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Swarfega is a brand of heavy-duty hand cleaner, manufactured by Deb Ltd. It was invented by Audley Bowdler Williamson.[1] It is a dark green, gelatinous, thixotropic substance used to clean grease, oil, printer's ink, or general persistent, hydrophobic dirt from the skin. As with other such cleaners, it is drastically more effective than soap or other common cleansing products at removing such dirt; Swarfega is thus virtually ubiquitous in environments where this kind of dirt is common, such as garages and machine shops.

Swarfega is used by working a small amount into dry skin, then wiping or rinsing off.

The effectiveness of Swarfega is due to the powerfully hydrophobic ingredients, notably medium-chain (C9-C16) alkanes and cycloalkanes; in combination with an emulsifier (Trideceth-5 in current formulations). These are more efficient at solubilising oil and grease than a detergent alone.[citation needed]

In the UK, the word "swarfega" may be used as a generic term for all similar cleaners, particularly if they have the same green jelly-like appearance as genuine Swarfega. According to the company website, the name comes from "swarf", being the old engineering term for oil and grease, and "ega", as in "eager to remove". This may be a bit confusing, as "swarf" now commonly refers to the metal shavings and chips resulting from metalworking operations.


  1. ^ "Latest Wills", The Register, The Times, 19 August 2006, page 67.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Swarfega". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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