My industry, industrial parts cleaning, hasn’t until recently been able to offer its participants high-quality, noncommercial, technical-based literature. I would offer three reasons for this:

  1. Until the CFC phaseout was complete, no literature was needed. One simply immersed parts in “Freon” or “1,1,1” and the parts cleaned and dried themselves
  2. Since then, aqueous cleaning technology has become as much art as science
  3. Those willing to take the time to produce valuable literature usually have a commercial interest in the subject being discussed.1

In this column, I want to call attention to three excellent resources. If cleaning technology is important to your operations, you should consider adding at least one of them to your company or personal library.
These resources are:

Handbook for Critical Cleaning2, edited by Barbara and Edward Kanegsberg
Industrial Hygiene Control of Airborne Chemical Hazards, by William Popendorf3
Handbook of Detergents, edited by Uri Zoller and Michael Showell4

Technical literature I can value is that which is:

  • Relevant and current. It should have been published within the last five years or so, in order to cover trends such as sustainable development and “green”formulations.
  • Informative on a topic that is or is associated with industrial cleaning. It should be written or edited by someone recognized in the appropriate field.
  • Readable. It should be loaded with meaningful illustrations (preferably in color), examples, and instructions. The TOC and Index should allow quick, easy access to the topic of interest, or recognition that it’s not covered in this volume. The typography should be clean and simple.
  • Desirable. When I use good liter- ature, I want to find what Iwanted to know and perhaps also read about another topic. Said another way, I should want to spend my own money to pur chase it.5

Though not stringent, these requirements are not met by many of the “technical” volumes I have found.

Yes, Google can find targeted content in articles, books, and other material. I use it every day to answer specific questions, and to find specific references and information.

But answers to specific questions or information are not a substitute for education, which can lead to a decision about a topic or problem. An education produces background, theory, context, examples, and references. That’s what’s readily found in books, but less readily found via Google. Said another way, Google can’t keep us from making mistakes; a well-founded book by an experienced author can.

This two-volume set has far more application to those doing metal finishing work than its title would suggest. It is edited by Barbara and Edward Kanegsberg, who have decades of credible experience in industrial cleaning—particularly critical cleaning.

Of the two volumes, the one subtitled “Cleaning Agents and Systems” is of significantly more interest to metal finishers doing cleaning. Notable among the contents of both volumes are these chapters:

“Cleaning Agent Chemistry,” by JoAnn Quitmeyer (an excellent communicator), is replete with tables of useful basic data about components of aqueous cleaners, specific solvents, stabilizers, conditioners, etc.
Michael Beeks’ and David Keller’s “Aqueous Cleaning Essentials” provides guidelines for cleaning common substrates.

John Burke has been writing for more than two decades about use of Hansen Solubility Parameters (HSP) to match soils to solvents. Unfortunately, his reliance on the two-dimensional Teas graph was not a strong presentation in the 1980s, and is less so now when software is readily available to produce three-dimensional colored graphs.

The chapter on benzotrifluoride, reprinted from the first edition, is probably superfluous in light of the limited availability of the solvent, and the EPA’s rescinding their VOC exemption for it.
Ronald Baldwin’s unique chapter on scale-up of laboratory results to a plant design can easily save the price of the book in avoiding mistakes.

John Fuchs’ excellent fundamental description of the basics of ultrasonic cleaning—one of seven chapters on ultrasonic technology—has been recycled from the first edition. That’s OK, because it was excellent then and still is now!

Howard Siegerman (the guru on this topic) and Karen Bonnell have produced a short but very useful chapter for finishers. They cover cleaning with wipers (not “red rags”), often done in finishing shops. This chapter brings the perspective of use of wipers in critical cleaning to finishers.

Art Gillman’s new chapter is the aptly titled “Blunders, Disasters, Horror Stories, and Mistakes You Can Avoid.” It, too, is worth the price of the book!

Micro sandblasting is used by those who conserve art, recover fossils, and remove coatings from metal parts. Jawn Swan’s wonderful chapter provides specific guidance using good images. Nicely done!

While I have written about cleaning with high-pressure steam,6 Max Friedhiem and Jose Gonzalez, writing from experience, provide a better and concise description of applications, including cost details and case studies.

Dr. Jason Marshall is the Laboratory Director of Massachusetts’s Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI). He writes, without deference to political correctness, about how to select options of cleaning products that minimize environmental impact. This is a serious, valuable chapter.

Edward Lamm’s chapter on equipment design provides both fundamental education and specific guidance about design of rinsing for aqueous cleaning systems. It’s well done.

Cleaning is usually not complete until the parts are dry—often of water. Daniel VanderPyl writes clearly about low-cost methods of drying water from parts. His focus is chiefly on non-evaporative methods, based on centrifugal force or impact with compressed air.

While Handbook contains three chapters on certain aspects of drying, at least this one should be available for metal finishers who practice aqueous cleaning technology.

James Unmack writes from more than 30 years experience of managing and consulting in industrial hygiene about health and safety issues in cleaning operations. In the informative chapter written by Unmack, he introduces U.S. readers to the applicable details of the internationally founded REACH program for management of chemicals and their hazards.

Metal finishers have little experience in validation of cleaning processes. This book contains five chapters covering various situations involving validation of cleanroom operations. All are applicable to finishers.

Any firm serious about managing its cleaning operations should have this book available to their staff responsible for that operation. It’s a strong contribution to the technical literature supporting industrial cleaning because of the diversity of its coverage and strengths of many chapters, and it fulfills all my expectations as noted above. Every chapter is replete with references—something not provided with a Google (or other search engine) Internet search.

As one who is finishing a book now, and facing the daunting task of editing it, I fully recognize the magnitude of the job done with more than 65 chapters by the authors. I particularly like the preliminary commentary about each chapter, indicating whether it was new, updated, or recycled. The book is remarkably free of commercial bias, given that most chapters were written by authors with a commercial interest.

I long have sought a book about the monitoring/managing of airborne pollutants that was not a treatise on medical harms, nor a recitation of epidemiological data, nor a paean about avoidance altogether of chemicals. I wanted a book I could recommend to clients, and use with them, to control exposure of the chemicals they used.

This is that book, written by Dr. William Popendorf. It’s practical. It starts with the fundamentals of chemistry and physics as applied to vapors, and it ends with administrative control in the use of respirators and ventilation systems.

Significant chapters and topics include:

  • Basic aerosol behavior and how to model it–an absolutely crucial topic.
  • Health criteria for control of chemical exposures, including substantial tables of data andreferences.
  • OSHA ventilation standards.
  • The fluid dynamics of ventilation and how to use that engineering material to design exhaust hoods, air cleaners, stacks, fans, etc.
  • Control of operating costs of required ventilation.
  • Selection, purchase, maintenance, and administration of personal protective equipment

Consistent nomenclature makes Dr. Popendorf’s book easy to use, as do his many clear simply drawn illustrations. Every chapter ends with “Practice problems.” His use of footnotes to augment text finds favor.

This is a practical book, founded in theory. The person responsible for environmental affairs or industrial hygiene in any substantial organization doing finishing work deserves a copy. (Incidentally, I first noted this book in a Google search.)

These volumes are recent additions to the esteemed Surfactant Science Series, now fleshed out to 141 volumes. Professor Zoller is one editor of the overall series.

Also identified in a Google search, I had thought these volumes of a renowned and growing series would provide both theoretical and practical examples about formulation of aqueous cleaning products based on surfactants. I was wrong.

In the volume Part D Formulation, exactly 126 words are dedicated to the topic of my interest. This volume is written for those interested in personal care products, laundry detergents, and liquid bleach, maintenance cleaners, dishwasher, oral care, automotive, and other cleaning products.

It’s the same with the volume Part E Applications. Chapters cover applications such as dishwashing, bodycleansing, hair care, fabric softening, and the like.

While apparently quality technical literature, this series is not appropriate for anyone seeking to understand, troubleshoot, or formulate aqueous cleaning products. The proper direction is to read Ms. Quitmeyer’s chapter in Handbook for Critical Cleaning.

John Durkee is the author of the book, Management of Industrial Cleaning Technology and Processes, published by Elsevier (ISBN 0-0804-48887). He is an independent consultant specializing in metal and critical cleaning. You can contact him at PO Box 847, Hunt, TX 78024 or 122 Ridge Road West, Hunt, TX 78024; 830-238-7610; Fax 612-677-3170; or


  1. An alternate point of view is that one with a commercial interest in some technology might well be the one best informed on how to practice it. Certainly, there is a growing number of examples where this is true.
  2. This is the second edition, published in 2011 about a decade after the first edition. Subtitles of the two volumes are Applications, Processes, and Controls; and Cleaning Agents and Systems; more than 1,000 pages, CRC Press; April 4, 2011; ISBN 1439828261. Available from Amazon for about $160 (two volumes, not available separately).
  3. First edition, published in May 2006, 725 pages, by CRC Press, ISBN 0849395283. Available from Amazon for about $140. Professor (and Dr.) Popendorf is a research professor of industrial hygiene at Utah State University, has been a director of the American Industrial Hygiene Board, and has more than 30 years of experience in his field.
  4. This is a five-volume edition in a Surfactant Science series. This review covers only two volumes: (1) Part D: Formulation, Volume 128, edited by Michael S. Showell, published in July 2005 by CRC Press, ISBN 0824703502, available from Amazon for about $170; and (2) Part E Applications, Volume 141, edited by Eri Zoller, published in October 2008 by CRC Press, ISBN 1574447572, available from Amazon for about $170. Dr. Showell has more than 25 years experience in development of detergent formulations at Proctor and Gamble, Professor Zoller is Professor emeritus at Haifa University, Israel. He has published upwards of 20 papers, written or edited nine books, and is a current researcher in the broad field of synthetic organic chemistry.The non-reviewed volumes are titled: Part A Properties, Part B Environmental Impact, and Part C Analysis. All are available from Amazon.
  5.  Disclosure: two of these three sets were provided by the publisher as review copies. One was provided to me as a contributing author. I did not purchase them. The images used herein are courtesy of the publisher CRC Press, and clipped from Amazon. Second disclosure: Dr. Don Gray and this author have written a chapter in Handbook for Critical Cleaning on the topic enclosed machines for pressure and vacuum operation with cleaning solvents.
  6. See “Cleaning Times: Different ideas: Cleaning with Steam as an Alternative to Chemistry,” Metal Finishing, Vol.107, No, 9, September 2009, pages 54 to 56.