Solvent-based solutions are great for removing several types of residues from a variety of surfaces. But when it comes to removing flux residue from circuit boards and other delicate electronic areas, isopropyl alcohol is the best solvent option. But can you use acetone to remove the residue? What about other cleaning solvents? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the best solvents to use when trying to remove flux residue, and which ones should be avoided.
What Is Flux Residue?
Flux is a type of mixture commonly found on circuit boards and other electrical areas that aid in creating a strong metallic bond during the soldering, or connection process of the metals. Occasionally, after soldering, a white residue remains on the area that was soldered.
This white debris from the flux may appear harmless, but it has a negative effect on the surface and functioning electrical parts of the board. This residue consists of excess organic acids that eat away at the material it touches, and can potentially result in an electrical failure due to the damage the residue causes.
Cleaning With Solvents
From trucks to chimneys, solvent-based solutions can clean almost anything. However, when cleaning an electrical board or similar surface, it’s important to use specific solvent solutions in order to prevent damage. The added factor of electricity means the machine/surface is not the only thing at risk, but also the handler.
Since most of these electrical areas that are being cleaned have some type of plastic material on or around them, it’s important to choose a solvent that won’t eat away at the plastic. Solvents that are suitable for removing excess flux come in aerosol cans, liquids, or pen formats to clean hard-to-reach places and expel the solvent in a safe and effective manner.
Acetone vs. Isopropyl Alcohol
Since acetone characteristically attacks plastics, it’s not an ideal solvent to use when it comes to removing residue. While it will clean away the excess flux, it may eat away at the surface and other materials.
Isopropyl alcohol is the solvent chemists prefer when it comes to these specific delicate surfaces, and it won’t destroy plastics as acetone will. Choose isopropyl alcohol over acetone when it comes to removing the leftovers of flux.
Need to Buy Acetone or IPA?
While acetone may not be as preferable over IPA for cleaning electronics, it has a plethora of other uses. Bulk Chemicals 2 Go sells these solvents and more in cost-effective bulk sizing options. Visit our website to start your order today!
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