Under the heading of “It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it,” we can find more than a few vocations. There are the roughnecks toiling in the oilsands and the garbage workers making their weekly pickups for us. Sewer systems: they don’t clean themselves.

Another dirty but necessary job is one that we at Moley Magnetics are familiar with: that of the scrapyard worker. The metals and other materials that pass through a scrapyard are anything but immaculate, and the grit and grime on scrap metal can wind up on the electromagnets that keep heavy scrap moving about the yard. Do you need to clean a scrap handling magnet as it accumulates these particles, or is a dirty magnet just part of a dirty job? We’ll explain why it matters to keep this equipment clean and how to do it safely.

Why Clean Magnets?

The strength of your scrap magnet relies on a clear connection between its surface and its target. Debris and detritus can obstruct that magnetic field, putting sections of that magnet’s surface “out of play.” This is the same principle that makes avoiding the buildup of rust so imperative to maintaining your magnet’s peak performance. If foreign objects and residue that affix themselves to a magnet contain moisture, they could do double damage—blocking the magnetic field while contributing to corrosion.

How To Do It

When cleaning a magnet, you need to be careful not to rely on water. Steel-alloy magnets are susceptible to corrosion, which can be far more damaging to your magnet than any buildup of grime. Whether you opt for an isopropyl alcohol solution or a gentle detergent, you need to dry your magnet as soon as you wipe off any accumulation. Don’t, however, expedite your magnet’s drying by subjecting it to excessive heat—this will destabilize the magnet and compromise its strength.

Fresh Starts for Clean Magnets

Overseeing a scrap yard requires maintenance. The need to clean scrap handling magnets is certainly part of that maintenance. So, too, is replacement of magnets that have gone out of service. Moley Magnetics offers scrap yard magnets that separate what you want from what you don’t and do it with unmatched durability. If they should pick up some unwanted debris in the process, fret not—it’s quick and easy to clean our magnets without weakening their strength.