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Author: Subject: Cleaning up your crap
killswitch
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I feel like this is a part of energetics that is almost never touched on in places where amateurs can get their hands on it. Many sort of stumble around the issue, and others participate in the hobby so infrequently they suffer no real consequences from improper disposal or cleaning. In fact, I'll admit right out that I don't really know shit about how the professionals do it, and the steps I take to keep my plumbing intact amount to "ammonia water/vinegar and prayer," and my glassware, after a rinse with distilled water, is wiped with a paper towel and put in a household dishwasher.

Anyone who's made nitroglycerin or nitroglycol has experienced the annoying consequences of surface tension: blobs of product swirling around on the surface of the water like beef fat in spaghetti sauce until they go down the drain during decanting, and that last little speck of product that refuses to pour and is too small to get at with your pipette, leaving a small blob of high explosives at the bottom of your glassware.

Similar annoyances include insoluble powder residue in your mortar and pestle and the nearly-demonic propensity for static cling common to sheets of nitrocellulose and crystals of solid nitro compounds (my experiences recently with long crystals of picric acid were less than amusing).

And this is assuming you aren't using insoluble metallic dusts, which present their own problems.

Lessons I learned the hard way include: the ability of moist TATP on a paper towel to cause the plastic counter top beneath it to pucker up with blisters; the inability of nitrile gloves to resist mixed acid solutions (no injuries, thank God; I now double-glove with HDPE food server gloves); and that a paper towel used to wipe up a small spill of mixed acid will begin a runaway nitration and catch fire in short order.

Any tips on keeping a lab clean, safe, and well maintained between and during procedures (even–in fact, especially–for those on a shoestring budget) would be greatly appreciated.

Because after all, unless you've gone into serious high-level classes or done original research, your messes in Gen Chem lab were probably cleaned up by a grad student.
Magpie
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I don't make energetics so can't comment on their clean-up peculiarities. But I do have some general procedures that are my habit:

One of the things I really like about having my own lab is that my glassware is cleaned to my own standards and I know where it is when I need it, ie, everything has its storage place. Also I have made up small kits of tubing and other equipment for such tasks as steam distillation, steam bath use, PID oil bath controlled heating, etc. That way I don't have to hunt down all the parts and pieces or cut new tubing, etc.

When I finish an experiment I clean up everything right away. In fact I'm usually cleaning as I experiment as time permits. I really don't like walking into my lab with dirty glassware laying around. If time goes by I would forget what the residues are, and they become harder to remove. Besides, if some unauthorized person might happen to walk into my lab, given the chemophobia of the general public, the less glassware seen the better. When everything is put away my lab looks more like a wood shop than a chemistry lab.

All chemicals are labeled as soon as they're bottled.

Normally I let my dirty glassware soak overnight in hot soapy (kitchen detergent) water, rinse in hot tap water, and then let air dry. I only rinse with distilled water small test tubes that might be used for qualitative analyses.

Waste volatile organics can be evaporated or burned using proper caution, of course. Gunk can be absorbed in kitty litter. Chlorinated solvents and toxic metals can be taken to your city's waste disposal station, properly labeled. Waste energetics may present special disposal problems, but I don't have to deal with those.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
Fossil
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I always wash my things as soon as I am done an experiment/procedure. This aids me in keeping my lab clean and organised which is paramount in terms of safety. You never want to have multiple things lying around on your worktable as you can easily mistake something for something it isn't.

whenever I wash my things I wash/rinse them in tap water until everything visible is gone. I give everything a nice scrubbing to get anything that might be left. I then rinse everything in 99% isopropanol rubbing alcohol. Everything is then left to air dry and is then stored for later use.

I have been using this method of washing for quite a while now and is has the job quite well, at least to my knowledge.
Fossil
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 Quote: Originally posted by BrandySmith Can 99% isopropanol rubbing alcohol really provide a drying effect? Is their any alternate method for drying?

For me it does, there are no noticeable traces of the alcohol left on the glassware that is washed in this manner. The isopropanol is also very good for decontaminating your equipment, which is the main reason as to why i use it.
Pyro
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i just neutralize it as much as possible and tip it in the waste disposal can in the junkjard, and stick glass in the dishwasher.
killswitch
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Any tips on using Caro's acid or base piranha for cleaning glassware?
DougTheMapper
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I often wonder if certain solvents or free halogens like chlorine and bromine are eventually going to have a detrimental effect on the PVC drain lines of my house.

Victor Grignard is a methylated spirit.
Pyro
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no idea, ask they guy at the plumbing store. :-)
INORGANICUM
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sweet pyro, but where i come from they would proberbly tell you exactly how

i WAS THINKING THAT THE BOOK "LACRO WHAT EVER THEY ARE" Should have a section or info on neutaliseing/disposal of these things.
with many a newby chlorinating tolluene for benzaldehyde, the need to dispose of tear gas is needed here

I WOULD SUGEST HIGH PRIORITY LINKS FOR THE UNEDUCATED CHEMICAL "COOKS" MIXERS N SHAKERS. INNOCENT PEOPLE SHOULDNT BE EXPOSED TO THE POSSIBLE HORRERS OF COMMING INTO CONTACT WITH THESE IDIOTS CONCOCSIONS.
Not wanting to help/enthuse or pramote such practacies. JUST TO MAKE IT CLEAR TO EVERYONE JUST MY OPINION. IN ORE

[Edited on 19-04-1967 by INORGANICUM]
Aurum555
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I typically wash with loads of both hot and cold water. Then I dry with a paper towel. If any acids or bases are involved I neutralize with bicarb or vinegar. Distilled water is used later if necessary.
Fossil
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Anybody have any tips on cleaning glassware that contained strong acids such as aqua regia or concentrated sulfuric acid?
Fossil
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