After Blast Surface Washes & Preps

Brands We Recommend:

All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser by Great Lakes Laboratories
HoldTight 102 by HoldTight Solutions
Hold*Blast by Chlor*rid

Now that you soda (or sand) blasted your project, what is the next step?

Clearing the air of myths and misinformation.

I get this question almost daily and, in the beginning, I did not have the correct answers. In the past, I was told many things; from “just don’t worry about it” to, “just plain water” or “vinegar and water” (nobody knew the correct ratio) and even alcohol and water. Lately, I’m hearing products like dish soap or Simple Green cleaner and I know that method can leave a residue. I now know that there isn’t a single stock answer to this question as there are many different kinds of substrates that we encounter with soda (and sand) blasting and each one has its own treatment.

The main question to ask – is a coating going to be re-applied? If so, some sort of cleaning of the surface needs to be done. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has a higher than neutral pH and contains some degree of salt (chlorides). You must have a clean, oil free and contaminate free surface to ensure that you won’t have a coatings failure after any type of media blasting. Coating failures after blasting can usually be traced back to no pre-paint preparation, poor preparation or incorrect preparation. Baking soda is a wonderful media that allows you to do things that no other media will accomplish, but you need to educate yourself about the media and follow a few simple steps after blasting.

Consulting with coatings manufacturers before application can reveal a wealth of valuable information and help insure a positive outcome to your project.

Here is a sampling of substrates and what we have found that works after soda blasting:

  • Metals – Any of the three product manufacturers mentioned above are acceptable.
  • Fiberglass – Any of the three product manufacturers mentioned above and below are acceptable. Fiberglass Surface Prep #YMA601 by Interlux may also be used.
  • Wood – Sun Brite Wood Brightener – a citrus based wood bleach. Can be also used to brighten wood and remove rust stains.
  • Concrete – Any of the three product manufacturers mentioned above and below are acceptable plus Sun Brite Wood Brightener too.
  • Brick, block & mortar – Sun Brite Wood Brightener.

    Links to the products mentioned can be found on our Links page. Additional products that can be identified may be used. Please check with the product manufacturer regarding the proper use and application of other products.

Chesapeake Blasting, Inc. stocks and sells All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser mentioned on this page above. We stock 5 gallon pails that are UPS shippable and 55 drums can drop ship via motor freight from the manufacturer. Car guys, these are the best products that we’ve found to remove soda or sand blast residue, cleanse the surface, and remove contaminates. These products leave no residue to interfere with new coatings and some have a rust inhibitor built in.

Some or all of these products will:

  1. Eliminate all Salts, Chlorides and Contaminants (which cause flash rusting and coating failures) on metal.
  2. Delay flash rusting for a 48 to 96 hours, allowing ample time to apply primer or coating of your choice.
  3. Increase primer adhesion by up to 70%.

For more information on making paint stay on, please read this July 2012 article printed with permission by Skinned Knuckles Magazine and by the author Loren Knutsen.

Coating Manufacturers Endorsements

HoldTight 102 by HoldTight Solutions: PPG, Sherwin-Williams, Valspar, Ameron, Carboline, Hempel International, Sigma, Tnemec, Acro, Dampney, Lord Elastomers, Plasite, Polibrid.

Hold*Blast by Chlor*rid: Permite, Tnemec, Plastite, Wasser, Corroseal, Bridgecoat, XymaX Coatings, U.S. Coast Guard. See their web site for testimonials.

All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser by Great Lakes Laboratories: United States Department of Agriculture – All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser has been accepted with an A-1 category designation as a general cleaning agent on all surfaces or for use with steam or mechanical cleaning devices in all departments of USDA inspected facilities. Regulations require a potable water rinse following cleaning. Independent Laboratory Testing – All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser has been tested for cleaning effectiveness and coating compatibility by an independent testing laboratory. The testing protocol and results are detailed on their web site.

What is a surface wash or cleaner?

Surface cleaners are NOT a coating and are NOT “applied”

One of the most common misconceptions about a surface cleaner is that it can be “sprayed on” or otherwise applied like a coating. NOT SO! Sure, it is physically possible to do so, but its effect on the surface if used that way will be of little value. And if it is “put on” this way at full strength (i.e., without at least a 50 to 1 dilution — potable water to 102) it will not evaporate and will become a residue that will be a problem for some coatings.

The key to using a surface cleaner effectively is to dilute it properly AND to pressure wash the surface with the water + cleansing fluid — we say “treated water” — the more pressure the better but the water volume need not be greater than 1 gallon per minute — a common flow rate for pressure washers. Higher pressure improves performance, higher volume doesn’t help add much. Most off-the-shelf (at Home Depot or Lowe’s, for example) can easily generate 1500 psi of pressure with a flow rate of 1 gallon per minute. Industrial washers can go much higher 5,000 psi or above and they are more efficient.

Why is pressure and flow important? Simply because most surface cleaners are a washing agent, a surfactant like soap, but UNLIKE soap, it leaves no residue if allowed to evaporate with the water that contains it. Forcing the water with the cleaner into the profile or pores of the surface results in more thorough cleaning. When the surface is dry, the cleaners mentioned above are gone. There is nothing to remove. You are ready to apply your primer or coating or you can wait several days without seeing flash rust.

 A surface cleaner is like soap – but it is not soap:

It cleans, but you don’t have to rinse it off

Surface cleaners are NOT applied any more that you would “apply soap” to wash dishes. Like a detergent it adds to the natural cleaning power of water. It doesn’t convert or chemically alter contaminants that cause flash rust, thought it does cut grease. When used at the recommended pressures in a stream of water it removes contaminants, both those that were on the surface before the blast (abrasive or ultra-high pressure) and those that were created or freed-up by the blast.The best analogy is soap. Suds (foam) are fun but they don’t clean — scrubbing with soap and water cleans — soap in a dishwasher with proper water flow, agitation, etc., cleans even better. Dip a dirty dish in soapy water and some grease and food residue will be removed; scrub a dirty dish with a sponge or brush with soap and water and you will remove more; use a dishwasher — with detergent — and you will generally remove it all. Using 102 and water in a pressure washer is similar to using a dishwasher to clean. And here’s the bonus: clean surfaces simply don’t rust as fast. 102 prevents flash rust not by forming a film to separate the surface from air and humidity, but by leaving an exceptionally clean surface. Contaminants of any kind – visible or invisible – literally suck moisture out of the air, like sponges. To be a bit crude, but clear, about it, 102 removes those suckers. Because 102 evaporates with the water in which it has been dissolved, it does not leave a residue as do some salt removers and virtually all conventional “inhibitors.” It does not solve one problem by creating another.

 Some of these products can be expensive, but not All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser!

All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser by Great Lakes Labratories

All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser is an industrial grade, water-reducible, alkaline detergent developed especially for cleaning tasks requiring the safe removal of oils, greases, fats and carbon deposits. The advanced combination of wetting and penetrating agents offers superior cleaning, degreasing and surface preparation results. This water-based product can be used in place of petroleum and chlorinated solvents.

All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser cuts, lifts and strips away tough, oily soils. After rinsing, the cleaned surfaces are film-free and provide superior adhesion for new coatings and sealants. All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser is not an emulsifying cleaner. Oily contaminants in collected solutions will float to the surface and can be skimmed off reducing hazardous disposal costs significantly. The remaining oil-free solution is reusable. All Purpose Prepaint Cleaner is odorless, requires no unreasonable safety equipment and performs effectively through a broad temperature range. It mixes readily in water and is safe to use near vegetation.

Prepaint Cleaning:
Heavy-duty degreasing before applying coatings or sealants including, elastomeric, epoxy, urethane, acrylic and latex systems. Especially effective in cleaning floors and steam cleaning applications.

Rust Inhibition:
Application immediately after dry blasting or injected during wet blasting of steel will provide short-term rust inhibition of steel surfaces.

Removes oxidation stains on factory finish aluminum. Removes acrylic floor finishes.

Crushed Glass Blast Media, Soda Blast Media, Baking Soda Blasting & Sandblasting in Maryland