Transform your acid pickle into an exceptional cleaning solution

transform your acid pickle into an exceptional cleaning solution

If you’re looking for a way to extend the life and improve the effectiveness of your acid pickle, AMBIENOL® C from Metalline Chemical Corporation does all that and much more. It is the multi-functional Swiss Army Knife of acid additives.

Oily parts will contaminate a standard hydrochloric or sulfuric acid pickle, causing a nasty build-up on the sides of the tank and eventually dragging oil down the process line. Without AMBIENOL® C, oil will float on top of the acid pickle solution. When clean parts are removed from it, the oil on the surface will redeposit back on the parts. This can cause a variety of surface finishing and operational problems, including rejected parts, production delays and increased operating costs.

A one to two percent by volume addition of AMBIENOL® C transforms your acid pickle into an oil-emulsifying, carbon scale removing, fume-suppressing, acid-cleaning solution that prevents oil drag-out, keeps the tank clean and helps eliminate cleaning-related rejects. 

Additives Extend the Capabilities of AMBIENOL® C

AMBIENOL® C contains unique additives that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your pre-treatment process:

Iron inhibitor: This additive helps to minimize the attack of the acid on the surface of the parts, preventing over-etching and reducing metal dissolution.

“The life of the acid is partially dependent on how much metal dissolves into solution,” explains Mike Lindemann, JSA’s business development manager. “As you pickle parts in an acid, iron and other alloyed metals dissolve. As the metals build, the activity of the acid slows, pickling strength diminishes and more frequent acid additions will be needed to maintain effective pickling.  The iron concentration will eventually get so high that, to prevent pickling-related rejects, the solution will need to be dumped and made up new. AMBIENOL® C minimizes excess iron from dissolving, reduces overall acid consumption and extends the life of the pickling solution.”

Preventing Hydrogen Embrittlement: AMBIENOL® C helps to minimize hydrogen embrittlement caused by hydrogen in the acid pickle migrating into the lattice of the steel alloy. Hydrogen embrittlement can cause weakness, fractures and failure if not properly addressed. 

“AMBIENOL® C does not eliminate the need for a post-treatment bake process to drive hydrogen out of the parts, but it is often specified by manufacturers of springs, bolts and other components because it minimizes over-pickling and excess attack on critical parts,” Lindemann points out.

Foam Blanket: AMBIENOL® C is formulated to create a thin layer of foam on the top of the acid pickle to help reduce fuming. This feature is especially appreciated by shops that don’t have ventilation on their tanks.  Hydrochloric acid fumes are especially corrosive and AMBIENOL® C helps keep them from attacking process line components and building structures.  

Heat Treat and Weld Scale Removal: AMBIENOL® C contains additives that help the acid pickle do a better job of removing tenacious carbon scale caused by heat treating and welding. Incomplete carbon scale removal is a major cause of rejected parts and results in a loss of profitability because of the need to strip and refinish them.

Stripping Zinc from Rejected Parts: Stripping electroplated zinc parts in a standard acid pickle may leave behind a dark smut or residue on the surface. Adding a low concentration of AMBIENOL® C to the acid strip tank will improve the stripping process and leave behind a clean and smut-free surface.

Keep the Pickling Tank Clean: AMBIENOL® C emulsifies oils, holding them in solution and keeping them from building up on the tank walls.  A clean tank is a good sign that oils and soils are not redepositing on the parts. When trying AMBIENOL® C for the first time, it is important to have a clean tank and a new acid pickle solution.

Acid Pickle before
Acid Pickle after

Boeing Specification

As a result of its impressive capabilities, AMBIENOL® C has been written into the Boeing BAC 5625 specification. It outlines the surface treatment of ferrous alloys using the following methods:

  • Cleaning and descaling of low-alloy steels and 400-series corrosion-resistant steels
  • Acid cleaning and descaling of corrosion-resistant steels
  • Manual cleaning, descaling and rust removal
  • Abrasive descaling in accordance with BAC 5748 (abrasive cleaning, deburring and finishing)
  • Removal of the white layer from nitrided steels

“This specification is used primarily for aviation and military parts,” Lindemann says. “We receive calls and emails from around the world because Metalline AMBIENOL® C seems to be one of the few products on this Boeing specification that are still readily available.”

Do This for Best Results with AMBIENOL® C

Metalline recommends dumping the old acid solution, thoroughly cleaning the tank and making up a fresh acid before adding AMBIENOL® C for the first time. 

“If you add it to a dirty tank, it’s going to interact with all of the soils and contamination already in solution. You want AMBIENOL® C to clean your parts, not your tank,” Lindemann advises. “If you start with fresh acid and a clean tank, AMBIENOL® C will help to keep it that way.”

AMBIENOL® C is environmentally friendly, completely biodegradable and is available in 5-gallon pails and 55-gallon drums. Contact the JSA office at 262-241-3200 or You can also contact your local JSA / Metalline salesperson or send an email to