Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Storage containers

Murexide - 12-10-2019 at 01:19

Hello all,

What do you store your solid chems in?

Many eBay chemicals come in standard zip lock bags (probably for cost reasons). So far I’ve kept them in here without too many problems, but it seems quite messy altogether. (Even iodine came inside a zip lock bag inside an aluminium (!) pouch, I immediately moved this to triple bagged / double vialed container)

But I’ve come across some cheap reagent plastic bottles that are about $1/each (less in bulk), quite tempting to move the many chems into these bottles.

Do you keep these bottles on hand for general use? How much does it generally cost you?

Also, do disposable plastic spoons work for scooping chemicals out (could be PET or Other, not quite sure)? These seem to be very cheap (couple dollars for hundreds) and much less of a hassle than using chemical scoops, then having to dry them (using a tissue deposits small amounts of paper everywhere!)

karlos³ - 12-10-2019 at 04:08

Either in PP containers or glass with a PP screw lid on(like with, for example, iodine).
I just use old storage containers from which I used the original content up, never a good idea to throw the empty ones away.

Same with liquid chemicals, I keep most of the amber glass bottles I used up for further storage of self produced things.

PP spoons work well, PET I would imagine not so much.
I use these things for anything metal won't do well with.

Dr.Bob - 12-10-2019 at 05:12

Many containers work well, almost all are better than plastic bags. I like glass, as that tends to keep out water better, but even that can fail is the lid is not a tight seal. I have some chemicals in Qorpak type bottles that are 40 years old, and most are still fine. But I have used a variety of reused bottles. Cheap plastic bottles do tend to get very brittle over time, I recently cleaned up some old chemicals and the ones in old, thin, white bottles were very brittle, some were cracked or just fell apart when I tried to handle them. But the thicker ones did fine. Old plastic bags tend to just get weak quickly, many of the chemicals in plastic bags were leaking or very weak or very wet. So I would not store anytime that might be hazardous in plastic. It is fine for Na2HCO3, CaCO3, and other harmless salts, but not for heavy metals, bases, acids, etc.

I have some various plastic containers for $1 each, as well as a variety of glass bottle for only $2 or less. Not as much variety as before, but I can likely find something good for most sizes. And many have PTFE liners in Green phenolic caps, which will last forever, and resist most everything. Plus you can get glass vials from 4 ml to 40 ml pretty cheaply, and they also work well for small samples, and are easy to store.

PirateDocBrown - 12-10-2019 at 13:08

The changes in packaging chems is sometimes a bit disconcerting for old hands.

I'm used to liquids in nice Boston rounds, and solids in Blakes, Packers, or even French Squares.

CharlieA - 12-10-2019 at 16:00

For most solids, I use peanut butter jars (PETE plastic). (I eat a lot of peanut butter.) I prefer glass. For wide-mouth glass jars, I generally re-use food containers. I have purchased narrow mouth glass bottles, both amber and clear, including some with PTFE lined caps.

Murexide - 12-10-2019 at 17:08

So it seems like the consensus is to move the reagents to bottles. I guess I'll explore the options and make that happen.

@Dr.Bob Thank you for your offer with the bottles and vials. Currently most of my chemicals are not very hazardous, but if I have to store anything dangerous / needs to be sealed very well, I'll be sure to consider it.

As for the spoons, I did some research and it turns out they're either made of polystyrene or polypropylene. Looking at a chemical compatibility chart they're both fine for all the solids I've searched up so that's quite good.

For the bottles, I also made some labels. I'm thinking of printing them (using inkjet printer) on printable vinyl adhesive, it'll last longer and won't fall off. Anyone experimented with this?

teodor - 13-10-2019 at 05:27

I often use this type of containers. Costs 50-70 eurocents each. In the Netherlands you can buy them in Action shop.

banks.jpg - 124kB

PirateDocBrown - 13-10-2019 at 11:09

If it's non-corrosive, the easiest and cheapest is usually Mason jars.

I also often reuse old food jars, even plastic mayonaise jars (for very inert compounds, like sodium bicarbonate).
cylindrical olive jars wrok well for many items, or low- profile wide mouths, like pimientos often come in.

Naturally, for more corrosive compounds, more inert containers are needed.

hodges - 14-10-2019 at 10:49

I bought standard chemical storage containers (amber glass bottles, plastic bottles, small plastic jars) from (US). Not too expensive.

I make up standard concentrations of acids from commercial products such as muriatic acid and rooto drain cleaner, and store them in amber glass bottles. Good to have, for example, 3M acid solutions for most experiments, vs. the 12-18M raw product. A bit safer to handle on a routine basis as well. I have 3M NaOH solution in a plastic bottle designed for chemical storage. Salts I store in the plastic chemical storage jars.

I did try ordering "ordinary" plastic storage jars on eBay, but they were not suitable even for storing salts (not at all airtight). I have used old plastic jars that previously contained vitamins, prescription medicines, and bullion cubes before (obviously, remove the original labels), and they are better than "ordinary" plastic jars from eBay but are not completely airtight.

Arthur Dent - 15-10-2019 at 11:55

I usually use 1l growlers from breweries, and as a bonus, they come with the nice bakelite caps with a protruding plastic insert inside. Excellent for solvents, and acids, although HCl and HNO3 are in special hi-end lab bottles with heavy PTFE caps.

For dry chemicals, the nice square jars with a colored metal cap at the dollar store are just perfect. One of my family member is a pharmacist and provides me on occasion with empty pill bottles, really nice, thick plastic bottles with a wide mouth.

I recently purchased a bit of KMnO3, which came in thick, vacuum-sealed plastic bags. I put the bags unopened in a glass jar, since it appears to keep the powder perfectly dry. Hope the plastic bags will not degrade. :o

karlos³ - 15-10-2019 at 14:15

KMnO3, wow :P
Did not know that exists.... no honestly, sorry, am just kidding regarding the typo ;)

Arthur Dent - 16-10-2019 at 10:39

Oh. Uh. Argh. KMnO4... my finger slipped... honest! ;) LOL

Abromination - 25-10-2019 at 00:11

I like to use jars like the ones teodor shows in his picture and PP or HDPE pill bottles. I usually prefer glass if possible.

rockyit98 - 25-10-2019 at 06:19

sometimes you can find PVC containers. they are awesome because hey resist UV radiation unlike PP, doesn't react with HNO3 like PP or LDPE, can handle NaOH.but be aware some organic solvent can dissolve it like in PVC glue eg: Acetone , Cyclohexanone and Methyl ethyl ketone.

Dr.Bob - 25-10-2019 at 06:38

I would avoid PVC for much in the lab, it is not only not resistant to most organics, but it becomes very brittle with time, and will eventually just break. I just recently cleaned up some messes due to exactly that. But I have glass bottles of chemicals that are 40+ years old that look like new.

CharlieA - 25-10-2019 at 17:06

I agree with Abromination and Dr. Bob: go with glass. I also use HDPE/LDPE and PP containers, but I haven't found any pill containers other than PETE, which I use mainly for dry samples.

rockyit98 - 25-10-2019 at 19:26

jam jars is ok for dry chemicals. steel lids will corrode if got wet.i don't have a 3D printer but can any one tried to print lids with ABS? will it work? i store super glue tube in one with calcium carbide piece wraparound tissue paper as a water absorber. it seals well and i can use 3g super glue for months.