Can Alconox be used to clean latex?

latex tubing

Q: Can Alconox powder be used to clean latex material (tubing)?

A: Latex is inherently a product that naturally degrades via mechanisms of hardening, embrittling and cracking.  Any low surface tension solution such as most solvents and detergents will tend to speed up the embrittling process.  Alconox® Powdered Precision Cleaner is a low surface tension solution (the vast majority of our detergents form low surface tension solutions with the notable exception of Detojet® Low Foaming Liquid Detergent – it is surfactant-free).

This does not mean you cannot use Alconox powdered detergent to effectively clean latex, but it does mean that cleaning with an Alconox solution may shorten its useful elastic life.  For a one time clean, followed by a thorough rinse, there should be no issue.  Latex that will be used in a maintenance item application, where the latex is reasonably expected to have a relatively short life, should be fine.  Of course testing would be recommended, and we’d be happy to provide guidance.

Detojet detergent which is designed for machine use, and therefore of a higher alkalinity, can be considered with proper PPE.  Again, as always, compatibility should be verified.

For a critical application I would not recommend cleaning with Alconox powder or any detergent.    Although water will be less aggressive than a solvent or detergent, even water will cause some degradation of latex.  For critical applications, it may be a good idea to evaluate the use of other elastomers rather than use latex that has to be cleaned.

To request these or any Alconox, Inc. detergents for free, please complete the questionnaire at Get Sample.  For more information about any one of our Alconox, Inc. detergents, consult the technical bulletin for each product. Or click here to access each of our detergent’s  Safety Data Sheets.

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