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Cleaning and storing your lab equipment

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Rising Star
The reason of making this thread is to share the knowledge about cleaning your lab equipment. I am curious how you guys are doing it and possibly we can learn something from each other.

For me, i am cleaning everything soapless, loads of warm/cold tap water and rinse everything with demineralised water. The Freebase DMT residue left in de glass vessel after the freeze participate and scraping it out, i rinse with some vinegar and hot water and then rinse it again with demineralised water.

For drying, i first try to shake out as much of the water droplets as i can and then place everything at the wall with a fan blowing over it. Only when everything is absolutely dry i continue with storage of the equipment.

For storage i use aluminium foil to cover (big) glassware for contamination (dust etc) and everything small enough i put in large ziplock bags in order (glass with glass, magnets with magnets, stainless steel tools with stainless steel) you get my drift.

The 'extraction' desk i clean with hot water and bleach and rinse it afterwards with water.

I'm curious if i can learn some cool techniques from the professionals :p to make my life somewhat easier.
Yeh alconox. Sometimes acids or a base is used. Ultrasonic cleaners are nice, esp with cleaning condensers. pihrana solution for sintered glass works well.

I like heavy cabinets. Husky makes perfect ones.
Cool, i will definitely try to get my hands on some Alconox. I looked it up and it seems just like i need.

How do you guys 'dry' your glassware?
If for some reason, you get some nasty organic funk in a place that defies scrubbing. You know shit happens...

Find a container with lid that won't react with strong bases and large enough to put the funky glassware in fully submerged in solution. Fill it with 90+% isopropyl alcohol or acetone and NaOH or drain cleaner. The amount of base can be altered depending on how bad the funk is but be careful with this stuff when you mix it strong. It will eat right through anything organic including you. Rubber gloves and goggles are required, rubber apron is recommended.

Carefully place the glassware inside, put the lid on and wait. When it's done, you should be able to simply rinse everything out.
For storage, I have a good deal of glassware packed into several 27 gallon Storage Totes, the totes are filled with perlite or vermiculite, and the glassware wrapped in bubble wrap (be sure to wrap the glassware thoroughly preventing packing material from getting into the glassware) the wrapped glassware is packed in the vermiculite filling the tote, ensuring that the glassware will have padding on all sides, and is not laid up against flat surfaces, and ensuring that the glassware does not bump into other glassware or the sides of the tote. In this fashion all my materials could be packed, transported, and unpacked in mere hours...or they could be safely stored with out fear of being broken...

I use a little rinse bottle filled with acetone, to rinse the glassware before setting on the drying rack. Water or acetone takes care of most leftover crap in flasks.

But for stubborn or burned on material, you'll need a base bath (you'll be scrubbing for hours). Especially for round bottoms, Base bath is also great for getting your glassware to look shiney new again.

I use the general ratios: (it doesn't matter a lot)

100g KOH
1L 95% Ethanol (or methanol, or isopropanol work too, whatever is cheapest)
250mL water.

I made up a batch using 4x this, 400g KOH, 4L ethanol, 1L of water, and store it in an HDPE plastic pail with a lid. It gets black and gross overtime when it eats up organics, but ive been using the same bath for close to a year now, still works great, just had to top it up with ethanol. Just don't get it in your eyes. Wear safety glasses. Glass is very slippery covered in strong base, its easy to lose grip and cause a splash.

Fill up the round bottoms with no air bubbles, or it won't clean evenly and the outline of the bubble will be etched into the glass. After a day or so empty them rinse them with water and some dilute HCl. Brand spanking new.

Don't leave them in for more than a couple of days, the strong basic solution will etch the glass, notably the ground glass joints. Though don't worry about this too much, I have some second hand flasks 15+ yrs old that have seen hundreds of baths, still function perfectly.

And it beats using H2SO4 and CrO3. Seriously.
MnO2 stains from permanganate shift nicely with a mixture of citric acid and 3% hydrogen peroxide. I worked this out for myself when I was a kid, which may have been the pinnacle of my scientific career to date.

Iron stains can be removed similarly.
downwardsfromzero said:
MnO2 stains from permanganate shift nicely with a mixture of citric acid and 3% hydrogen peroxide. I worked this out for myself when I was a kid, which may have been the pinnacle of my scientific career to date.

Iron stains can be removed similarly.

I once gave my mother a spray bottle full of 50/50 3% vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide for removing stains. I think that was the day she finally understood my interest in chemistry.
I figured that everything was fairly thoroughly covered HERE, and would rather not be redundant by repeating the contents of the PDF. There's probably some conversation to be had here, though it's one of the more dull areas regarding lab work...

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