Cleaning Glassware with Adhesives and APIs

Lab Glassware

Q. We are cleaning glassware that contains adhesives and API dissolved in organic solvents. If we do not do additional organic rinses prior to the aqueous rinses we have issues. Is there any way we can avoid the organic rinses?

A. To avoid organic rinses, you can soak in a high emulsifying cleaner such as a 1% Alconox® Powdered Precision Cleaner solution (1.25 oz/gal or 10 g/L) prior to aqueous rinsing. Ideally soak in a warm or hot solution for fastest and most reliable results. The emulsifiers in Alconox detergent will emulsify the solvents and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).

Be sure to rinse at the same temperature at which you are soaking.  In this way can avoid breaking the emulsion and risk redepositing the API or solvents.  If you soaked hot, and over time the solution cooled down, then rinsing with cooled water is fine. If you soaked hot and the solution is still hot, then rinse with hot water. Again, changing temperatures from cleaning to rinsing can break emulsions. Most APIs and adhesives can be removed by this process.

Note that a few very difficult adhesives may require the use of a semi-aqueous cleaner like Detergent 8® Low-Foaming Ion-Free Detergent instead of Alconox powder. If the Alconox process does not work, then try a 5% Detergent 8 cleaner (6 oz/gal or 50 mL/L) of warm or hot solution to soak in. If this is a thermoset adhesive, you would of course have to clean at ambient temperatures. Note that Detergent 8 cleaner is pH 11 so ensuring proper PPE would be essential for manual cleaning.

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