Cleaning chemical storage containers.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Mike Kennedy, May 21, 2005.

  1. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    I was just rinsing my 1 gal. plastic jugs (Datatainer"s) when I noticed a bit of dried residue floating to the surface.My usual method of cleaning is to fill,slosh,dump,repeat.Should I be concerned with these chemical remnants? Is there a better way to rinse those containers?
    Thanks Much,
    Mike
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    If theres dried crud inside thats not washing loose easily try dropping a few tablespoons of fish gravel into the jug half full of water and agitating vigorously. The abrasion will eventually knock everything loose and won't hurt the plastic or glass.
     
  3. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Household bleach and soap will clean off much chemical deposits...rinse thoroughly afterwards.
     
  4. TheMissingLink

    TheMissingLink Member

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    I do it with those effervescent pills which are thought for cleaning dentures

    Horst
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    In general, most crud can be cleaned off with a mixture of potassium dichromate and sulfuric acid. This would be about 30% acid and then saturated with the chromate salt. It is not for the faint of heart to use.

    Another good cleaner is potassium hydroxide in isopropyl alcohol. Again, not for the faint of heart.

    Sulfur deposits on containers is removed with concentrated sodium hydroxide solution.

    I know, everyone will go crazy when they read this. Well, the chromate/acid solution was sold for years as tray cleaner in photo shops, and the sodium hydroxide is sold at the supermarket as drain cleaner. No big deal here.

    Just remember, wear rubber gloves and safety goggles when using this stuff. Wash the bottles or trays completely after using these cleaners. I've been using all of these for years with no problems at all. I have clean trays and bottles all of the time.

    PE
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If you're using bleach make sure no ammonia is in the container. Do any formulas actually use ammonia? Rapid fixer? Or is the form different. Any ways. Don't let it dry on metal either.
     
  7. Clueless

    Clueless Member

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    Those "common" alternatives are most helpful.
     
  8. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Yeah, use gloves. The last time I used a dichromate solution for cleaning, I didn't have fingerprints for a week! It was college, and 2 of us had to clean the bottles from the microbiology class. It was the only way to clean them, but gloves would have been smart.

    I normally use the fill, slosh, dump routine, too. Every so often, I use bleach and extra rinses.
     
  9. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Fish gravel is too abrasive and will scratch the plastic making it harder to clean the next time. Dry rice is better an won't scratch the plastic. Developer stain is usually soluble in acid solutions. First try a small amount of 28% acetic acid.

    If the bottles are so heavily stained that recourse to anything stonger than household bleach is required then it is best to buy new ones. Chromic acid cleaner is far too dangerous for home use.
     
  10. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    Muriatic acid is usually 20baume Hydrochloric acid. It's found as driveway/concrete cleaner at home-improvement stores.

    I'm not totally advocating this, but it works well for me. I do wear goggles on my face if i'm really soaking/washing this stuff off of a large tray outside.

    Never tried a chromic acid cleanser. I bet i'm stupid enough to try it :/
     
  11. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Glass bottles and wash well after each use. The crud from plastic eventually gets on your film and makes a mess. I don`t seem to get the deposits I did with plastic.
     
  12. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    Isn't pot dichromate and sulfuric acid pretty nasty stuff? Wouldn't it be better to recycle the bottle instead of getting the HAZMAT squad involved?
     
  13. gordrob

    gordrob Subscriber

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    I have switched from any plastic to glass in the darkroom. To clean the glass I use a device that is used for cleaning wine bottles. It attaches to the fawcett and looks to be an inverted spout. When the bottle or graduate is pushed down on the mechanism it shoots a forceful stream of water into the container and does a great job of cleaning the inside of the bottle etc. It is a cheap out for cleaning and cost about $7

    Gord
     
  14. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    My favorite heavy duty cleaner is clorinated pipeline cleaner. It's used to clean dairy tanks and apparatus and is available in farm stores. Don't know how it works for photo chemicals, but might be worth a try. For example, does a great job on the stainless steel coffee carafe.
     
  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You are right, and I think I mentioned that in my post.

    It is nasty stuff as are the other things I mentioned, but a very little goes a long way.

    I just tried to give some alternatives. I happen to think that there are a lot worse chemicals in the photo lab than sulfuric acid and potassium dicrhomate, and that many household chemicals are quite nasty but they have been approved for household use so no hazmat team is needed. (the acid is just battery acid from the auto store) I've been using these and other chemicals for years with no problems.

    Still, it is very important to point out the danger though as you and others did.

    PE