Commercial degreasers: What do you need to know?

Introduction to degreasers in the workplace


What are ‘degreasers’, anyway?

Generally speaking, products called degreasers are substances that help to remove water-insoluble grease and oils (animal fats or petroleum products) from hard surfaces.

In an industrial/commercial setting, degreasers are used in manufacturing or automotive settings to get rid of the grease, grime and other oil-based contaminants from metal or concrete. In a food services setting, degreasers are used to remove buildup on surfaces caused by cooking with oil products.

Degreasers come in all kinds of forms: Sprays, solutions, foams, wipes and powders. The key is that they will remove water-insoluble substances without damaging the surface of whatever you’re cleaning.

Types of degreasers

Hamilton's Tennier Sanitation custom degreasers

Butyl degreasers
This is the most common water-based degreaser, and is the one used most often for cleaning petroleum-derived grease such as motor oil. When applied to oil-based ‘grime’, it turns the oil into a liquid which is easier to clean up. Butyl is considered to be organic (as opposed to synthetic) and isn’t considered toxic on its own, but because it’s often associated with other solvents that do pose health hazards, it sometimes gets a bad rap.

Non-butyl degreasers

Non-butyl degreasers like our Jet 707 cleaner/degreaser are high-alkaline cleaners which work particularly well on animal-fat-based grease and the soap scum in bathrooms. Like some other non-butyl degreasers, Jet 707 is also free of soaps, fragrances, acids, solvents and caustics, making it a perfect choice for restaurants, bathrooms and seniors’ homes.

Heavy-duty degreasers
In an industrial setting, manufacturing equipment requires degreasers that can cling to surfaces and crevices that aren’t easily scrubbed by hand – but which then rinse cleanly, so that future use of the machinery isn’t impacted. Low-foaming heavy-duty degreasers like our Tentrex Plus and 2001 Power Degreaser are good for these uses.

Everyday degreasers
Some people think of degreasers as a ‘special occasion’ cleaner – used only for grease buildup in specific situations. But non-caustic, non-toxic degreasers like our Miracle Spray are actually suitable for daily use, and do a good job of preventing oil and fat-based buildup.

Which degreaser is right for your facility?

In areas where food is prepared or children may be coming into close contact with surfaces, non-butyl/non-toxic degreasers are often specified. After that, the degreaser you use will largely depend on the type of fats or oils you need to remove and the surfaces from which you need to remove them.

We created our first set of Tennier degreasing products almost 40 years ago, to help ensure our clients had exactly the right products for their needs. And while we’ve refined our formulas over the years, our goal is still the same. If you need help determining the right degreasing products for your facilities, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d be happy to help.


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