The Best Way to Clean a Surface Before Coating or Painting
We often receive inquiries asking what cleaners are best to use on materials like metal, plastic, and masonry, before applying paint or coating. For example, a customer contacted us asking about preparing and painting aluminum brake calipers with KBS Motor Coater. The caliper was relatively new and wasn’t corroded, just covered in brake dust. So, he planned to use brake cleaner to wash it off and then go directly to paint when he was done. We let him know that instead of using brake cleaner, it would be much better to use KBS Klean to clean the surface before coating. Here’s why.
Some Cleaners Leave Residue
Common items used to clean surfaces before painting include solvent cleaners, brake cleaners, solvent wipes, alcohol wipes, and tack cloths. While all of these do a good job, they leave residue that can interfere with the adhesion and flow out of paints and coatings.
Residue Affects Paint Adhesion and Flow Out
Residue on the surface to be coated creates surface tension within the paint or coating that is to be applied. Surface tension is the tendency of liquid at rest to shrink into the minimum surface area possible. An example is water beading up on a freshly waxed car. Surface tension interferes with the adhesion and flow out of paints and coatings.
KBS Klean Doesn’t Leave Residue
We recommend use of KBS Klean to clean a surface before coating or painting as it doesn’t leave residue that can cause surface tension. KBS Klean is a concentrated, water-based, and non-flammable formula that removes dirt, grime, oils, lubricants, grease, waxes, scum, and other contaminants. KBS Klean leaves a clean surface with no residue, which results in optimal paint and coating adhesion.
KBS Klean is non-corrosive and non-toxic and can be used to clean a variety of materials including ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, stone, brick, masonry, canvas, asphalt, and others.
KBS Klean Demonstration
Check out this demonstration of how residue affects surface tension of a liquid.
- The panel on the far right is the control subject and was not cleaned of surface contaminants. The panel was sprayed with water. Note the water beads up, rather than flows out due to surface tension caused by the contaminants.
- The two panels in the middle have been cleaned with solvents. One with lacquer thinner and the other with brake fluid. After being wiped dry of the solvents, water was sprayed on. See how the remaining residue causes the water to bead up?
- The panel on the left was cleaned with KBS Klean, and water was sprayed on. Note, the water doesn’t bead on the panel as all contaminants were removed and no residue remained to increase the surface tension.
KBS Klean ApplicationThe procedure for using KBS Klean to clean a surface before painting or coating is quite simple.
- KBS Klean is mixed with warm or hot water and can be applied with a sponge, scrub pad, or bristle brush. KBS Klean can also be used in pressure washing equipment to rapidly penetrate many layers of accumulated buildup.
- For general purpose cleaning the surface is washed for 5-10 minutes. For heavy-duty cleaning, extended soaking times up to 24 hours or more may be necessary.
- The process is completed by thoroughly rinsing the surface with water.
KBS Klean Dilution Ratios
KBS Klean and warm water are mixed in specific dilution ratios depending on the material being cleaned. It is important to adhere to these mix ratios.
- Heavily Soiled Surfaces
- (Diesel engines, fuel tanks) 1 Part Hot Water to 1 Part KBS Klean
- Moderately Soiled Surfaces
- (Pre-paint cleaning) 5 Parts Hot Water to 1 Part KBS Klean
- Lightly Soiled Surfaces
- (Truck road film) 10 Parts Hot Water to 1 Part KBS Klean
- Non-Ferrous Metals
- (Aluminum, Copper, Brass, etc.) 25 Parts Hot Water to 1 Part KBS Klean
- It is important that a cleaner does not stain the surface, especially when it will show through. Such as when a clear coat is applied. Keep in mind that most aggressive cleaners will stain non-ferrous metals. However, KBS Klean will not stain non-ferrous metal when mixed in the correct ratio.