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What is reactive chemical cleaning?

Chemical cleaning is defined as the use of chemistry to remove, dissolve or convert specific contaminants from processing equipment to quickly return it back to peak performance conditions. Chemical cleaning is safe and cost effective which is used in place of mechanical and other invasive methods such as hydroblasting. This proven method is efficiently used in all industries: refinery, petrochemical, paper/pulp, and utility. The applications may include:

  • Removing scale and deposits 
    • (e.g. from boilers and heat exchanger tubes)
  • Removing toxic gasses
    • (e.g. H2S, SOx, Ammonia, ECT…)
  • Removing contaminants from fluids 
    • (e.g. hydraulic and lubrication oils)
  • Altering the chemical characteristics of a solution 
    • (e.g. the pH level)

Why is chemical cleaning used?

In order for industrial equipment to work efficiently, it must be kept free of contaminants. Unfortunately, rust, calcium, dust, dirt, and certain chemical reactions occur naturally in a myriad of equipment. This occurrence results in a buildup of scales and deposits that decrease the equipment efficiencies (Delta T or P). In order to maximize performance/profitability for the customer, chemical cleaning will keep reduced efficiency of equipment and downtime to a minimum. Chemical cleaning is a safer, more effective and more economical method of equipment cleaning than the older, labor-intensive mechanical methods, such as hydroblasting or grit blasting.  

Following are a few of the many advantages of chemical cleaning:

  • Can be performed on-site without disassembling/moving the equipment (saving time, labor, and associated costs)
  • Eliminates the need for physical entry of personnel cleaning, making it an immeasurably safer alternative
  • Cleaning chemicals and wastewater are safely contained within the application and collection units
  • Reduces downtime substantially
  • Highly effective at accessing and eliminating contaminants 
  • Conditions the process surface to reduce future fouling

All of which, translates into reduced costs and increased performance/profitability for our customer.


  • Sage Chemical Cleaning and Decontamination’s team uses an analytical laboratory capable of: measuring deposit density, identifying deposits, testing solvents & recommending procedures, and performing post-cleaning analysis of drain samples.
  • Our experienced team has full capability to handle jobs of any size, also incorporating:
    • Pumps up to 10,000 gpm
    • Heat exchangers up to 3,000 sq ft
    • 40hp portable boilers
    • Process Specialists, Project Managers, Chemists, Service Supervisors
    • Total (local & national) company resources that can be drawn from to support large projects
  • Project management capacities include:
    • Project timelines using Microsoft Project or Primavera
    • Process flow diagrams using Visio
    • Dedicated on-site Project Managers which work through all stages of cleaning procedure development
    • Turnaround timelines
    • Blind/Isolation Lists
    • Instrumentation Isolation Lists
    • Isometric Drawings for temporary piping
    • Parts take off lists for temporary piping
    • Detailed cleaning procedures
    • Simplified drawings of equipment
    • Process Safety Management Reviews
    • Coordination of waste disposal for on-site and off-site requirements
    • Turnaround Training to all personnel on chemical cleaning procedures


  • Reduced mechanical preparation requirements for cleaning vs. hydroblasting, equating to lower total job costs
  • For complex configurations, there may be no alternative to chemical cleaning
  • For some equipment, our services eliminate the need for confined space entry
  • Cleaning is uniformly based on deposit loading.
  • Prevents corrosion initiation and inhibit growth of microbiological foulants
  • Cleaning to “bare metal” is achievable in a large number of cases 
  • Eliminates potential growth sites for future deposits to begin forming
  • Can remove foulants/scale deposits and decontaminates for later vessel entry
  • Safe technique for pyrophoric deposit removal
  • Can reduce total down time & waste generated via vapor phase, foam cleanings and on-stream applications, depending on equipment design and cleaning techniques
  • On-Stream cleaning can restore exchangers’ heat transfer efficiency without shutting the unit down

Chemical Cleaning is routinely applied to the following:

• Boilers of all types
• Cooling water exchangers
• Heat exchangers/condensers
• External fin fans (foaming)
• Pickling/passivation of metal surfaces
• Refrigeration systems
• Commissioning new equipment (degreasing/removing mill scales/ flushing)
• Removal of iron and calcium for any surface
• Paper mill digesters and evaporators 
• Tanks (process, storage, product and speciality tanks) 
• Railcar cleaning
• External surface cleaning
• Piping and flare systems

Contact a Sage Chemical Cleaning Solutions and Decontamination expert today! To learn more, please call (833)SAGECLN (833)724-3256 or email us at

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