin sticky film remains. Some of the people who are using this solvent simply take a rag wetted with acetone or alcohol and wipe down the outside of the equipment to remove the sticky film.

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