Polyurethane Foam: Solvent Cleaning

Cleaning Resins in Polyurethane Foam Manufacturing Sta-Sol® ESS 159

Solvent Replacement Case Study:

Urethane Cleaning

Project Background:

Two large polyurethane foam producers contacted us seeking a replacement solvent for their cleaning and flushing operations. Both companies were using solvent blends containing high percentages of N-methyl pyrrilidone (NMP).

Company A*, a leader in advanced urethane manufacturing, produces flexible and rigid polyurethane foams for high performance applications in aerospace, defense, marine, nuclear and other industries.

They also produce environmentally preferable urethane foams.

Company B has been developing rubber and urethane materials for a variety of industries for over 60 years. They produce unique polyurethane foam products, including open cell microcellular polyurethane for consumer and medical applications.

Both companies have similar solvent cleaning requirements and methods. They use straight solvent to flush their equipment and mixing heads after daily production runs, and soak parts and tools in solvent baths.

Company A also cleans parts with an ultrasonic cleaner.

Business Objectives:

The objectives of each company were the same: find a replacement solvent for NMP that will effectively clean polyurethane resins and reduce concerns about exposure, toxicity and regulatory compliance.

Requirements: The basic requirements of the new solvent cleaner were as follows:

  • Equivalent or better solvent cleaning performance and efficiency using existing cleaning processes
  • Lower levels of solvent toxicity
  • Better environmental regulatory profile
  • Readily available, price stable material with a reasonable cost per pound

Our Solution:

Based on the objectives and product requirements for each company, we suggested testing our Sta-Sol® ESS 159.

We developed Sta-Sol® ESS 159 for companies seeking a safe, economical and effective solvent for industrial cleaning applications.

ESS 159 contains a unique mixture of safer solvent components, including dibasic esters, to soften and remove a wide variety of uncured and partially cured resins, including polyurethane.

ESS 159 also features a very strong environmental, health and safety profile. Finally, Sta-Sol® ESS 159 is a cost-effective solvent replacement choice.


After conducting tests and comparing several potential solvent replacements, including ESS 159, DMSO, ethyl lactate and soy methyl esters, both companies chose Sta-Sol® ESS 159 to replace NMP for cleaning in their polyurethane foam manufacturing applications.

Each company reported better cleaning performance, significant reduction in toxicity exposure and regulatory compliance concerns, and overall decrease in material costs.

* Company names are withheld due to confidentiality provisions