Avoid Using These Five Products for Cleaning and Maintenance of an Airplane, Here’s why
Choosing the right products for cleaning and maintenance of an aircraft can be a daunting task. However, the cleaning agents should be wisely selected as they might otherwise damage aircraft components.
Aircraft cleaning and maintenance can be a daunting task for many aircraft owners or operators as the process involves fighting against lots of greasy, oily, and dirt ridden areas. But, cleaning the built-up mess on an airplane’s body generally requires an appropriate cleaning agent and some maintenance products. Whether you want to give a quick clean up or are planning to purchase and stock up your airplane’s cleaning chemicals there are many options available in the market. These options range from reasonably priced household cleaning products to highly expensive specialty products. Even though suitably available at most of the local car and hardware stores, many of these options might not only be ineffective in cleaning but also cause severe damage to an airplane.
What are Aerospace Maintenance Chemicals?
Aerospace maintenance chemicals are used for the maintenance, protection, and removal of paints & coatings from airplane parts, airframe structures, and cabin interiors.
Finding the right chemical(s) for cleaning an aircraft can cause a headache for the aerospace maintenance department. Here’s a list of top five chemicals you should never consider using for aircraft cleaning.
1. Dish detergents
Even though ideal for degreasing oily pizza pans, these magnificently fragrant products may not be useful for cleaning airplanes; they might leave behind filmy or soapy residues. As these products are loaded with anti-bacterial agents and scents they are meant to be used where they are applicable i.e. for cleaning messy and oily dishes and not for an airplane.
2. Window cleaners
Aircraft window frames are an important area that needs regular cleaning. Proper care is required to confirm that windows always have clear visibility out of it. Though perfect for household applications, window cleaners containing ammonia and similar products are a big ‘NO’ for aircrafts as they can cause damage by forming micro-sized cracks on the surface of an aircraft’s windscreen. Hence, you should strictly avoid using such products for cleaning aircraft window frames.
3. Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
This product may not technically damage an aircraft if used appropriately. The use of MEK as a dependable solvent has been strongly criticized since the last decade owing to its extremely perilous impact on its user’s health. The impacts have been so negative that the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) members have stated that prolonged usage has led to years of chronic headaches, flu-like symptoms, asthma, general malaise, dizziness, and fatigue. There are many other effective alternatives available in the market. Hence, one should strictly avoid using this hazardous chemical for cleaning aircrafts.
4. Chlorine bleach
Even though it works amazingly when it comes to clean bathrooms, it can turn out to be a maintenance nightmare if used for cleaning an airplane’s lavatory. The prime issue about using chlorine bleach is the damage it causes to seals and the vacuum system itself by stripping off the protective layer(s) of these parts. Moreover, if chlorine bleach gets mixed with the lavatory’s "blue juice", the cabin will get filled with not only toxic fumes but also mix two oxidizing agents, which can be extremely dangerous.
5. Woodcare products
Woodcare products can actually show biased results to your cleaning process, if they are used for cleaning aircrafts. Even though these products are considered as an ideal solution to give a shiny appearance to wooden objects, they can be a bad choice for aircraft components. These products contain dimethicone a “film former". These "formers," along with other additives found in many of these products can leave behind residues of wax that can accumulate and trap dirt and oils under them over time. Moreover, if these residues are not cleaned they can give the airplane’s paint a hazy appearance.
The Bottom Line
The aerospace maintenance chemical industry has advanced to a greater extent and hence, there are number of aircraft-approved cleaning products available in the global market. Therefore, it is highly advisable to avoid using the above five products and strictly make use of cleaning chemicals specially meant for cleaning aircrafts.
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