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Author: Subject: Cleaning glassware and other equipment
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[*] posted on 20-10-2017 at 02:49

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.
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[*] posted on 20-10-2017 at 03:13

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.

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[*] posted on 20-10-2017 at 17:05

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?:D).

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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 01:38

I have experimented with acids and bases, oxidisers, detergents ..
I find that whichever cleaning solution is used, mechanical scrubbing always helps a lot,
my favourite is c3mm soda glass beads
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.

When doing chemistry, don't forget basic physics.
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[*] posted on 16-3-2018 at 03:44
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 ( What do you think I should use to remove it?
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