Cleaning Glassware for Silver Staining

Q: I am looking for an alternative for cleaning glassware. I am going to perform a staining procedure using ammoniacal silver (diamine silver) and another one using silver nitrate. The protocols are very specific about using “chemically clean glassware”, but they don’t specify the cleaning procedure. In my previous job in a different institution I have used a solution of potassium dichromate and sulfuric acid, but I want to avoid it because it is very hazardous.  Like most labs, I do have boxes and boxes of Alconox here.  Any advice?

A: Thanks for the question, and good news.  You can go with what you currently have.  We recommend you clean by soaking and scrubbing with a 1% Alconox® Powdered Precision Cleaner solution (10 g/L) followed by a thorough rinse to achieve chemically clean glassware.   Alconox powder essentially replaced dichromate/sulfuric acid cleaning many decades ago.  We are aware of plenty of people who use silver stains that use Alconox to clean their glassware.

For more information on Alconox powdered detergent, check out the technical bulletin and/or sds (Safety Data Sheet).

For help selecting an appropriate cleaner for any critical cleaning application, ask our cleaning experts at Ask Alconox.  Request a copy of Alconox Guide to Critical Cleaning for useful references, application info, and detergent selection summaries.

You can also request a free sample of any Alconox Inc. detergent by completing the questionnaire at Get Sample.

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