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Do All Floor Degreasers have to be Corrosive?

If your company is a manufacturer or service company where floors get greasy and oily, you most certainly are using an industrial degreaser of some kind.  It turns out that most of the degreasers used on floors to remove grease and oil are classified as CORROSIVE.

Are there alternatives to Corrosive Degreasers that can do the job as well or better.  Let’s explore why corrosive degreasers are a problem and offer up a non-corrosive alternative.

Certainly you will recognize the DOT Corrosive labels found on containers and the GHS pictogram on SDS’s for Corrosive Chemicals.

GHS Pictogram for Corrosives:  The Globally Harmonized System for Classification of Chemicals uses a pictogram for corrosives which can be found on the Safety Data Sheet and the labeling for the product.  GHS classified corrosives also use the signal word DANGER.

GHS Corrosive Pictogram

DOT CORROSIVE Definition:   A corrosive material is a liquid or solid that causes full thickness destruction of human skin at the site of contact within a specified period of time. A liquid that has a severe corrosion rate on steel or aluminum based on the criteria in 49CFR 173.137(c)(2) is also a corrosive material.

DOT Corrosive Degreaser

One reason why degreasers are often corrosive is because the raw materials used to make these products are cheap.  Chemicals like sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide and sodium metasilicate raise the pH of solutions in excess of 13, making them corrosive to certain metals and human tissue.

Disposal of Corrosive Solutions, an environmental hazard:  Using a corrosive degreaser outdoors is never a good idea.  Effluent can be destructive to vegetation and be injurious to wildlife.  If effluent enters storm sewers it can end up in streams, ponds and lakes.  Even disposal into the sanitary sewer can be an issue of the alkalinity of the degreaser solution exceeds a pH of 12.

CORROSIVE DEGREASERS health hazards:  The biggest concern with using corrosive degreasers is the possibility of eye or skin contact.  Highly alkaline degreasers can cause permanent eye damage and can cause chemical burns on human tissue.

CORROSIVE DEGREASERS can be destructive to surfaces:  Certain metals, most notably aluminum can be damaged by corrosive degreasers.  Other soft metal alloys like magnesium and zinc can also be effected.

Alloy Wheels

Non-Corrosive Degreasers:  Are they up to the task?  Advanced technology degreasers are now available that are only very mildly alkaline.  That means they are non-corrosive to human tissue and metals.

Better yet, testing has shown that ounce per ounce, the non-corrosive degreasers can offer better overall degreasing performance, in one case at 1/2 the dilution ratio of the corrosive degreaser.  To get degreasing performance out of a corrosive degreaser, the products often have to be used at strong dilutions, making them more expensive.

If you use an automatic scrubber on your floors, non-corrosive degreasers can easily be made low foam so they are well suited for use in scrubbers.  Many Corrosive Degreasers are moderate to high foam which can shorten the life of vacuum motors on scrubbers and shut off vacuums prematurely.


Don’t be Fooled by Price or Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover:  Too often, Corrosive Degreasers are used because the price per container is lower cost.  But, when you have to use stronger concentrations to get the job done, those inexpensive degreasers are actually quite expensive.


A Side by Side Look at a Non-Corrosive Degreaser (Multi-Clean FURY) vs. a CORROSIVE 


Multi-Clean FURY Degreaser, concentrated, non-corrosive, and cost effective.


Watch the video

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