Disclosed is an apparatus and method of removing contaminants from an article utilizing a supercritical or near supercritical fluid. The article to be cleaned is first contacted with a fluid in which the contaminant is soluble at a first supercritical or near temperature. The contaminate solubilized fluid is then cooled or heated to a second supercritical or near supercritical temperature to lower the solubility of the contaminant in the supercritical fluid and thereby precipitate the contaminant. The contaminant is then recovered.
Mary C. Marshall