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Author: Subject: Cleaning glassware and other equipment
j_sum1

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I came up with an ingenious idea when cleaning up some glassware the other day.

I had a 500mL flask with what seemed to be a particularly persistent deposit. I tried the usual routines -- hot soapy water, lots of mechanical scrubbing, strong base, oven cleaner and as a last resort, piranha solution. Nothing I tried would remove the yellow-brown marks.

I was about to give up and then I tried scrubbing the outside of the flask. Worked like a charm.
Melgar
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Ah yes, I think we've all been there more times than we'd like to admit.

As far as your basic organic crud that's not very hard to get off, well, I realized at one point that I was wasting quite a bit of $20/gallon isopropanol, methanol, and acetone just rinsing out organics. Switched to automotive windshield washer fluid as my cleaner of first resort, and I have to say it's a great deal at$2 or so a gallon. I also use it as the coolant for distillation. One nice thing about it is that it doesn't leave residue if you accidentally spill any. Also, mold and other microorganisms will grow in dilute isopropanol. Not so for methanol.

The first step in the process of learning something is admitting that you don't know it already.

I'm givin' the spam shields max power at full warp, but they just dinna have the power! We're gonna have to evacuate to new forum software!
CharlieA
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My go-to cleaning soap, after rinsing with an appropriate solvent, is "seventh generation dish detergent powder". Surprisingly (at least to me) the list of ingredients given on the back of the box is the same as the list of ingredients in the SDS. It is phosphate-free (I guess the old Alconox has bit the bullet?).

Sulaiman
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I have experimented with acids and bases, oxidisers, detergents ..
I find that whichever cleaning solution is used, mechanical scrubbing always helps a lot,
as they work well and so far show no signs of scratching my flasks insides.
Swirled - not shaken.
They are easy to rinse and re-use.

CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
CobaltChloride
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Cleaning a RBF

My distillation apparatus recently came so I decided to acquaint myself with it by distilling some tap water. After the distillation, I noticed there are white streaks on the inside. I tried cleaning with hydrochloric acid as I thought it was some calcium carbonate/ magnesium carbonate, but it didn't go away even after scrubbing with steel scrubbing pads. How do you think I could remove this? I noticed there are white deposits on my pots as well that don't dissolve in HCl, so it's clearly something in the water. It could be calcium sulfate, which would mean it should be removed by hot, concentrated sodium hydroxide (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50436a015). What do you think I should use to remove it?
j_sum1

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Mood: Metastable, and that's good enough.

A new active discussion happening here:

No new methods suggested AFAICS and so I will leave that one alone for whatever discussion might ensue -- rather than merging it.
Melgar
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Using a sponge or a rag attached to the end of a stiff wire (like a coat hanger wire) works well for cleaning things like erlenmeyers and RBFs. You bend it into whatever shape is best suited for reaching the spot you need to get, then work it into position.

The first step in the process of learning something is admitting that you don't know it already.

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wg48
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 Quote: Originally posted by Melgar Using a sponge or a rag attached to the end of a stiff wire (like a coat hanger wire) works well for cleaning things like erlenmeyers and RBFs. You bend it into whatever shape is best suited for reaching the spot you need to get, then work it into position.

A sccouring pad can also be used with this method.

Also the sponge-backed pad when wet can be made to move round a spherical flask by vigorous shaking of the flask in a circular motion. Stainless steel scouring pads can also be used but there is a risk of scratching the flask.

The scouring pad can also be tie wrapped round a metal weight and used as above.

Borosilicate glass:
Good temperature resistance and good thermal shock resistance but finite.
For normal, standard service typically 200-230°C, for short-term (minutes) service max 400°C
Maximum thermal shock resistance is 160°C
happyfooddance
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 Quote: Originally posted by CobaltChloride My distillation apparatus recently came so I decided to acquaint myself with it by distilling some tap water. After the distillation, I noticed there are white streaks on the inside. I tried cleaning with hydrochloric acid as I thought it was some calcium carbonate/ magnesium carbonate, but it didn't go away even after scrubbing with steel scrubbing pads. How do you think I could remove this? I noticed there are white deposits on my pots as well that don't dissolve in HCl, so it's clearly something in the water. It could be calcium sulfate, which would mean it should be removed by hot, concentrated sodium hydroxide (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50436a015). What do you think I should use to remove it?

I think it is calcium carbonate... Try hotter HCl. I didn't look at your link, but calcium sulfate is moderately soluble in boiling water, even a good stream of hot water gets it all out any time I've dealt with. Calcium carbonate can be a pain, even with dilute HCl, but if you put 20% in your flask and throw a reflux condenser on it and some heat under it, it should dissolve quickly.
JJay
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It is essential to make sure that any traces of calcium are removed before trying things like chromic acid and piranha solution, or you risk forming calcium sulfate, which sometimes sticks to glass. It can be hard to remove, but scrubbing will take it off.

I usually use dilute acetic acid to remove other calcium salts, but it can take a while to react sometimes.

[Edited on 20-7-2018 by JJay]

Mr. Rogers
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Wash Bottles --

Why are wash bottles for certain solvents made from incompatible materials?

Every compatibility chart for polypropylene states it will be attacked by acetone, but this is a common composition for acetone wash bottles? I have to assume I'm reading something wrong or too far into this...?

[Edited on 10-9-2018 by Mr. Rogers]
CobaltChloride
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I never saw any wash bottle made out of PP. All the wash bottles I saw were made of LDPE which is the ideal material for one because it reists acetone, alcohols and water. It is also very flexible so you can squeeze the bottle. Are you sure the wash bottles you are looking at aren't LDPE?
wg48
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 Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Rogers Wash Bottles -- Why are wash bottles for certain solvents made from incompatible materials? Every compatibility chart for polypropylene states it will be attacked by acetone, but this is a common composition for acetone wash bottles? I have to assume I'm reading something wrong or too far into this...? [Edited on 10-9-2018 by Mr. Rogers]

My acetone arrived in what looks like a PP bottle and the last PP compatibility chart I read described its compatibility as excellent see: https://www.calpaclab.com/polypropylene-chemical-compatibili...

But then my real turpentine arrived in what looks PP but that chart described its compatibility as "Severe Effect" ??? I suspect it not pure turpentine as it was from the same seller that sold me asphalt as a water soluble black wood dye.

Edit: From the same site it describes the compatibility of LDPP and HDPP as "at 20°C-50°C: damage may occur.
Not recommended for continuous use" see: https://www.calpaclab.com/chemical-compatibility-charts/

Apparently I reading wrong too LOL

[Edited on 10-9-2018 by wg48]

Borosilicate glass:
Good temperature resistance and good thermal shock resistance but finite.
For normal, standard service typically 200-230°C, for short-term (minutes) service max 400°C
Maximum thermal shock resistance is 160°C
Sulaiman
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there is often a (recycling) resin identification code on plastic items
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resin_identification_code
wg48
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 Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman there is often a (recycling) resin identification code on plastic items https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resin_identification_code

Yes instead of guessing check the code.

The acetone is in a HDPE bottle. The real turpentine bottle has a triangle containing a "0", (no arrows) to the right is a "2" I suspect HDPE.

Borosilicate glass:
Good temperature resistance and good thermal shock resistance but finite.
For normal, standard service typically 200-230°C, for short-term (minutes) service max 400°C
Maximum thermal shock resistance is 160°C
CobaltChloride
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I found a nice way of cleaning oxidized stainless steel crucibles. The oxide coating is calcined and doesn't dissolve in aqueous acids. However, I was able to clean the bottom of my stainless steel crucible from oxides by covering the interior with a layer of ammonium chloride and then heating this with a torch until it started emmiting a lot of smoke and then letting it cool down. I did this five times, then I rinsed out the ammonium chloride. Much of the oxide coating had dissapered and I was able to remove the rest by just scrubbing with a brush and a bit of warm soapy water.

This procedure seems obvious now seeing as ammonium chloride is sold exactly for removing oxide coatings, but I didn't see it mentioned on the forum so I thought I'd share it. Now I don't need to buy another salt shaker for doing reactions with molten alkali

[Edited on 28-9-2018 by CobaltChloride]
Texium (zts16)
25-5-2019 at 07:26
pneumatician
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I distilled tap water various times and the glass get a sticky white layer... not remoblable with nitric, sulfuric, chloridric...
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Responsible Practices » Cleaning glassware and other equipment Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues   » Detritus   » Test Forum