New Alconox Blog



Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fiber optic lens cleaning

Fiber optic lenses and components must be free of any residues that could degrade or alter light transmission.

The most commonly used cleaner for cleaning fiber optic lenses and other components is Liquinox. Usually used at a 1% concentration followed by a thorough rinse in purified water.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

How to detect Detojet residues using phosphate

In order to document that acceptable levels of Detojet are left after cleaning, or to search for Detojet residues in an investigation of cleaning and rinsing effectiveness, you need to find an appropriate analytical method to detect Detojet.

Basically if I wanted to search for Detojet residues, the phosphates are probably the most characteristic ingredient to look for. Detojet contains 2.3% elemental Phosphorous as phosphates. Note that the phosphates in Detojet are polyphosphates.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CAP inspection detergent residue detection

To comply with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) laboratory accrediation inspection questionaire you need to check for detergent residues on your glassware to assure that good rinsing procedures are being used

To comply with the testing requirements, you can follow the procedures in the bulletin on the upper right hand corner of this web page by clicking on "CAP Residue Detection Methods." This bulletin outlines various choices to use a pH meter, Bromothymol Blue (BSP) dye pH indicator, and detergent detection test kits to perform the tests. Not all methods can be used for all cleaners. Only alkaline cleaners such as Alconox, Liquinox, and Solujet (to name a few) can be detected using BSP dye. Only alkaline or acidic cleaners can be detected using a pH meter. Neutral cleaners such as Luminox or Alcotabs must be detected using a detergent test kit.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Difficulties ordering Alconox, Inc. cleaners from Fisher Scientific

Due to changes in catalog numbers for Alcnox, Inc. cleaners at Fisher Scientific, we have heard that some customers or Fisher Scientific Customer Service Representatives may be having difficulty finding the correct catalog number to use to order Alconox, Inc. cleaners with Fisher. We have heard that their representatives have made statements to potential Alconox customers that could be understood by some to suggest that the Alconox cleaners are discontinued, obsolete or no longer available.

Alconox, Inc. cleaners are not discontinued, obsolete, or unavailable: just the Fisher catalog number has changed. To find the correct catalog numbers to order Alconox, Inc. cleaners with, you can see the table at, or go to the home page of and click on the link in the center of the home page about the "Important Product Availability Notice." This has a link to the table of old and new catalog numbers and explains that Fisher may place your order with us and have us ship directly from our factory. Note that you can also use the "Find Dealer" button at the top of the page to find other local stocking dealers if you prefer not to have your cleaners shipped from our factory.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Reprocessing and re-use of single use medical devices

Single use medical devices cannot be re-used without FDA compliant reprocessing procedures. Essentially reprocessing a single use device constitutes manufacturing it which requires conmpliance with FDA medical device manufacturing regulations. Appropriate cleaners must be chosen and cleaning validations done.

Alconox, Inc. cleaners can be used for medical device reprocessing cleaning. Alconox provides technical bulletins, books, and support for the use and validation of their cleaners. See the medical device validation section by clicking on the related Pharmaceutical Cleaning Validation link located at the upper right hand corner of the page and then clicking on the "see printable version" button on the upper right hand corner which will take you to This document contains information about identifying residues on medical devices, selecting residue detection methods, selecting medical device surface sampling methods, establishing acceptable residue limits, validation of the methods, writing standard operating procedures, traning operators to follow the procedures, and a directory of analytical methods to use to detect specific Alconox brand detergents on the surface of a medical device that is being cleaned for re-processing. Alconox cleaners are both efficient at the removal of post use residues on medical devices as well as having the documentation and support needed for compliance with FDA regulations governing medical device re-use and reprocessing

Thursday, October 12, 2006

High purity cleaner for cleaning nuclear stainless steel

Stainless steel used in nuclear power related applications must be cleaned with cleaners that contain no trace contaminants that can potentially harm the very long term integrity of the stainless steel. No trace agents that could potentially cause hydrogen embrittlement or stress cracking can be tolerated.

Use the very high purity Detergent 8 to clean nuclear power related stainless steel and other surfaces in reactor cavities and equipment. Not only is Detergent 8 free of potentially harmful trace impurities, it is also free of chelating agents that can interfere with ion exchange waste treatment to remove radioactive isotopes from liquid waste resulting from the cleaning operations. See the Detergent 8 trace analysis above at the top center of the page by selecting the pull down menu for Detergent 8, then to the right selecting the pull down menu for Trace Analyis, and hit "go." For further details concerning additional testing on a wide range of other impurities of potential concern, contact Alconox technical support at or call ++914-948-040.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mold Release and Silicon or Polysilane Oil Removal

Silicon Mold Releases and polysilane oils are very difficult to remove filmy residues that can be difficult to remove from stainless steel, plastic and glass

In our experience silicon mold release agents (polysilanes or silicon oils) are extremely hard to remove and can account for all sorts of residue problems. We have seen mold release agents on glass act as a protective film on the glass and when you try to clean them off with very aggressive acid or alkaline cleaners, the cleaning agent etches around the edges of the mold release agent and the un-coated sections of the glass, leaving behind a shadow of where the mold release was or had been. Even if the cleaner does eventually remove the mold release, there is a permanent shadow of where it had been due to the etching that occurred where the mold release had been. We have also seen this same effect with fingerprints on glass. If you think you have a silicon mold release agent on the glass, remove it with ultrasonic cleaning with extremely hot (over 170 deg F or over 77 deg C) 2% Alconox followed by a thorough rinse. Ideally, make sure the first rinse is with extremely hot water. Typically 10-20 minutes in ultrasonics is adequate to remove the residue. Alconox is a mild cleaner and will not etch the glass under normal cleaning conditions. On plastic first make sure your plastic is compatible with exposure to these temperatures. As we best understand it, many polysilanes have a softening point at somewhere in the 160-170 deg F (72-77 deg C) range. Above that softening point, the polysilanes can be more readily emulsified by a strong emulsifier. A 2% Alconox solution is a strong emulsifier and has been successfully used to remove difficult silicon oil residues. Once the polysilane is emulsified, you want to rinse it with hot water so that cold rinse water does not break the emulsion and redeposit the silicon oil before it has a chance to be rinsed away. The cleaning temperature is critical here. If this is a smooth, cleanable and easily rinsed surface, you can often get away without having to use a very hot water rinse. If there are crevices, blind holes or other features to the glass that would slow down the rinsing, then the very hot first rinse is critical tool Once you have done an initial static or running water initial very hot rinse, then subsequent rinses can be usually be done with ambient temperature water. Note that if extremely high purity deionized or reverse-osmosis water is used for the first very hot rinse, this water can etch glass; although at least it should be a uniform etch because there should no longer be a mold release mask on the glass. To avoid this, use tap water for the first very hot rinse, followed by cooler or ambient temperature higher purity water if a high purity water rinse is required to avoid water spots or other tap water residues. Note that as far as removing the mold release is concerned, tap water rinses will work just fine. The reason to use any higher purity water rinse is to avoid water spots or other tap water residues. These tap water residues can also be minimized by physically removing the tap water and not allowing it to evaporate and deposit - this can be done by blowing off the rinse water, wiping it off, or removing it using a drying solvent like isopropyl alcohol.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

How to clean lab glassware exposed to sea water

Sea water contains a large and variable quantity of salts, biological and organic residues. Lab glassware needs to be free of any of these residues to avoid interference in research involving sea water.

Sea water would not particularly present challenges beyond the normal array of residues that lab glassware sees in the wide variety of types of lab glassware that Alconox, Inc. laboratory detergents are used to clean. A standard cleaning protocol, see the users manual at the top right hand corner of this web page, will work fine. For typical manual cleaning wash with 1% Alconox or Liquinox in warm water followed by a thorough rinse in water of suitable purity) for standard laboratory cleaning requirements. If you are doing some extremely sensitive analytical procedure with the glassware (beyond ppm analytical detections), then you will want to pay particular attention to your rinsing technique and the quality of your rinse water. In general use deionized water for inorganic analysis rinsing and distilled water for organic analysis rinsing. Carbon filtered or reverse osmosis water can be used in place of distilled water typically. Rinse more than the standard three time rinse for more critical analytical glassware. In the event of glassware used for extreme low level inorganic analysis, an intermediate acid wash step after cleaning with the Alconox or Liquinox will improve cleaning. For manual cleaning use a warm 2% Citranox for the acid cleaning step prior to the final thorough rinse.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

D - Drying

Why is drying of parts so important in ensuring critical cleaning?

This addresses the eighth variable "DRYING" in Alconox's acronym BATHCARD, factors that contribute to successful cleaning. Click here to learn more.

Drying can be done by physically removal of rinse water or by evaporation. Physically removal by wiping, blowing, centrifuging, drying fluids, absorption, or other physical techniques will eliminate the rinse water before it has a chance to evaporate.

Such methods prevent precipitating out of any salts or impurities that could form water spots. Water removing drying methods also minimize the risk of corrosion occurring during drying.

Evaporation methods such as air drying, heat drying, and vacuum drying can deposit nonvolatile impurities present in the rinse water and cause water spots. Although vacuum drying does evaporate water and can lead to deposits, in many cases the deposits themselves evaporate under vacuum drying conditions. Drying can affect residues and corrosion because impurities from rinse water can be deposited during evaporation.

Water, particularly high-purity rinse water, can be corrosive to metal substrates during heated and air drying. Physical removal of rinse water, various drying techniques and the addition of corrosion inhibitors (with tolerance for inhibitor residue), to the rinse water, can help minimize such corrosion.

By choosing an appropriate cleaning agitation method, using the right rinsing and drying process, then varying the cleaner, concentration, heat, and time, an optimized aqueous-cleaning system can be achieved. To sustain successful cleaning, control before, and after, cleaning are important considerations. If you think about the variables in BATHCARD (before, agitation, time, heat, chemistry, after, rinse, dry) while evaluating your cleaning process, you will be more successful at diagnosing problems and optimizing your process. Click here for the pdf.

Monday, October 02, 2006

R - Rinse

What role does rinsing play in the cleaning process?

This addresses the seventh variable "RINSE" in Alconox's acronym BATHCARD, factors that contribute to successful cleaning. Click here to learn more.

With aqueous cleaning, the last thing to come into contact with the cleaned surface is the rinse water. A thorough rinse will remove soils which have been cleaned from the surface as well as detergent residue. Rinsing is where much of the actual removal of residues from the vicinity of the surface occurs.

After the residue/detergent mixture is rinsed away, any contaminants, present in the rinse water, may be deposited on the surface when rinse water is evaporated. For many applications, it is possible to rinse with tap water and then do a final purified water rinse to remove tap water residues. For higher level medical device, semiconductor, and electronics cleaning, all rinses should be done using purified water. Rinsing is primarily a mass displacement mechanism and should involve exchanges of water. This is why a running water rinse is typically the most effective rinse. With soak or ultrasonically agitated rinsing, it is desirable to have two counter-flow cascade rinse tanks dripping "over the tank" to reduce dragout. In all cases, running water or an otherwise agitated rinse is better than a static soak-tank rinse. Higher levels of cleaning may require the exclusive use of deionized or distilled water and in some cases more than three times the volume of rinse water.

In most clean-room, electronic-component and circuit board cleaning, deionized water is preferred over either tap or distilled water. There is less potential for metallic cation deposition on sensitive electronic components, leaving conductive residues. On metal parts, the use of deionized rinse water reduces the likelihood of depositing calcium, magnesium, or other water spotting salts. For medical device rinsing, distilled or reverse-osmosis grade water is typically used because it contains fewer organic contaminants.