Cleaning Diatomaceous Earth & MICA Residues

Q. We are experiencing some cleaning challenges.  Cleaning is difficult due to geometry of parts with hard to clean areas. Aluminum mandrels are used for dipping neoprene; mandrels are predipped in calcium carbonate/mica/diatomaceous earth and baked at 200F. Acid dissolves carbonate but doesn’t remove all DE/mica.

A. Thank you for the inquiry.  Cleaning diatomaceous earth (DE) and mica can be a challenge. 

We suggest cleaning in warm 2% Citranox® Liquid Acid Cleaner and Detergent (circa 120 deg F, 2.5 oz/gal or 20 mL/L) followed by a thorough rinse. The initial rinse should be at the washing temperature to avoid the risk of breaking any emulsions that may form, and potentially redepositing that which you have cleaned.  Subsequent rinses can be at ambient temperature.

Citranox detergent is a mild acid cleaner that will effectively remove the carbonates the way your acid does currently. However, it is additionally an excellent detergent and dispersant that will do a good job on the DE/mica.  This is what separates a detergent from a commodity chemical like an acid which only provides a single avenue of cleaning.

If you’re interested, we offer free samples of Citranox or any other Alconox, Inc. detergents to qualified candidates.

Downloadable certificates of analysis, technical bulletins, SDS, and trace analysis are available from the Alconox website.

Do you have a critical cleaning question for the experts at Alconox Inc.?  Search TechNotes to see if it’s been answered before or Ask Alconox. You may also find the information you seek in one of our Technical Whitepapers available for download.