Using household dishwasher in the shop
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  1. #1
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    Default Using household dishwasher in the shop

    Has anyone here done it? I've heard of home hobby guys using the wife's dishwasher for engine parts, heads manifolds and such, I'm wondering if it will work for a machine shop.

    We get aluminum parts polished and do some here, they come back with compound in the hard to reach places and it's a real pain to clean it up and just about impossible to do it without marking up the polished finish. I'm thinking having a dedicated machine on the shop floor to wash them with soap and water would be more effective than hand cleaning in an aqueous parts washer or bench cleaning plus would avoid the abraded marks caused by wiping them.. Could also work for steel parts and tools if I can keep them from rusting.

    So - will a household washer stand up to machine shop crud? Anyone done it? How did it work?

    Do I need a big water heater to connect to it or do dishwashers heat their own water? That's how little I know about them.

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    Dishwashers do heat their own water but hooking it up to a water heater is a very good idea so it starts out fairly hot. I believe they will heat the water to 140f, commercial ones to 180f. You may want to filter the water coming out before the pump, they can be pretty fragile. I have never done it but have thought about it many times over the years.

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    They make aqueous parts washers that are pretty much like dishwashers...I just fixed one the other day. I'd be afraid that a household dishwasher wouldn't hold up.

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    How about an ultrasonic cleaner?

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    a household dishwasher and detergent will or can cause severe staining on aluminum.
    from personal experience.

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    I installed an older dishwasher in my shop just a couple of months ago. I haven't really used it much yet, though.

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    It works fine (in fact, very well), but you are flushing all the crap down the sewer... Can't do that around here. Check your local regs. And... look for one with a stainless steel interior. Here we have to recover all discharge water, evaporate it off (to save disposal fees) and dispose of the sludge correctly.

    There are many detergent to choose from. Typical transmission cleaners used in the commercial systems are available in powder form, and are no more corrosive than typical household detergents.

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    Liquid Dawn if washing by hand

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakeside53 View Post
    ...evaporate it off (to save disposal fees)
    How do you make that work? I've had a tub of slime sitting for a few months, it doesn't really evaporate because of the oil that floats to the surface. Do you boil it off?

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    I second the ultrasonic cleaner, you can use a liquid that inhibits rust.

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    I'd avoid really greasy and oily parts. Most rubber parts inside household washing machine are EPDM rubber that has great resistance against acid and bases but it turns to gooey with many common hydrocarbons like grease or mineral oil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Has anyone here done it? I've heard of home hobby guys using the wife's dishwasher for engine parts, heads manifolds and such, I'm wondering if it will work for a machine shop.

    We get aluminum parts polished and do some here, they come back with compound in the hard to reach places and it's a real pain to clean it up and just about impossible to do it without marking up the polished finish. I'm thinking having a dedicated machine on the shop floor to wash them with soap and water would be more effective than hand cleaning in an aqueous parts washer or bench cleaning plus would avoid the abraded marks caused by wiping them.. Could also work for steel parts and tools if I can keep them from rusting.

    So - will a household washer stand up to machine shop crud? Anyone done it? How did it work?

    Do I need a big water heater to connect to it or do dishwashers heat their own water? That's how little I know about them.
    If they do a half-assed job of cleaning plain, flat dishes and cawfee cups, can't get ignorant egg yolk off the side of a skillet, WTF would you expect them to clean complex parts with complex compounds embedded in torturous-shaped recesses and crevices in less than a dozen re-try runs at it?

    What does THAT do to the polish on the shiney-wood? 100% Stainless kitchen here, so I don't really much remember, but didn't aluminium cookware get kinda dull after many dishwashings?

    Easy parts, ANYTHING will warsh. Complex and challenging ones? The parts could go obsolete before yah get them clean without ruining the finish.

    Best you can find is a commercial kitchen or bar unit. Hot, fast, brutal, noisy. And expensive. Thermidor-Waste-King, last one I had. About as quiet as running a rotary lawn mower in the kitchen at full gallop.

    Parts washer built AS a parts washer is still the better performer. It isn't limited to just water.

    Joolry manufacturing, we went through Bransonic and other Ultrasonics so fast we bought our own tranducers and installed new ones right in the shop. Present-day units are many times as durable.

    Ultrasonics worked a treat at getting beeswax & buffing compound out before steam cleaning, but then again gold don't corrode all that easily!

    One of the best perfomers? Industrial-strength "409" with a bit of Ammonia. For Gold. not shiney-wood, though.

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    Be very careful with ultrasonic cleaners especially when using water-based ammoniated solutions. The problem is that the cavitating action of the ultrasound does not stop when a section of a part is clean, so using it to remove stubborn bits can potentially cause damage to the rest of the part. I have seen this first hand with hacks that clean old clocks using what is essentially floor mopping solutions in ultrasonic cleaners.

    A modern water-based cleaning system is the way to go.

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    It has been my primary method of cleaning aluminum parts for 25 years

    Do not leave aluminum parts in it overnight, take them out as soon as the cycle is over.

    Got the idea in 1983 when the largish corporation I worked for bought a Potscubber II, all plumbed in and on a little stand, to clean very expensive PC boards after switching to a water soluble solder flux

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    I've seen dishwashers used for cleaning all kind of things in industry.

    Use only dishwasher detergents as others foam too much.

    Absolutely use a separate water heater.

    Use a dishwasher with heated dry.

    On caveat: many modern dishwashers are so stingy with water that they may do a crappy job. At home I've patched our old Whirlpool many times rather than replace it with one of those, even making new door springs and now using detergent pods after the dispenser door broke. It may be old but it has never failed to thoroughly clean everything.

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    Let me start off by saying I am a bit cavalier when it comes to this sort of thing. Some of the things I do would be considered hazardous at best but I have lived all these +70 years with more emotional scars then physical. For years I have been running a dishwasher in my shop fed from a 55 gallon drum of kerosene with no problems and great results. The pump outlet runs back into the barrel for recycling. When it gets totally funky I start running the outlet into another barrel for proper disposal (about every 1-2 years). I dispose most, if not all of it, in my pressurized flamethrower used to sterilize and kill weeds. Nuff said.

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    I think you have a point there, mine at work are all old.

    the new ones primarily are made to be quiet. Who cares at work. New ones run for hours, I want it over in 20 minutes.

    In the house, I think you are doing yourself a disservice. My newer dishwashers work better than the older ones.

    So quiet the loudest thing is the fill valve.

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    Every single time I drive past one sitting out at the curb....

    I wonder how cheaply one of these could be had ?
    Automotive machine shop equipment - tools - by owner - sale
    "Better Engineering 200-P parts washer"

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    A shop I used to work for would put all the parts in a residential dish washer after they came out of the wet vibe machines. Mostly aluminum with some stainless, not sure what they used for detergent if anything. I am not sure the volume but the finishing department kept 1 person busy 40 hours a week.

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    Why not find a polishing company that returns clean parts? I had a customer that would send aluminum alternator cases out for polishing, the third time was the charm as he finally found a place that returned them clean.


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