Q. We need to determine whether or not our 1-year-expired Alconox powdered cleaner performed adequately on the product we produced. We keep our Alconox detergent closed in its original carton in a humidity controlled environment at about 70F (21C). The detergent was used to pre-clean metal wire prior to applying a PTFE coating. Based on your experience and testing of product shelf life, do you have an opinion on whether or not the expired Alconox powder we used was still performing adequately? If not, what properties do you expect may have been compromised?
A. Of course, it is best practice to use unexpired detergent to ensure originally validated/qualified results, whether it be Alconox® Powdered Precision Cleaner or any of our other detergents. However, our testing on product shelf life has shown circumstances of extending COA one year past expiration in some cases. Testing is related to product stability and potency in unopened or tightly sealed concentrate. Appropriate conservative safety factors are added in as well. We are happy to discuss if your situation can qualify for a COA extension.
Bear in mind that the most accurate verification of a controlled or critical cleaning step is having it meet your pre-established requirements for whatever the next process step (or final process step) may be. Since your initial pre-clean met those verification standards, and you stored the detergent in an ideal environment, we do indeed expect that it cleaned adequately.
When it comes to detergents passed their expiration date, one of the last parameters to go is the emulsifying capability of the detergent. Your well-controlled storage conditions would be fully expected to stave degradation for some time. We are aware of applications where Alconox powder was successfully used, in some cases, even past the overage period you have reported. And with cleaning adequacy. Again, best practice is indeed to use detergents that are as freshly manufactured as possible.
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