Removing drawing soap from stainless steel wire

The drawing soap used on stainless steel is not typically loose enough to be removed via ultrasonic cleaning and are insoluble to typical chemicals used in the process, e.g., acetone.

To guarantee the removal of soap from the surface of springs, especially those that have gone through a heat treatment as this can cause the soap to burn onto the surface, we would typically recommend a pickling process. This is a chemical clean of the surface of the material, usually caustic based, which will remove the soap from the wire, as well as any grease, dirt, and oxide. You can mechanically clean stainless steel, e.g., brushing, to remove the residue but this would be difficult to do on springs.

Given pickling removes all the protective oxide layer from the surface of the steel we would also typically recommend a passivation treatment after the pickling to rebuild that oxide and guarantee good corrosion performance.

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