New Alconox Blog



Thursday, December 20, 2007


What is the GHTF?

Directly taken from, The Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF) is a voluntary group of representatives from national medical device regulatory authorities and the regulated industry. Since its inception, the GHTF has been comprised of representatives from five founding members grouped into three geographical areas: Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America, each of which actively regulates medical devices using their own unique regulatory framework. The purpose of the GHTF is to encourage convergence in regulatory practices related to ensuring the safety, effectiveness, performance and quality of medical devices, as well as promoting technological innovation and facilitating international trade. The primary way in which this is accomplished is via the publication and dissemination of harmonized guidance documents on basic regulatory practices.

In this regard, Alconox aqueous cleaners are formulated to scrupulously clean medical devices to help manufacturer meet specified regulations, for more information please visit

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


What is the objective of the ICH?

According to, The International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use. (ICH) is a unique project that brings together the regulatory authorities of Europe, Japan and the United States and experts from the pharmaceutical industry in the three regions to discuss scientific and technical aspects of product registration.

The objective of ICH is to increase international harmonisation of technical requirements to ensure that safe, effective, and high quality medicines are developed and registered in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. These activities have been undertaken to promote public health, prevent unnecessary duplication of clinical trials in humans, and minimize the use of animal testing without compromising safety and effectiveness.

In this regard, keeping manufacturing equipment clean is necessary to avoid cross contamination. To ensure safety requirements are met and to maintain a high standard of quality for products, many pharmaceutical manufacturers use Alconox brand products for critical cleaning. Learn more about Alconox aqueous cleaners and validation support offered by Alconox critical cleaning experts! Visit for more information.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cleaning Validation Information

What is a definition of cleaning validation? Does Alconox provide cleaning validation support for Alconox brand cleaners?

Cleaning Validation - Documented evidence with a high degree of certainty that a cleaning process will consistently produce product meeting its predetermined quality attributes. Quality attributes are typically those related to potentially contaminating residues.

Alconox, Inc provides validation support on all Alconox brand cleaners to assist in meeting cGMP guidelines. In fact, Alconox, Inc technical team has written The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook, and has dedicated chapters to Cleaning Validation (Chapter 8) and to Measuring Cleanliness (Chapter 10). For more information or get your free copy of The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook visit,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Calculating Cleaning Agent Safety Based Limits

Does Alconox provide information on calculating cleaning agent safety based limits?

Alconox, Inc Pharmaceutical Cleaning Validation Method References has an entire section dedicated to cleaning agent safety based limits. Please visit here for more information:

Cleaning agent safety based limits are typically calculated from a safety factor of an acceptable daily intake (ADI), a (1/1000 or more) reduction of an LD50 preferably by the same route of administration, or reproductive hazard levels. If the calculated limit is found to be higher than a less than 10 ppm carryover to the next batch, then the limit can be set to the more stringent 10 ppm carryover level for the safety based limit.

For additional information, the Alconox Technical Team has also written The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook, which in Chapter 10 discusses Measuring Cleanliness. For more information on the Handbook visit

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Electronics Cleaning with no Hazardous Chemicals or Volatile Solvents

Why is it beneficial to use Detergent 8 when cleaning circuit boards and electronic components?

Detergent 8 contains no conductive metal cations, and therefore it cannot leave conductive residues. Its coupling ability keeps soils suspended in the cleaning solution, not on the circuit boards. If the solution is promptly washed away with deionized water, boards will meet the omega-meter or ionograph standards of cleanliness. Detergent 8 can be used in a variety of electronic applications, such as, cleaning glass substrate before dichloric coating of electronic parts, cleaning during manufacturing and assembly, cleaning electronic contacts and leads as well as ceramic insulators and components.

Detergent 8 can be used manually, soak or spray. For more information please visit

For more on cleaning electronics, please visit Alconox website at

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

ar Reactor Cavity and Equipment Decontamination

What cleaner does Alconox recommend for the decontamination of nuclear reactor cavities and related equipment?

Alconox recommends Detergent 8, a non-ionic, phosphate-free homogeneous blend of an alkanolamine, glycol ethers and an alkoxylated fatty alcohol for decontaminating nuclear reactors and related equipment including pipes, tools, and protective equipment. It contains no chelating agents or halides, or conductive metal cations. It is imperative to avoid detergents containing chelating agents as they can bond chemically to radioisotopes. Also it is important to avoid detergents containing fluorides, chlorides, or sulfur ingredients which might cause surface corrosion or intergranular stress corrosion of stainless components.

If the key concern is avoiding waste interference, then Detergent 8 is the brand to use. Detergent 8 can be used manually, soak or spray. For more information please click here.

Use Alconox brand products in the nuclear industry! Visit our website.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Alconox Brands for Ultrasonic Tank Cleaning

What is ultrasonic tank cleaning? Which industries commonly employ the method? What Alconox, Inc brands would be ideal for ultrasonic tank cleaning?

Ultrasonic Tank cleaning works best on objects or part that are made of stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, copper, brass, other alloys, plastic or rubber. The object to be cleaned is placed in a chamber containing a suitable ultrasound conducting fluid such as an aqueous cleaner depending on the application. Aqueous cleaners typically contain surfactants that reduce the surface tension of the water. An ultrasound generating transducer is built into the chamber, or may be lowered into the fluid. It is electronically activated to produce ultrasonic waves in the fluid. The main mechanism of cleaning action is by energy released from the creation and collapse of microscopic cavitation bubbles, which break up and lift off dirt and contaminants from the surface to be cleaned. The higher the frequency, the smaller the nodes between the cavitation points which allows for more precise cleaning.

Industrial ultrasonic cleaners are used in the automotive, printing, marine, medical instruments, medical device manufacturing, electroplating, and weapons industries.

Liquinox, critical cleaning liquid detergent, is a high emulsifying cleaner that is an excellent product for use in soak and ultrasonic cleaning. Citranox, acid cleaner and detergent, is also a high-emulsifying cleaner ideal for metal oxides and deposits.

Technical Bulletins and MSDS for each are downloadable from or

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Alconox Brands for Clean-In-Place (CIP) Systems

What Alconox brand cleaners are recommended for Clean-In-Place (CIP) systems? What information does Alconox offer to assist in validating CIP cleaners?


It is desirable to use a low foaming cleaner that rinses freely in a CIP system. Selecting the appropriate CIP cleaner will be determined by the type of soil being removed as well as the hard surface being cleaned. Alconox, Inc manufacturers' several low foaming liquid cleaners that work well in CIP, including Solujet, an alkaline cleaner, and Citrajet, an acidic cleaner. An alkaline cleaner best removes oils, fats, grease and an acidic cleaner works best to remove insoluble hydroxides and metal oxides. Both Solujet and Citrajet are suitable to use on stainless steel manufacturing surfaces.

Alconox, Inc provides assistance to validate cleaners for CIP systems. Information on residue detection methods for Solujet and Citrajet can be found at

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pharma Clean In Place (CIP) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

What is clean in place (CIP)? What are four reasons the pharmaceutical industry commonly employs clean in place (CIP) systems? Does Alconox, Inc have information on CIP Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs)?

CIP stands for Clean-In-Place and is a method of cleaning the interior surfaces of closed systems and process equipment without dismantling the equipment. There are different types of CIP including, single pass systems and recirculation system.
The pharmaceutical industry heavily relies on clean in place (CIP) system because operators are not required to enter plant to clean, difficult to access areas can be cleaned, production time between production runs is minimized, and recycling the cleaner can reduce cost. Equipment used in pharmaceutical manufacturing must be cleaned before each use, and the cleaning procedure used must be in accordance with good manufacturing practices (GMPs). Alconox provides support to meet cGMP regulations. In fact, Alconox, Inc technical team has written The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook, where Standard Operating Procedures for CIP systems are discussed (see Chapter 7). For more information or get your free copy of The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook visit,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Alconox, Inc Provides Pharma Cleaning Validation Support

What is pharmaceutical cleaning validation? What information can Alconox, Inc provide to support pharmaceutical cleaning validation?

Cleaning validation is the methodology used to assure that a cleaning process removes any residues of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) of the product manufactured, as well as any residual cleaning agent utilized in the cleaning process and any microbial contaminants on the surface of the manufacturing equipment or utensil. All residues are removed to predetermined levels to ensure the quality of the next product manufactured is not compromised by waste from the previous product.

Alconox, Inc provides validation support to help meet pharmaceutical cGMP requirements. Alconox, Inc Technical Team has written Pharmaceutical Cleaning Validation References that includes a directory of cleaner residue detection methods for each Alconox brand. Also to help comply with cGMP regulations all cleaner brands have traceable lot specific certificate of analysis (COA), Technical Bulletins and MSDS.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Alconox, Inc Support Pharma Manufacturers with CFR-Part 211.67

What is 21 CFR-Part 211.67? How can Alconox, Inc help pharmaceutical manufacturers meet these requirements?

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a codification of the general and permanent rules published by the Government Printing Office (GPO) in the Federal Register (FR) by the Executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The FDA regulatory guidelines specifically for Title 21 CFR-Part 211.67 details the FDA clean standards on Equipment Cleaning and Maintenance. For more details visit,

The Alconox technical support team has developed a guide for cleaning validation to help the pharmaceutical manufacturer meet these standards. The cleaning validation involves residue identification, residue detection method selection, sampling method selection, setting residue acceptance criteria, methods validation and recovery studies, and finally writing a procedure and training operators. This procedure is used to document acceptable residues three or more times and then establish a rational monitoring program that verifies that the validated state is being maintained. For more information please visit the Alconox website at

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MD&M East 2008, Alconox Booth #2266

Will Alconox, Inc attend the MD&M East Show in 2008?

Alconox, Inc will be attending the MD&M East Show at the Jacob Javits Center New York City, NY on June 3-5. Stop by our booth #2266 for your free copy the Guide to Critical Cleaning or Aqueous Cleaning Handbook!

You'll want to visit Alconox, Inc booth #2266 at MD&M EAST because...

Alconox, Inc is The Leader in Critical Cleaning Detergents with sixty years of experience getting medical equipment critically clean for use in demanding human or veterinary health applications, and in the manufacturing of medical devices - such as titanium prosthetic hip joints - we understand how to clean to implantable standards. Whether the product is designed for in vitro or in vivo use, is biomechanical or electronic, you'll find an Alconox cleaner expressly formulated to get products scrupulously clean without leaving interfering residues.

You'll meet the Alconox, Inc technical experts who are ready to discuss your cleaning validation needs!

MD&M is the recognized resource since 1983 for everything you need to design and manufacture medical devices and equipment for today's increasingly competitive healthcare marketplace. For more information please visit this website:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Interphex2008, Alconox Booth #107

Will Alconox, Inc attend the INTERPHEX2008 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition?

Alconox, Inc will be attending the INTERPHEX2008 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center - Philadelphia, PA March 26-28, 2008. Stop by our booth #107 for your free copy the Guide to Critical Cleaning or Aqueous Cleaning Handbook! Great opportunity to "Ask Alconox" and get experts advice about your industrial cleaning needs! Mark your calendars for INTERPHEX2008 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition!

INTERPHEX is the world's most trusted source for leading-edge technology, education, and sourcing of the products and services that drive scientific innovation for Life Sciences manufacturing from drug development to market - accelerating regulated products for patient care globally.

INTERPHEX is the only Life Sciences event that represents a true cross-section of the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. Industry-leading professionals worldwide make INTERPHEX the industry's annual focal point for driving change and efficiencies for the global pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical market.
INTERPHEX will once again feature the co-location of PharmaMedDevice, the only comprehensive event to focus on the convergence of medical device, pharmaceutical, and biologic industries.

For more information about INTERPHEX, please click here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Interphex Puerto Rico 2008, Alconox Booth #39

Will Alconox, Inc attend the INTERPHEX Puerto Rico 2008 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition?

Alconox, Inc will be attending the INTERPHEX Puerto Rico 2008 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan on February 14-15, 2008. Stop by our booth #39 for your free copy the Guide to Critical Cleaning or Aqueous Cleaning Handbook! Great opportunity to "Ask Alconox" and get expert advice about your industrial cleaning needs! Mark your calendars for INTERPHEX Puerto Rico 2008 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition!

INTERPHEX Puerto Rico is the pharmaceutical industry's respected source of innovation, education, and professional advancement for a globally important center of drug manufacturing, from process development through delivery to market. Networking essential to business success is as important here as the exploration of new products and services that enhance human life and health.

For more information on INTERPHEX, please click here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sustainable, Safe, and Reduced Wasted Cleaning Processes

Is it possible in today's manufacturing environments to use safe, clean, reduced wasted cleaning processes that are ultimately sustainable?

Yes it is possible in today's manufacturing environments to employ sustainable, safe, clean, and reduced wasted cleaning processes! The first step in evaluating the environmental health and safety of an aqueous cleaner is to secure the material safety data sheet and technical bulletins for the cleaners you plan to test or use, and to assemble as much information as you can about the soils you will be removing. A review of this information should disclose important environmental and health hazards as well as regulations.

When performing an initial review of regulations for an aqueous cleaner, it is important to consider Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permits, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sewer connection/extension permits, and any Resource Conservation and Reclamation Act (RCRA) hazardous waste class or Clean Water Act regulations. State and local environmental regulations should also be considered.

It is wise to conduct a full scale environmental audit no matter what type of cleaning system you are using. Such an audit may result in changes in the way you currently manufacture and clean. In fact, after conducting a full-scale environmental audit many companies turn to aqueous cleaning achieve regulatory compliance easily and safely. A program of regular re-auditing can assure continued regulatory compliance.

Compared to hazardous nonaqueous and semiaqueous cleaners-particularly, those containing ozone-depleting fluorocarbon solvents, carcinogenic organic solvents, and/or flammable components-aqueous cleaners are good choices for safe, environmentally sound cleaning. By choosing high quality, environmentally sound aqueous cleaners, most cleaning problems can be solved without endangering workers or the environment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Safety Issues in Aqueous Cleaning

What are the safety issues involved in aqueous cleaning?

Worker safety issues, for aqueous cleaners, involve skin exposure, eye exposure, ingestion, inhalation, and chronic systemic exposure. Consult the label and material safety data sheet on the cleaner for warnings and safety precautions.

When cleaning by hand, it is always good practice to wear protective gloves. Even the mildest cleaners can sometimes cause "dishpan-hands". Gloves also provide protection and comfort when working, by hand, with hot solutions. In fact, many highly acidic or alkaline cleaners require the use of chemical-resistant gloves for worker safety. Eye exposure is also a concern with many aqueous cleaners.

Eye tissue is particularly vulnerable to attack by chemically active aqueous solutions. Accordingly, it is also considered good industrial practice to wear safety glasses or other eye protection when working with aqueous-cleaning solutions. Particularly hazardous aqueous cleaners should have warnings and recommended eye protection on the label.

In addition, there may be inhalation hazards with some aqueous cleaners. Because aqueous cleaners generally do not have volatile solvent ingredients, it is somewhat unusual to find the need for respiratory protection with such cleaners. However, it is considered good industrial practice to have some respiratory protection when working with sprays and mists in open-spray cleaning. Any special ventilation required should be noted on the material safety data sheet. Some semiaqueous cleaners may contain volatile solvents that require special ventilation and possibly even flammability controls.

While it is relatively unusual for an aqueous cleaner to contain any carcinogenic ingredients, the cleaner's material safety data sheet should disclose any long-term chronic exposure concerns relating to carcinogenicity.

Physical safety issues with aqueous cleaners, generally, concern storage and handling to avoid any hazardous reactions with other industrial chemicals. Good industrial practice usually involves storing acid and alkaline chemicals separately to avoid any reactions between them in the event of accidental spills. Some aqueous cleaners contain bleaches or other oxidizing agents that should be stored away from reactive chemicals that might undergo hazardous oxidation reactions. As previously mentioned, most completely aqueous cleaners are not flammable. However, some aqueous cleaners contain ingredients that form hazardous chemicals when burned. (It is considered good practice to wear respiratory protection when fighting any fire involving industrial chemicals.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cleaning Machined Plastic Implants

After machining plastic implants, what is the recommendation for an in process cleaning using a small ultrasonic tank?

The recommendation would be to use 1% Liquinox (a mild alkaline, emulsifying and dispersing cleaner) at a temperature well within the temperature tolerance of the plastic. Warm solutions clean faster than ambient temperature ones, so if some heat is an option, use it. Liquinox would not harm plastics other than possibly stressed polycarbonate where there is potential for stress cracking. Stressed polycarbonate in the presence of heat and low surface tension solution (like a solvent or a detergent) will undergo stress cracking (fogging or crazing). Very dilute (0.25%) solutions of Liquinox used without heat can usually safely clean even stressed polycarbonate without problems - of course hopefully the polycarbonate is not that dirty because of course a 0.25% solution does not clean as well as the typical 1% solution.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Aqueous Cleaning and Environmental Issues

What are environmental issues are involved with aqueous cleaning?

Generally, the environmental issues involved in aqueous cleaning have to do with the ingredients used and their ultimate discharge into the environment. Taking a larger view, it is also important to consider the energy and resources consumed in making and using the cleaner.

There are several important factors concerning discharge of spent cleaning solutions into the environment: biodegradability, aquatic toxicity and eutrophication acceleration. Early detergent formulations contained poorly biodegradable surfactants
that often caused foaming of lake and river surfaces after spent solutions were discharged to drain. All modern detergent formulations use biodegradable surfactants that do no buildup or persist in the environment causing foaming problems.

Aquatic toxicity can come from very high or very low pH or from toxic ingredients. Where extreme pH cleaning is required, it is advisable to neutralize or discharge spent solutions in small enough quantities to avoid problems. The surfactants in aqueous cleaners may be a source of aquatic toxicity. The use of biodegradable surfactants and the discharge of limited quantities of cleaning solutions generally results in safe concentrations of surfactants on water surfaces. Older, more highly toxic surfactants are rarely used in aqueous cleaner formulations.

Eutrophication involves cleaners that contain phosphates. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for algae. When significant amounts of phosphorus are discharged into surface water, vigorous algae blooms may result. The algae die and settle to the bottom filling lakes and ponds with silt and organic matter more rapidly that normal. Although eutrophication is a normal, natural process, the acceleration of this process by phosphates is undesirable. The main source of phosphorous in surface waters is agricultural run-off from farming. There are no national regulations restricting the use of phosphates in cleaners, however, many states and municipalities have enacted legislation that restricts the use of phosphates in household cleaners. There are currently no restrictions on the use of phosphate containing cleaners in industrial cleaning applications.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Aqueous Cleaning Environmental Health and Safety Issues

What are the environmental health and safety issues that need to be considered when developing an aqueous cleaning process?

Aqueous cleaners, by definition, use water for cleaning and rinsing. This has both advantages and disadvantages. Water is an inherently environmentally sound and substantially safe chemical to work with. It is a recyclable natural resource. Yet, as populations grow, clean surface water will become increasingly scarce. Water can also be a transport medium for various polluting or hazardous chemicals that may derive from the use of aqueous cleaning in specific instances.

One way to look at the environmental health and safety of a cleaning process is to consider:
  • How hazardous is the cleaning process?
  • How hazardous is the effluent resulting from the cleaning process?
  • How sustainable-in terms of energy and resources-is the process?
All critical cleaning falls within a safety continuum. At one end are the polluting, hazardous processes; at the other, those that are to clean and safe processes; clean, safe, sustainable and produce little waste. Aqueous cleaning may fall anywhere along this continuum.

Of course, some aqueous cleaners do contain hazardous ingredients that may be used to clean hazardous soils, which may produce hazardous and polluting waste. But by the same token, industrial cleaning may involve the use of an aqueous cleaner with no hazardous ingredients used to clean the same hazardous soil, resulting in a clean and relatively safe process.

Improvement in safety can be achieved by eliminating the source of the hazardous soil in the process. Going a step further, waste can be reduced by integrating soil recycling, cleaning solution recycling and/or rinse water recycling into the cleaning process. It is possible to design a so-called "zero-discharge" system with no fluid effluent, limited volatile effluent and reduced solid waste by recycling cleaning and rinsing solutions using filters. In order to move toward a clean, safe and sustainable process, however, one would need to eliminate the hazardous soil and replace it with a non hazardous biodegradable soil. Then, after the water used in the cleaning and rinsing process has been recycled sufficiently, for energy efficiency, the now nonhazardous soil in the effluent would not pose no environment threat. Any water released could safely be incorporated into the natural water cycle (surface water evaporates to form clouds, which later precipitate as rain, and return as surface water).

It is, generally much more difficult to clean safely and sustainably using nonaqueous cleaning methods. Many nonaqueous cleaners are themselves health hazards, water pollutants, or air pollutants. Certainly not all nonaqueous cleaners are hazards and/or pollutants, but most lack a basic natural means, such as the water-cycle, of purifying and/or recycling key ingredients. Of course, this is an oversimplification. Given enough time, almost anything can complete a natural cycle of synthesis and decay. However, here, we are considering processes achievable in the course of a human lifetime.

One might argue that the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the oxygen cycle and other elemental cycles are involved in the decomposition and purification of ingredients used in nonaqueous cleaners. In fact, some of these cycles are also involved in the purification of ingredients found in aqueous cleaners but to a lesser degree. All of the cycles, noted above, involve multiple chemical transformations. They are slow processes in which chemicals may remain in one state for many years before degrading to a purer form. For example, during the nitrogen cycle, nitrogen remains in the air typically for years. Likewise, carbon takes the form of geological carbonates for extensive periods of time during the course of the carbon cycle, in some cases for millennia. Oxygen also remains tied up in the form of geological carbonates. These elements simply do not cycle rapidly, to a pure state, the way water does.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cleaning Salicylic Acid

What can be used to manually clean lotions, creames, emulsions containing salicylic acid from manufacturing equipment?

In general salicylic acid is best cleaned by sodium phosphate or alkali citrate salt containing cleaners. Creams and lotions are often best cleaned by high alkaline cleaners. Alconox powder is moderately alkaline sodium phosphate containing cleaner that is somewhat safer for manual use than some high alkaline cleaners. Alconox is a powder and some companies may much prefer a liquid. Alconox would work well here and would be better than Liquinox for this application. If the customer prefers a liquid, I would recommend either Detojet or Solujet. Note that Detojet and Solujet are both hazardous corrosive liquids that require skin and eye protection for handling. Solujet and Detojet must ship on non-passenger aircraft and can only be air shipped in the 5 gallon (19 L) size.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Cleaning Agent Environmental Considerations

What are some environmental considerations when selecting a cleaning agent?

Environmental considerations include concern over volatile solvents with ozone-depleting potential and volatile-organic compound content that is regulated by The Clean Air Act Amendments. Any detergent chosen should be biodegradable and readily disposable, and contain no RCRA Hazard Classification or EPA Priority Pollutants.

Surfactants are not generally viewed as a menace to the environment. Nonetheless, their impact on the environment often receives as much attention as their technical properties and economic aspects. One reason may be that the mental image most people have of foaming streams and rivers, formed over three decades ago, has not faded entirely. This foam resulted from non or poorly biodegradable surfactants which are no longer used in modern aqueous cleaner formulations.

Then too, public environmental awareness has increased markedly in recent years. Some might say that, environmentalism has transcended its position as a mere social attitude to become a moral imperative. Many of us want to "do the right thing," environmentally speaking. To this end, regulations are enacted and new products designed and marketed. In the age of environmental marketing and awareness, we form perceptions regarding effects of new products on the environment, often, without complete scientific evidence. More comprehensive consideration of the total cost of environmentally negative practices, can lead to a realization that the most environmental choice can also be the best choice from an economic standpoint. When sustainable, environmental practices and choices of cleaning agents and cleaning techniques are integrated into normal practices without having to be specially labeled as environmental practices, but rather as best practices, they will be most successful.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Clean a Microfiltration Membrane System

Can Tergazyme be used to clean a microfiltration membrane system? Can Tergazyme be a supplement to bleach cleaning.

Tergazyme can be an excellent pre-cleaning procedure prior to bleaching. Tergazyme can break down hydrophobic biofilms and other residues that can interfere with bleach performance.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Health and Safety Considerations with Cleaning Agents

What are health and safety considerations when selecting and using a cleaning agent?

Human health and safety considerations include detergent toxicity, corrosivity, reactivity, and flammability. These considerations can be evaluated by reviewing a Material Safety Data Sheet for the solvent, chemical, or detergent with which you intend to clean. The detergent(s) you choose for your application preferably should:
  • be formulated to minimize health-safety concerns while still offering outstanding cleaning performance
  • not contain any hazardous ingredients listed on the OSHA standard and Hazardous Substance List 29CFR1910 subpart Z
  • not have flash points or stability hazards.
Many detergents strong enough to remove fingerprints can remove oils from skin and, therefore, have the potential to dry out skin and cause "dishpan hands." This is especially true of detergents designed for machine spray washing which, in order to perform in the limited contact time afforded during spray cleaning, are considered to be aggressive cleaners.

Protective neoprene, butyl, rubber, or vinyl gloves are recommended for any extensive manual cleaning operation. In addition, many detergents are potential eye irritants, and should not be used without eye protection.

Alconox, Inc has downloadable MSDS at for each brand of cleaner.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Aqueous Cleaning Consideration Questions

What are important questions to consider when selecting an aqueous cleaner?

Today's aqueous critical-cleaning detergents are blended for specific applications-substrate, degree of soil load, and cleaning process-these, are all important considerations when selecting a detergent. Here are a few questions to ask about a detergent brand to ensure that it meets your specific cleaning needs:

1. Does it have good detergency on the types of soils that you need to remove? A broad range of organic and inorganic soils are readily removed by mild-alkaline cleaners that contain a blend of surfactants and sequestering agents. Metallic and inorganic soils are often readily solubilized by acid cleaners. Proteinaceous soils are effectively digested by protease enzyme cleaners.

2. Is it free-rinsing? Will it rinse away without leaving interfering detergent residue? A properly formulated detergent will contain rinse aids to help the rinse water remove the detergent and soil solution. Rinsing is a critical part of high-performance cleaning. The detergent usually loosens all the soil from the surface and then the rinse water sweeps it away. Use a non depositing nonionic rinse aid. Many rinse aids are cationic positively charged compounds that are attracted to a surfaces that repel the water, this can leave a surface covered with the water repelling rinse aid.

3. Is the detergent recommended for the desired cleaning method? Use low foam cleaners for high agitation cleaning (pressure spray wash, dishwasher, etc. ). Use high foam cleaners for immersion or soaking (manual, ultrasonic, etc.).

4. How hazardous is it? For example, is it highly alkaline or acidic, presenting a personal health hazard? Is it corrosive? Does it present a reactivity hazard with soils? Is it a flammable or volatile solvent? These considerations can be evaluated by reviewing a Material Safety Data Sheet for the agent. Preferably, it should not contain any hazardous ingredients listed on the OSHA standard and Hazardous Substance List 29CFR 1910 subpart Z.

5. Can it be disposed of easily? Any detergent chosen should be readily disposable and biodegradable, containing no RCRA Hazard Classification or EPA Priority.

6. Is it environmentally friendly? Considerations include ozone depletion potential and volatile organic compound (VOC) content regulated by the Clean Air Act Amendments. Approval under anticipated future restrictions should be weighed as well.

7. How economical is it? The detergent should be widely available and affordable. For optimal economy, a concentrated detergent is typically used at 1:100 dilutions.
In choosing an appropriate detergent, one must consider the equipment being cleaned, the cleaning method, the degree of cleanliness and residue removal that are necessary and the performance of the detergent. Key questions to ask about selecting a cleaner are:

- Does it have fillers? There are a number of ways to tell whether the powder or liquid brand you're considering contains excess fillers or is optimally concentrated.

- What are the ingredients?

Powders: When selecting a powdered brand, look at the label, technical bulletins, and MSDS to see if it contains any sodium chloride or sodium sulfate compounds which do not perform a useful cleaning function but merely add to volume and weight (and shipping costs).

Liquids: With liquid detergents, the most common filler is water. It is important, however, that no more water is used than necessary to ensure a good solution, maintain stability, and prolong shelf life.

- What is the concentration?
Powders: It is rare that a detergent will require more than a 1 percent solution of detergent to water (1:100) for good detergency. For long bath life, in some cases higher concentrations up to 3 or 4 percent are acceptable.

Liquids: Typically, an alkaline cleaner will not require a dilution greater than one percent (1:100). Whereas, a semi aqueous or solvent-containing cleaner may require a dilution of two percent (2:100) or more. Again, for long bath life, higher concentrations are acceptable.

- What are the operating costs? Operating costs for aqueous cleaners are generally low since these cleaners are usually concentrated-typically using only one to five percent of cleaner solution to water. In addition, aqueous cleaning baths last a relatively long time without recycling.

Strong acid cleaners generally require constant system maintenance since their aggressive chemistry can attack tank walls, pump components, and other system parts as well as the materials to be cleaned. (Inhibitors can be used to reduce such attack.) Another disadvantage of strong acid cleaners stems from soil loading-particularly metal loading-which requires frequent decanting and bath dumping, leading to relatively high operating costs compared with alkaline cleaners.
In contrast, alkaline cleaners are often more economical compared to acid chemistries, because they do not cause excessive maintenance problems.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cleaning Semiconductors

Which cleaner is best for removing alcohol and other outgassing residue from storage of semiconductors and related high purity components in plastic bags?

Semiconductors and related high purity precision manufacturing components are sometimes stored in bags during processing. Those bags can sometimes have plasticizers, plasticizer residues, or residues of cleaners used to clean the bags. To remove those residues you need either a good high emulsifying cleaner or a good solvating cleaner. For immersion cleaning, it is more efficient to use an emulsifying cleaner if that cleaner is compatible with your semiconductor substrate. Many emulsifying cleaners contain metal salts, particularly sodium salts that would be incompatible with many silicon semiconductors. If you are cleaning less sodium sensitive semiconductors then you can use a high emulsifying cleaner like Liquinox to remove organic residues such as alcohols and alcohol derivatives such as cleaner or plasticizer residues from plastic bags. Typically you might ues a warm 1% solution of Liquinox in a soak or ultrasonic tank. If you cannot tolerate sodium residues, then you would use a cleaner that relies on solvation like Detergent 8. Detergent 8 does not contain sodium. Of course since solvation is a less efficient process than emulsifying, you have to use higher concentrations of Detergent 8 to achieve cleaning. Typically you would use a 3-5% concentration of Detergent 8 to soak or ultrasonic clean with.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Aquatic Toxicity

What is the aquatic toxicity of the surfactant in Liquinox?

In order to evaluate proper disposal in compliance with some local regulations, you sometimes need to know the aquatic toxicity of detergents that you might wish to dispose of in to a locally regulated sewerage treatment plant. Liquinox, Alconox, Tergazyme, Citranox, and Alcotabs all contain roughly 5-20% sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate surfactant. The aquatic toxicity for sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate for Phoxinus phoxinus minnow is an LC50 of 5,633 ug/L (lethal concentration for 50% of the population). Using this information, knowing how much detergent you plan to discharge you can determine the concentration of surfactant and what the contribution to aquatic toxicity from the surfactant will be and if it meets the local discharge limits. Typically with normal amounts of detergent discharge, you will find that it is acceptable to discharge the detergent in accordance with your local regulations.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Total Organic Carbon

How much Total Organic Carbon (TOC) is in Alcojet and Citrajet?

Alcojet contains 1.5% (w/w) Total Organic Carbon. This means that in 100 g of Alcojet there is 1.5 grams of TOC. In terms of concentration, this means that a 1% solution of Alcojet (10 g Alcojet/L) would contain 0.15 g TOC/L (10 g Alcojet * 0.015 g TOC/g Alcojet). Note that there is substantial IC content in Alcojet (just roughly estimating in my head without calculating precicely, there is around 10% IC in Alcojet). This means you must adequately acidify the sample to drive off the IC to avoid IC interference in your TOC reading.

Citrajet contains 14% (w/w) Total Organic Carbon (and no inorganic carbon). This means that 100 g of Citrajet contains 14 g of TOC. In terms of concentration this means that a 1% solution of Citrajet (10 g Citrajet/L) contains 1.4 g TOC/L (10 g Citrajet * 0.14 g TOC/g Citrajet).

You can derive any concentration information regarding TOC in Alcojet and Citrajet from the relationships given in these examples of how to do the calculation.

In the Alconox, Inc Cleaning Validation References it states:
Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analysis has been reported to detect the organic surfactants present in ALCONOX®(11% w/w), LIQUI-NOX®(21% w/w), (TERG-A-ZYME® 11% w/w), ALCOJET®(1.5% w/w), ALCOTABS®(20% w/w), DETERGENT 8®(38% w/w), LUMINOXtm(26% w/w) CITRANOX®(17% w/w) and CITRAJET® (14% w/w). You must go through the acid neutralization step or use the inorganic carbon channel on the TOC analyzer to account for inorganic carbon.

Need cleaning validation assistance? Ask the Critical Cleaning Experts at Alconox.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Detergent Last to Rinse

What does "detergent is the last to leave the equipment surface" after rinsing mean? This seems like a broad statement, can it be supported by literature/documentation?

The only source of "detergent last to rinse" that I am aware of is based on the physical behavior of surface active agents and the interchangeable use of the word detergent and surfactant in common usage. More properly you should say the surfactant is the last to rinse. Surfactants or surface active agents are made of molecules that have one end that is hydrophilic (water loving) and the other end is hydrophobic (water hating). Surface active agents in aqueous solutions are attracted to solution surface interfaces because the hydrophobic end of the surfactant molecule is repelled from the bulk water solution while the hydrophilic end of the molecule is attracted to the water solution.

In theory the surfactant is most stable when arranged in a film. The film's structure is made up of one side where the hydrophobic tails are facing outwards towards the solution/surface interface and the hydrophilic ends of the molecules are facing inward towards the water solution. By increasing the concentration of surfactants by adding detergent to a water, a monolayer surfactant film will form in the solution until a critical micelle concentration is achieved (micelles are balls of surfactants arranged with their hydrophobic ends facing inwards and their hydrophilic ends facing outwards - micelles are responsible for emulsifying because the inner regions of micelle can hold hydrophobic oily molecules emulsified in the water solution). Cleaning is typically done with surfactant concentrations above the critical micelle concentration. As the cleaning solution is rinsed away, you drop below the critical micelle concentration of surfactant, promoting mass displacement of the micelles as well as the remaining surfactant molecules (either individual or monolayer) by rinsing. Continued rinsing further dilutes the monolayer and removal of the surfactants, thereby essentially being the last molecules from the cleaning system to rinse away.

As a practical matter with the limits of quantitation in the analytical methods used for cleaning validation studies and crude successive rinse studies, Alconox, Inc technical support has never heard of detecting different rates of rinsing among highly water soluble detergent ingredients. As a practical matter with highly water soluble detergent ingredients, all ingredients seem to rinse at the same rate in dip rinsing studies. Over 4 rinses, in the 3rd rinse all ingredients were detected, and by the 4th rinse they were all gone. Successive rinse methods were not fine enough to detect the subtle effect of the last to rinse away surfactant.

Need help selecting a cleaner for you manufacturing equipments? Ask the Critical Cleaning Experts at Alconox, Inc.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ingredients in Alconox Brand Cleaners

In addition to surfactants, what other types of ingredients can be found in Alconox brand cleaners?

Dispersant-This is a cleaner ingredient that helps disperse or suspend solid particles in solution. Dispersants include water-soluble surfactants or water-soluble polymers (long-chain organic molecules) that are electrostatically attracted to particulates, creating a bridge between the water and the water insoluble solid particulate (in some cases even repelling the solid surface to help lift the particles into suspension).

Emulsifiers-These cleaner ingredients help emulsify water insoluble oils into solution by helping to create a liquid-liquid mixture. Surfactants that use their hydrophobic (water-hating or repelling) or oleophilic (oil-loving) end of their molecule to mix with water-insoluble oils and their hydrophilic (water-loving) end to mix with water create a bridge to emulsify water insoluble oils into solution. The specific structure of the bridge is called a micelle that can be thought of as a hollow, oil-filled round ball with a skin made of surfactants with their hydrophilic ends facing out in contact with the water solution and the hydrophobic ends facing in to the oil-filled ball.

Wetting agents-These are surfactants that lower the surface tension of water and allow the cleaning solution to wet surfaces and penetrate into, under and around soils and surface crevices. They create a bridge between the water and any hydrophobic (water-hating or repelling) surface. You can think of a wetting agent as having one end of the molecule attracted to the surface while pulling the water solution towards the otherwise water-repelling surface, allowing the water solution to be in contact with more of the surface that needs to be cleaned. You might say that wetting agents make water wetter.

Builders-These cleaner ingredients react with interfering calcium, magnesium, or iron ions that may be present in the water solution. They stop them from reacting with soils and other detergent ingredients to form water insoluble and difficult-to-clean calcium, magnesium, or iron salts. These metals are present to varying degrees in all water, particularly tap water. Builders are usually alkaline salts, chelating agents, and/or sequestering agents.

Alkaline salt builders-These are inorganic salts such as sodium carbonate or sodium phosphates. They react with calcium, magnesium, or iron to form water soluble or water dispersible compounds that tie up the calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Chelating agents-These are negatively charged or oxygen containing molecules that react with positively charged metal ions to form a stable complex. They have multiple locations in the molecule to react with multiple positive charges that may be present on multivalent metal ions that have more than one positive charge on them. An example of a chelating agent is EDTA, ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid. EDTA has four acetic acid groups giving it a potential for four negatively charged acetates to bond with up to four positively charged sites on metal ions with multiple positive charges, such as calcium which has two (2) positive charges associated with it.

Trying to validate a pharmaceutical cleaning process, ask the Critical Cleaning Experts at Alconox.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Types of Surfactants

What are the different types of surfactants?

Anionic surfactants - These have a negatively charged end of the molecule that gives it the hydrophilic part of the molecule. These negatively charged parts of the molecules are usually sulfonates, sulfates, or carboxylates that are usually neutralized by positively charged metal cations such as sodium or potassium. Examples include sodium alkylbenzene sulfonates, sodium stearate (a soap), and potassium alcohol sulfates. Anionic surfactants are ionic and are made up of two ions—a positively charged, usually metal, ion and a negatively charged organic ion.

Nonionic surfactants - These are surfactants that have no ions. They derive their polarity from having an oxygen--rich portion of the molecule at one end and a large organic molecule at the other end. The oxygen component is usually derived from short polymers of ethylene oxide or propylene oxide. Just as in water chemistry, the oxygen is a dense electron-rich atom that gives the entire molecule a partial net-negative charge which makes the whole molecule polar and able to participate in hydrogen bonding with water (as discussed in the first chapter). Examples of nonionic surfactants are alcohol ethoxylates, nonylphenoxy polyethylenoxy alcohols, and ethylene oxide/propylene oxide block copolymers.

Cationic surfactants - These are positively charged molecules usually derived from nitrogen compounds. They are not commonly used as cleaning agents in hard-surface cleaners because of the tendency of the cationic positively charged molecule to be attracted to hard surfaces (that usually have a netnegative charge). Many cationic surfactants have bacteriacidal or other sanitizing properties that are useful in creating disinfectants that leave a cationic disinfectant film on the surface.

Cationic surfactants are usually incompatible with anionic surfactants, because they will react with the negatively charged anionic surfactant to form an insoluble or ineffective compound.

Amphoteric surfactants - Those surfactants that change their charge with pH. They can be anionic, nonionic, or cationic depending on pH. Usually, any one amphoteric can be any two of the three charge states.

Need help with Cleaning Validation? Ask the Critical Cleaning Experts at Alconox.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


What is a surfactant?

Surfactant is short for “surface active agent,” it is an organic molecule with a hydrophobic (water-hating/oil-loving) end and a hydrophilic (water-loving) end. Surfactants are often emulsifiers, wetting agents, and dispersants (see other definitions).

The most common surfactant is sodium Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (called LAS for short). The alkylbenzene portion of the molecule is the hydrophobic/oleophilic end of this surfactant and the negatively charged sulfonate molecule is the hydrophilic end of the molecule. Surfactants are typically classified as anionic, nonionic, and cationic. The class of surfactant determines the class of the cleaner.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Water-based Cleaner

Is a water-based cleaner the same as an aqueous cleaner?

Yes! Aqueous means water. A water-based or aqueous cleaner is a cleaner that increases the ability of water to clean. An aqueous cleaner uses blends of detergent compounds with surface active agents together with other cleaning chemicals that use detergency to lift soil from a surface by displacing it with surface active materials that have a greater affinity for the surface than for the soil.

Water, considered by many to be the "universal solvent," is an important component of aqueous cleaners because it dissolves many types of soils. Water-municipal tap water, deionized or distilled water depending upon the cleaning application-also functions as a carrying medium for detergent compounds. But, while water is capable of dissolving many inorganic and some organic contaminants, not all residues dissolve readily in water. For this reason, aqueous detergent cleaners are complex mixtures specifically formulated to create greater chemical and mechanical cleaning action.
Water is a polar solvent. Being polar is the characteristic that makes it good at dissolving a wide range of polar residues, contaminants and/or soils. Water has a unique V shaped structure with two hydrogen atoms at the top of the V and an oxygen at the bottom. One can think of the oxygen as being a large, dense electron rich atom.

This gives the entire water molecule an overall net negative, electron-rich end at the base of the V (d-) and an electron poor positive end (d+) of the molecule towards the hydrogen top of the V. This directional net-negative charge towards the base of the V is called a dipole moment. Polar molecules such as water have a dipole moment.
Alconox, Inc manufacturers a full line of aqueous cleaners widely used in a range of industries, including pharmaceutical and medical device.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Aqueous Cleaners

What is an Aqueous Cleaner?

Alconox, Inc manufacturers a full line of aqueous cleaners widely used in a range of industries, including pharmaceutical and medical device. An aqueous cleaner is a blend of ingredients designed to enhance the cleaning ability of water. Typically an aqueous cleaner contains a surface active agent (surfactant) and builders to help the surfactant. The surfactant acts as a wetting agent to allow the cleaning solutions to penetrate into crevices and around and under soils. The surfactant will usually also act as an emulsifier to help form emulsions with water in soluble oils. The builders usually react with dissolved metal ions in the water to help stop them from interfering with cleaning.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Inhibited Cleaner for Aluminum

Specifications for indicate that "Solujet is inhibited for Aluminum. Corrosion testing is advisable." What does this mean?

Solujet contains sodium metasilicate which acts as a corrosion inhibitor to stop alkaline attack on aluminum. Solujet would not cause alkaline attack on aluminum as long as the bath is not overused and the metasilicate depleted.

There are galvanic (forming a battery) attacks on aluminum that involve interactions with other metals that may be dissolved in the cleaning solution from prior use, or that may be present as metal in the tank or part being cleaned, and this form of attack will happen with just about any detergent solution including Solujet. Ideally you should not clean other metals in baths used to clean aluminum and should not have other metals that have significantly different galvanic potential than aluminum present in the cleaning solution. If there is any concern that there may be other metals involved, then some testing may be advisable. If the aluminum parts being cleaned are very high value parts, then some testing would be advisable.

Certainly Solujet is designed to clean aluminum safely. Aluminum is a reactive metal, especially if it has been recently machined, cut or tooled so that there is exposed, freshly cut aluminum that has not had a chance to form a protective passive layer of alumninum oxide, which happens naturally with exposure to air. If the protective passive layer is not formed then you can get all sorts of strange galvanic reactions that are not technically corrosion, but which will result in discoloration due to deposits of whatever the other metal or metal oxide on the surface of the aluminum.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alkylphenol Ethoxylates and Phosphates

Which Alconox detergents contain alkylphenol ethoxylates and which ones contain phosphates?

Liquinox and Citranox contain alkylphenol ethoxylates. Alconox, Tergazyme, Alcojet, Alcotabs, and Detojet contain phosphate. Detergent 8, Luminox, Citrajet, Solujet and Tergajet contain no alkylphenol ethoxylates and no phosphates.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Plastic Container for Soak Solutions

What kind of plastic container can I use to hold a detergent soak solution?

You can use any container that is robust enough to hold typical aqueous solutions of chemicals. A polypropylene or other chemical resistant plastic container such as HDPE (just about anything but polycarbonate or polyurethane) will work just fine for cleaning. If you have specific residue concerns, you should consider the possibility of certain metals or monomers leaching out of the plastic. For general purpose laboratory and medical cleaning this is typically not a concern because the anti-redeposition properties of the detergent are sufficient to stop anything that leaches out of the container from depositing on the substrate being cleaned.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cleaning Filters with Tergazyme

What kind of cleaning can I expect from Tergazyme when cleaning filters with wine residues?

We would expect Tergazyme to work very well on biofilms or microbial contamination from filters that had been repeatedly used to filter wine. It will do quite well on assorted organic residues from various components of wine. The one cleaning mechanism that Tergazyme does not have is oxidation or bleaching. This means it would not be unusual if some trace color was left of some difficult to hyrdrolyze condensed tannins or other coloring agents from the wine. Certainly Tergazyme would do something on these residues, but it would not be as dramatic as using bleach or peroxide to oxidize or even possibly metabisulfite to reduce these residues. Of course if there is a biofilm , neither bleach, peroxide, or metabisulfite will be as effective as Tergazyme.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Detergent Testing

What kinds of test soils are used in detergent testing?

Synthetic soils are often applied to coupons to use in testing detergents. Typically a soil will be made from some kind of binding natural oil such as vegetable oil or vegetable shortening combined with a protein such as whey powder or egg powder. Additionally there may be motor oil or used motor oil; vacuum cleaner bag dust; carbon black; and clay soils. Sometimes these mixtures would have synthetic hard water such as 150 ppm hardness (2/1:Ca+2/Mg+2) mixed in. In general you want your synthetic soil to mimic the type of residue that you are trying to develop a detergent or cleaning process to clean.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Posted Inhibitory Residue Tests

How many years are the IRTs posted?

Three years, so currently 2007, 2006 and 2005 Inhibitory Residue Tests are posted. If IRTs from years earlier than that are needed, please contact Alconox directly.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Inhibitory Residue Test

How do I get an IRT?

To get a lot number specific inhibitory residue test to comply with accreditation guidelines requiring lot specific or annual testing, get a certificate of analysis (COA) for the detergent you have. These COA’s can be found at

Lot numbers that you will need to get your COA are found at the top of 4 lb boxes (milk cartons), above the label on bottle, and on the side of the corrugated box for larger sizes and cases. These lot numbers are a "sub lot" of a specific master lot. Once the master lot number is identified on the COA, the inhibitory residue test data can be downloaded at

Master lot numbers change in the unusual event of a significant change in raw materials or manufacturing. Master lot numbers change such that each lot can be traced to a Master lot that was tested within one year.

Inhibitory residue tests are performed for each year's worth of sub lot numbers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

IRTs for Alconox Brands

Does Alconox, Inc have IRTs for each brand?

Yes, annually Alconox, Inc has each brand tested through an independent laboratory. Brands include Alconox, Alcotabs, Alcojet, Citranox, Citrajet, Detojet, Detergent 8, Liquinox, Luminox, Solujet, Tergajet, Tergazyme.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Inhibitory Residue Test

What is an Inhibitory Residue Test?

The inhibitory residue test is a test of suitability of glassware for microbiology testing. It was important when labs were using phosphate detergents, but is less so now that use of phosphate is being phased out. The test is described in SM 9020B3a (Editions 18, 19) or SM 9020B4a (Editions 20, 21).

Standard Methods says to do the test "as necessary." You might ask your regulator how they interpret that.

First and foremost, it tests the detergents/soaps used for washing glassware in the microbiology section of a lab to make sure that they do not have bacteriostatic or inhibitory qualities that may affect the microbiological test that you perform (such as multiple tube fermentation technique...). Secondly, it also "checks" your washing procedure to make sure that if there are any inhibitory/bacteriostatic substances present in your soap, the cleaning process that you employ washes out any of these inhibitory substances.

Labs that are certified for drinking water microbiology have to perform the inhibitory residue test as well as the distilled water suitability test ANNUALLY. Another source of information about these tests is in EPA's "Manual for the Certification of Laboratories Analyzing Drinking Water". The most current is the 5th Edition published in 2005.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bath Life Extension

What is the best way to monitor for bath life extension?

To avoid potential for cross contamination, only freshly made up cleaning solutions should be used for the highest levels of critical cleaning. For industrial critical cleaning applications, high levels of cleaning can also be achieved with extended bath life. In general, a pH change of 1 unit towards neutral indicates an exhausted cleaning solution. Bath life can be extended by physical filtration of particulates, cooling and settling of sludge and skimming of oils. Bath life can also be extended by adding one half as much detergent, of the initial load, after partially depleting the cleaning life of the bath. With frequent daily use, detergent solutions can rarely be used longer than a week even with these bath life extension techniques. Conductivity, pH and % solids, by refractometer, can be used to control bath detergent concentration.

Free alkalinity titration can be used to control bath life of alkaline cleaners where the soil being cleaned depletes free alkalinity-as is often the case with oily soils. The process:
  1. Titrate a new solution to determine free alkalinity.
  2. Titrate the used solution to determine the percent drop in free alkalinity.
  3. Add more detergent to the bath to bring the free alkalinity back to the level of the new solution. (For example if the initial solution is made up with 100 ml of cleaner concentrate and a 25% drop in free alkalinity is observed, try adding 25 ml of cleaner concentrate to recharge your solution.)
Perform a new free-alkalinity titration to confirm the recharge the first few times this recharging method is used. This is to ensure that the detergent being used is linear with respect to free alkalinity depletion. This form of bath life extension cannot run indefinitely, sludge will eventually form. Fresh solutions must be made up periodically. Bath lives can also be extended using conductivity.

Most cleaners contain conductive salts which can be detected using conductivity. Once the conductivity response of the detergent is determined, the depletion of those conductive salts can be measured. Typically, this kind of measure the bath and recharge with detergent process can be done 2-3 times before a new bath is needed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Conductivity and Detergent Concentration

How is conductivity used to determine how much detergent concentrate to add to a cleaning solution to restore cleaning performance?

Part of the technical information Alconox, Inc supplies for its brands are detergent concentration versus conductivity curves. By adapting these curves to your conditions and measuring the conductivity, detergent depletion and dilution can be determined. This determination can be used to figure out how much detergent to add to the cleaning solution to restore cleaning performance.

Keep in mind that, the bath will ultimately reach a point where it forms sludge (or where some other failure occurs). At that point, the bath must be dumped and a complete batch of new cleaner made up. The time to dump the bath, and start over, is generally determined using some sort of cleanliness measurement and defined in terms of number of parts cleaned or time period of bath use. Conductivity does not typically detect the point of cleaning failure, but only detects concentration of cleaner present, whether depleted or not. The following table gives specific examples of concentration vs. conductivity for several Alconox-brand cleaners. Use this data to derive the concentration of detergent from measured conductivity. Note that, conductivity is temperature dependent. Detergent solutions do not have the same slope as many default settings on temperature-correcting conductivity meters. For best results, allow hot detergent solutions to cool to a consistent temperature for comparison.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Conductivity Controller in a Machine Washer

How does a conductivity controller regulate a dosing pump in a machine washer?

A conductivity probe would need to be set up in the sump of a machine washer. The conductivity recorded is sent to the conductivity controller that regulates the pump (usually a peristaltic pump) that dispenses the detergent into the sump. The pump dispenses until the correct conductivity is reached for the desired concentration. Typically a concentration of 0.5% or 0.1% detergent is desired. For example, for a 0.5% Solujet concentration, enough detergent concentrate is pumped into solution until the sump reaches 2.45 mS at 22 deg C (Alconox, Inc has conductivity VS concentration curves available for each brand at 22 deg C). Once the correct concentration has been reached, the wash cycle starts.

Since conductivity is temperature dependent if hot water is used a new conductivity curve must be generated that reflects the higher temperature. If the customer provides the Alconox Technical Team the higher working temperature then a curve could be generated. Alternately, if the customer has access to a conductivity meter they could simply generate the appropriate curve for their working temperature.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Washers with Non-Standard Connectors

It is not unusual for lab/glassware-washer manufacturers to make custom connectors specific that link their brand of detergent (with unique bottle dimensions) to the machine. This is strategic on the lab/glassware-washer manufactures’ part, as their customers are locked into using their detergent. These custom molded bottles are expensive and generally make the product more expensive than Alconox brands that have standard bottles. So how does Alconox suggest adjusting for the standard bottle with these types of connector set ups?

Unfortunately we are usually unable to supply a bottle that fits the connections because the bottles are made from custom molds that are not commercially available. The way some customers use our cleaners in these washers is to pour our detergents out of their original bottles into some of the custom bottles that fit the special washer fittings. This is of course somewhat time consuming and hazardous and there must be adequate cost savings and performance improvements to justify this. In some cases, washers can be fitted with peristaltic pumps and controllers that dose in the detergent correctly from a tube that is dipped in to one of our bottles and bypass the custom fitting bottles. This would typically require an outside contractor with experience in how to retro-fit the washers, or good in-house engineering capability by the customer. We do not have this expertise. We can supply conductivity curves to a contractor or engineer to allow them to program a conductivity controller that regulates the dosing pump.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cleaning Stainless Steel Weldments

We need recommendations for cleaning stainless steel weldments. A Walter weld cleaning machine is being used. Currently we have tried using Luminox but sometimes it does not produce satisfactory results.

Luminox is a very light duty cleaner used to remove light oils and tiny particulates from delicate substrates. Generally, stainless steel is not considered a delicate substrate. In this case the recommendation would be 2% Citrajet at 60 deg C for 10 minutes followed by a water rinse. Citrajet is a mild organic acid cleaner (pH 2.5) that is good at removing heat scale and discoloration around weld joints as well as being a good general purpose cleaner. The cleaning results with Citrajet will be much better than luminox.

Note, if for some reason you need to use Luminox and are satisfied with the light duty cleaning it gives, I would recommend using it at a 3% concentration at 60 deg C for 10 minutes but I would not expect it to clean as well as Citrajet.

Citrajet is low foaming like Luminox and probably a low foamer is preferable to use in junction in a large dip tank. If you for some reason have a particularly oily substrates to clean, we do make a high foaming cleaner called Citranox (manuf cat no 1801 for the 1 gal size) that would give the same heat scale and discoloration cleaning while doing a better job on oily residues. I am guessing you do not have particularly oily substrates to clean and that you will be happier with the low foaming version.

Citrajet (manuf cat no 2001 for a 1 gallon size) should be available from whatever dealer you get your Luminox from such as VWR, Thomas, Cole-Parmer or other lab and health supply dealers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Liquinox in Relation to Alconox

Is the Alconox powder equivalent to the Liquinox liquid? If these are the same could you please provide me with some sort of documentation saying that Alconox is the powdered form of Liquinox and that they are interchangeable?

Liquinox liquid hard surface cleaner concentrate is designed to be the functional equivalent of Alconox powdered hard surface cleaner concentrate. Liquinox was designed as a liquid replacement for Alconox. For each functional ingredient in Alconox, there is a functionally equivalent ingredient present in Liquinox at a concentration designed to give functionally equivalent performance. Of the six ingredients in Liquinox, two are identical to those found in Alconox. The other four are chosen for equivalent cleaning functionality with good shelf life characteristics in a liquid form. If we just made a liquid Alconox, it would have a very poor shelf life measured in weeks.

The key ingredient for cleaning by wetting, emulsifying and dispersing is the surfactant sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate. This ingredient is identical in both cleaners. The surface tension, which correlates with wetting, emulsifying and dispersant character, is 32 dynes per cm in both Alconox and Liquinox. Cleaning is also assisted by chelating and sequestering agents that tie up calcium, magnesium, iron and other ions that will tend to form insoluble complexes with soils. Alconox and Liquinox both contain chelating and sequestering agents that are effective for this purpose. Alconox relies on polyphosphate chelant/sequesterants, which are perfectly stable as powders, but which do not have long term stability as liquids. In Liquinox, liquid stable organic chelants are used. Alconox and Liquinox are both detectable by total organic carbon (TOC) and other surfactant detection methods. The sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate, which will test TOC positive, is theoretically the last ingredient to rinse away in both formulations.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Xylene Equivalent

Currently we are using Xylene to clean equipment that is used with extremely non-polar compounds. Does Alconox have a cleaning product that would be equivalent to Xylene but not as harmful and dangerous to work with? It would have to be a cleaning product with a low polarity index (between 2 and 3).

Even extremely non-polar compounds can often be emulsified by polar surfactants.
Alconox and Liquinox both contain polar surfactants that would work well at emulsifying a non-polar compound that has been found to be cleaned by xylene. The rational for this recommendation is due to the non-polar end or hydrophilic end of the surfactant that contains xylene and benzene derivatives. In theory, polar surfactants typically form micelles in aqueous solution, meaning that the hydrophilic "head" regions aggregate in contact with surrounding solvent (aqueous) and the opposite non-polar or hydrophilic ends are sequestered together at the center of the micelle sphere, interacting with the non-polar compound of interest, thus trapping the non-polar compound in the center of the sphere. Due to this nature, the interior of the micelle – hydrophobic- is able to emulsify the non-polar residues.

An initial test to determine if warm 1% Liquinox (liquid concentrate) or Alconox (powder) solution to see if it will clean the non-polar compound. Note that unlike xylene cleaning, you will need to rinse away the detergent solution after cleaning. Xylene evaporates away, detergents rinse away. Our rational for this recommendation is based on the non-polar ends of the surfactants found in Alconox and Liquinox, based on xylene and benzene You do not have to try both, either of them should work. The Alconox is more economical to use, but it is a little messy to dissolve the powder to make a cleaning solution. The Liquinox is easier to handle, dose and mix.

If this fails, then consider using a semi-aqueous cleaning system that is a combination of surfactants and solvents that may be able to act as cosolvents for your non-polar residue. I would recommend trying a 5% Detergent 8 solution, but only if Alconox or Liquinox fails. Detergent 8 is a corrosive liquid that requires wearing rubber gloves and eye protection. Detergent 8 contains surfactants and semi-polar glycol ethers that might be able to solvate non-polar solvents.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

EC 648/2004 Compliance

What Alconox brands are EC 648/2004 compliant?

Alconox, Alcotabs, Citrajet, Detojet, Tergajet, Tergazyme

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Etching During Cleaning

My system has the following materials in it: CPVC, stainless steel, cast iron and copper; should I expect an 8% Citrajet solution to etch any of these materials?

No etching will occur on CPVC, Stainless Steel, cast iron and copper from 8% Citrajet. Cast iron might rust in the rinse water, especially if you use hot rinse water. Use water below 120 deg F to rinse cast iron and then dry quickly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cleaning Light Bulb Filaments

How do you clean oxides from light bulb filaments?

When cleaning oxides from light bulb filaments our recommendation is 8% Citrajet for a contact time of at least 3 seconds at about 140 deg F. In principle, every 10 deg C you go up, doubles the cleaning speed. At 185 deg F, you would be roughly 20 deg C

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pre-soaking Pipettes

Why is it important to pre-soak pipettes in 1% Alconox or Liquinox before washing in pipette siphon washer with Alcotabs?

The most common problem in pipette cleaning is residues that dry on after use and prior to cleaning. This problem is attributed to the failure to pre-soak the pipettes immediately after use. Our technical experts at Alconox recommend placing soiled pipettes in 1% Alconox or Liquinox solution immediately. For the purpose of detergency, it does not matter if pipettes are place tips up or tips down during pre-soak. The important thing is to make sure the pipette is completely immersed in solution with no part exposed to air where there would be a meniscus to potentially leave a ring or even an etch the pipette. For fewer broken pipette tips, it is recommended to place pipettes tips upward, if possible. However, for cleaning extremely viscous or difficult residues there is possibly a theoretical advantage to putting the pipettes in tips down to pre-soak because when they are lifted out of the pre-soak any loosely adhered residue or particulate will drain out the bottom and not have to pass thru the entire length of the pipette before it is removed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Washing Pipettes

Is there a CAP approved procedure for washing pipettes?

There is no CAP approved procedure for washing pipettes. Alconox, Inc recommends using Alcotabs in combination with a pipette siphon washer after a pre-soak with Alconox or Liquinox for effective batch pipette cleaning for laboratory use.
Our suggested directions are to first completely immerse pipettes immediately after use in a pre-soak solution of 1% Alconox or 1% Liquinox. When ready to clean drop an ALCOTAB into bottom of siphon pipette washer. Place pipettes in holder into the washer. Turn on cold or warm water at a rate that will fill the washer and completely cover all pipettes, then drain to the bottom during each cycle. Run water until ALCOTAB has completely dissolved, continue running water to rinse thoroughly (may take an hour to complete washing and rinsing). For analytical or tissue culture work use distilled or deionized water for final rinse.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rinsing with Tap Water

Does tap water rinse as well as purified water?

As far as detergency is concerned, tap water will rinse just as well as any purified water. Rinsing is a mass displacement mechanism and in itself does not depend on the purity of the rinse water. The reason to be concerned with the purity of the rinse water is that whatever is in the rinse water can deposit on your instrument when the water evaporates away during drying. In the case of medical instrument cleaning, the primary concern would be anything that would interfere with the following sterilization step. Any reasonably clean tap water will rinse away the detergent/residue mixture left on the instrument from the cleaning process and would be clean enough that it would not leave a pathogen shielding film or residue that would inhibit the sterilization process. In instances where chemical disinfection is being used without a further sterilization step, then it can be critical to use high purity water to rinse with, however when rinsing is intermediate to a final sterilization step, there is greatly reduced risk of cleaning and sterilization failure due to the rinse water. You do run the risk of water spots from calcium and magnesium deposits in the event that the tap water has a high mineral content. This can be minimized by wiping instruments dry or shaking them off to remove water droplets. In either case, even if incidental water spots are formed, water spots would not cause sterilization failure.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook

Dr. Carole LeBlanc of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts indicates in the forward of The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook that Alconox, Inc has a "self-imposed mission to educate the public about aqueous cleaning."

Forward to The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook
Most cleaning practitioners are familiar with the story: the scientists who developed chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), first as refrigerants and then as solvents, had struck upon what they thought were safe, inert materials. CFCs would replace petroleum- based chemicals known for their health hazards. CFCs were relatively inexpensive, readily available and most importantly, they worked.

What the researchers did not know was the impact these chlorine-containing substances would have on the ozone layer: that portion of the atmosphere responsible for shielding the earth from some of the solar system's most harmful ultraviolet
(UV) rays.

Chlorine (Cl) atoms participate in the destruction of ozone (O3) as they randomly make their way into the upper atmosphere. The reaction is catalytic with the potential for one (1) Cl atom to destroy thousands of O3 molecules. The introduction of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as secondary replacement chemicals reduced but did not eliminate this danger.

CFCs and HCFCs also increase global warming by interfering with the atmosphere's natural ability to radiate heat away from the planet. This exacerbates the Greenhouse Effect most noticeably impacted by fossil fuel burning.

The international Montreal Protocol treaty and the U.S. Clean Air Act Amendments govern the usage and production of most of these compounds, including VOC (volatile organic compound) emitters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) identifies acceptable substitutes. These laws purposefully devastated organic and chlorinated solvent markets while fostering research and development. Hundreds of companies specializing in surface preparation, cleaning, rinsing, drying and inspection owe their economic feasibility to regulatory drivers.

In addition, the U.S. EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) provides a powerful tracking tool for looking at the places and the reasons hazardous chemicals are used. This transpired against a back drop of Right-to-Know legislation and chemical accidents culminating, in no small measure, with the inception of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). The occurrence of the words "test data unavailable" or "unknown" on many of these documents helped set the stage for other environmental initiatives.
Initiatives in northern Europe have begun to reflect the precautionary principle. This is the EH&S equivalent to the Hippocratic medical oath, "First do no harm." The translation: sell no product whose environmental, health and safety concerns have not yet been elucidated.

The principle represents a radical departure from conventional thinking that may be lost on those not directly involved in the chemical industry Thousands of new chemicals enter the market each year while little is known about the vast majority of existing chemicals. This would no longer be tolerated under a system that demands thorough environmental and health information before exposure (as opposed to after a potential, unknown disaster). Chemical manufacturers would have stronger stewardship responsibilities. Products would take longer to reach the marketplace. And once a substance was deemed safe, who would be liable for any errors that are sure to occur? It remains to be seen whether American society, steeped in litigation, can rise to the occasion.

Testing parameters other than those based on the cancer paradigm need to be determined. The study of chemicals' effects at low concentrations, should be expanded (negative impacts from low-dose exposures include hormone mimickers and endocrine disrupters). The effects of chemical mixtures, individually thought to be benign, bear more investigation. Methods of extrapolating test data as well as gender and age differentials require review.

Other problems remain. Most government policies focus on chemical handling and use. They do not necessarily take into account a chemical's life cycle or environmental fate. Nor do they fully consider the drain that chemical manufacture can place on natural resources and raw materials. Risks may simply be shifting from the site of usage to the chemical's production plant (or power plant) rather than real progress being made. This is especially worrisome in light of environmental justice issues.

It is no wonder, then, that many industries are rediscovering water (H2O) as the ideal cleaning medium, the only universal solvent truly non-toxic to both humans and the environment. Like the CFC and HCFC designers, today's formulators will undoubtedly push aqueous (i.e., water-based) cleaners to the scientific limits of the day. This is no time for intellectual arrogance. Chemical exposures effect workers, consumers and communities. Early partnering with stakeholders may ameliorate
the mistakes historically associated with the discovery process.

The constituents and mechanisms of aqueous cleaners must be understood. Surfactants and emulsifiers, alkaline builders and the dependence on water and energy (increasingly precious resources in an over-populated world), all matter to the concerned scientist. One suspects that not all aqueous cleaners are created equal.

There are challenging opportunities for advancement. It is possible to envision the day when manufacturers will no longer be forced to use hazardous materials for surface cleaning in the production of quality goods and services. Furthermore, toxic-free analytical techniques for surface evaluation will be invented that are superior to those now in use.

Based on the cornerstones of pollution prevention and cleaner production,* pursuit of this vision minimizes or eliminates environmental impacts and health and safety risks linked to many industrial cleaning applications. These objectives support a more sustainable business plan, leading to better job security and overall quality of life.

Alconox, Inc. deserves much credit for its self-imposed mission to educate the public about aqueous cleaning. Readers, prepare to learn well from this Handbook.
Click for more information on The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Aqueous Cleaning Handbook Forward

Who wrote the forward of The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook?

The forward of The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook was written by Dr. Carole LeBlanc of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts. Alconox, Inc wrote The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook to assist customers understand the science behind the solution.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Aqueous Cleaning Handbook

Alconox, Inc has written The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook to assist customers understand the science behind the solution. How does the printing of The Aqueous Cleaning Handbook support American Forests?

For every Aqueous Cleaning Handbook printed, Alconox, Inc. donates one dollar to American Forests to support forestry conservation and tree-planting projects. American Forests has been promoting protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems since 1875.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Elliot Lebowitz Helps with the Katrina Aftermath

Did you know that Alconox’s Chief Operations Officer helped clean up the Gulf Coast following Katrina? Elliot Lebowitz believes that helping Katrina victims is part of his personal and professional responsibility.

When it comes to helping others facing disaster, many just shrug their shoulders and say "that’s too bad."

For Elliot Lebowitz, however, chief operating officer for well-known aqueous cleaner maker Alconox, Inc., providing relief for victims of hurricane Katrina meant more
than opening a corporate checkbook. He rolled up his sleeves and went to work as a disaster volunteer.

After seeing images of the devastation to areas of Louisiana where he had once lived, he signed on as a volunteer with the West Chester, PA chapter of the American Red Cross. Upon completing training, he was on the ground in Pass Christian and Gulfport, Mississippi on September 29, exactly one month after Katrina made landfall. For three weeks he served as a driver of a 30-foot truck, unloading supplies at displaced-person and volunteer shelters. "Everywhere I looked," says Lebowitz, "I thought a bomb had gone off. People looked shell-shocked." American flags were flying everywhere, "often the only mark that a home had once stood on the site," he adds.
Trees Displaced by Nature’s Power

As an advanced amateur photographer, Lebowitz recorded images of the environmental ruin, especially to the tree canopy along the once lush Gulf coast. His avocation of nature photography stems from a long-standing interest in the environment and how best to conserve it: "I have always been interested in the environment, especially after living in Texas as a young man on a small ranch."

His concern for the natural world has carried over into his career, and his company has supported the national conservation group American Forests since 1998.
According to that group, coastal forests do more than beautify the environs. Communities recovering from hurricane damage need help restoring the urban and rural forests that provide the life-giving benefits of clean air and water. Trees help control storm water, cool and clean the air, and help remove toxins from groundwater.
Carrying out his Red Cross volunteer duties, Lebowitz witnessed the damage to wetlands and woodlands stemming from Katrina firsthand. It made him realize how long it was going to take to rebuild the communities and their ecosystems: "Don’t forget that we are talking about hundreds of square miles of complete destruction to not only homes, but the entire green infrastructure of the area - trees for protective shade, bird habitats, and urban cover all stripped bare of leaves, uprooted or dead from the salt water surging onto the land."

The rebuilding process has already begun with funding from American Forests. Through its Katrina ReLeaf initiative, activities are being supported such as helping local groups plant new trees native to the Gulf region, flush salt from tree roots with fresh water, and cover exposed roots with soil and mulch.
Reclamation an Ongoing Effort

Lebowitz carried memories of his experience with him long after returning home from the Gulf coast. He was not alone. More than 200,000 people volunteered through the Red Cross and other charities to help with the relief effort. "I am very glad that I was able to be there,” Lebowitz adds, "to see the area firsthand and meet the people that were affected by Katrina."

According to American Forests’ website at, there are a number of activities companies can become involved with to advance the restoration and revitalization of areas hit by environmental catastrophe and deforestation. A Red Cross relief worker at a local chapter or contact the American Red Cross at their website at for information on volunteer opportunities. "It was extraordinary to meet volunteers from all over this country as well as Canada and Bermuda," concludes Lebowitz. "The reclamation effort in this part of the country by volunteers was enormous by any standard, and I was proud to be a part of it."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Alconox Interactions with Bleach

Can you add bleach to 1% Alconox?

Bleach can be added to 1% Alconox solution (or any working percentage of Alconox) to enhance the decontamination or disinfection properties. There are no adverse reactions that interfere with the bleach disinfection or the detergency of the Alconox.
If specific bleach contact time (sometimes designated for decontamination of specific pathogens), then we recommend that you should clean with 1% Alconox or other Alconox brand cleaner first to assure that you have a clean surface. Following this use a separate bleach solution for specific designated time to be sure you have achieved your disinfection goal.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Density of Liquinox and Alconox

What is the density of Liquinox and Alconox?

Liquinox has a density of 1.07 g/ml.

Alconox is a dry blended hygroscopic powder, so its density varies as the powder settles and it gains or loses moisture. It is unusual to use the density of Alconox for anything because it varies. The typical density is 0.95 g/cu cm – the range is 0.85 g/cu cm to 1.1 g/cu cm – it varies with humidity, handling and settling.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Viscosity of Detojet

What is the viscosity of Detojet so a vendor can specify a flow meter for delivery application? Do you have any recommendations of methods of verification?

The viscosity of Detojet is similar to that of water. The viscosity of water depends on temperature. At 293 K (20°C), the viscosity of water is 1.002 cP. Its viscosity decreases as temperature increases. Our studies show that Detojet passes thru a #1 Zahn cup in approximately 24 seconds at 24°C, approximately 10 cP.

Because of its high alkalinity, the presence of Detojet is always easily verified by pH.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Biochemistry Laboratory Cleaners

What cleaners are recommended for general biochemistry laboratory?

For manual or soak cleaning of laboratory instruments, labware (glassware or plastics), vacuum equipment, tissue culture ware and sampling appartus soiled with grit, grime, slime, grease, oils, particulates, deposits, chemicals and solvents, we recommend using Liquinox. It is concentrated to save you money, phosphate free, biodegradable and is "free rinsing" meaning it leaves no interfering residue (which
is very important in the laboratory for reliable results!). We recommend that you monitor shifts in pH towards neutral as indicator to refresh an exhausted cleaning solution.

With regard to removing proteinaceous soils, tissue, blood and body fluids from glassware or plastics, we recommend using Tergazyme, a detergent that contains a protease enzyme. As with all of Alconox brand detergents, Tergazyme is concentrated to save you money, biodegradable, and free rinsing leaving no interfering residues (again, very important in the laboratory for reliable results!). We recommend that once in solution it be used within 3 to 6 hrs, due to the half life of the enzyme.
Pipets can be pre-soaked in Liquinox prior to cleaning. For the actual cleaning step we recommend Alcotabs be used in combination with syphon washer. Alcotabs are specially formulated tablets for slow release for maximum cleaning performance from your syphon pipette washers. Alcotabs are concentrated to save you money, biodegradable, and free rinsing to give you reliable results and no interfering residues. If you are testing for ALCOTABS® detergent, please adapt the procedure to use a detergent test kit that is sensitive to anionic detergent residues. These kits are available from:

1. Chemetrics Inc. water testing kit for anionic detergents, which is sensitive to 1/4 ppm. Contact Chemetrics, Inc. at 1-800-356-3072.

2. LaMotte Chemical water testing kit for anionic detergents, which is sensitive to 1 ppm. Contact LaMotte Chemical at 301-778-3100.

3. Hach Company water testing kit for anionic detergents, which is sensitive to 1 ppm. Contact Hach Company at 1-800-227-4224 or 303-669-3050.

Use the kits to test for detergent in rinse water that has passed through a pipette. If no detergent is detected with the kit, you can conclude that there is no interfering residue from the ALCOTABS®.
Alconox cleaners are available from leading lab supply dealers such as VWR Scientific, Thomas Scientific (800) 345-2100, Cole-Parmer (800) 323-4340, Spectrum Chemical (800) 772-8786 and USA Bluebook (800-548-1234); or check for a local dealer at