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Published: July 24, 2020

Q. The Bureau of Fire Service (BFS) is requiring us to stop using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) for cleaning.  Do you have a good replacement for 2-propanol / isopropyl alcohol (IPA) for cleaning cannabis botanical resins?

A. Alconox Inc. has detergents that can be used for IPA replacement in cleaning extraction and processing equipment used in making cannabis and cannabadiol (CBD) products.  Due to being a flammable liquid and vapor, it is hazardous to use IPA for cleaning.  Although IPA is a somewhat effective solvent for cleaning waxy, resin, oily and sticky residues, the hazards, waste treatment concerns, and high cost due to demand as disinfectants, make it desirable to find alternatives.

The alternative detergents from Alconox Inc. are effective, non-flammable, and clean with no interfering residues.  Additionally, these detergents are biodegradable and have no dyes or fragrances.  They leave a residue free surface that will not interfere with the natural, organic state of the cannabis products.

The following detergents are efficient at manual cleaning of glassware, trimmers, shears, flasks, and other analytical and process contact surfaces:

Detonox® Ultimate Precision Cleaner is our flagship cannabis detergent, our most potent manual detergent and ideal for hand and ultrasonic use on difficult botanical residues. It is a non-caustic detergent for exceptional removal of cannabis, botanical residues and sticky extracts, resins, creams and lotions.

Alconox® Powdered Precision Cleaner is a powerful emulsifier of organic and oily residues, used for many decades in cannabis and similar soils. It is biodegradable, drain-safe and completely free-rinsing. A powdered alternative to Detonox detergent.

For each of the previous, we would recommend warm to high heat temperatures (110-140°F/45-60°C+) and a 2-3% concentration of detergent (2.5-3.75 oz/gal or 20-30 g/L) for starters. The initial rinse should also be warm to avoid thermal shock of micelles that form, which can cause redeposition of emulsified residues.  Finish with a normal thorough water rinse to achieve an interfering residue free surface.

However, care should be taken to keeping washing and soaking times limited for glassware, especially art and sensitive glass in applications outside the laboratory. For extended soaking, ensure the glass is completely submerged and all air bubbles have been released to avoid forming meniscus edges. Some types of art glass can be etched in such cases. Typical laboratory glassware would not be.

Alcojet® Low Foaming Powdered Detergent is ideal for washers with a cup designed to hold powdered detergent, often with a door that stays closed during the prewash cycle and then pops open during the wash cycle. These cups are sized to give a dose of roughly 1% detergent relative to the volume of wash water in the wash cycle.

Keylajet® Low-foaming Chelating High Alkaline Liquid is ideal for CIP and washer cleaning where the washer has a liquid dosing system to remove tough, sticky, waxy botanical residues, resins, and other highly adherent organic and oily soils. And of course, much more. It is also ideal for vape cartridge manufacturing (e-cigarettes, vaporizers, etc.) residues that can be tough to remove and make cleaning vape manufacturing equipment, tanks and laboratory glassware a challenge.

A concentration of 3-5% detergent (30-50 mL/L or 4-6 oz/gal) is a good place to start with Alcojet or Keylajet cleaners, and the highest temperature that can be reasonably achieved. If you are using a dishwasher with a cup in the door, fill the cup with Alcojet powder and fill any pre-wash cup if one is available.  Recall that heat expedites cleaning and higher concentrations increase capacity, or amount that can be removed by a detergent. Therefore, qualitatively speaking, if there is a large amount of resin, higher concentrations may be needed.

We are happy to discuss your cannabis related IPA replacement or other hazardous solvent replacement (acetone, ethanol) application any time.

To request these or another Alconox Inc. product 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.

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.

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2 responses to “Cannabis: IPA replacement with Alconox Inc. Detergents”

  1. Trefor Jones says:

    My client is using Keylajet for cannabis residue cleaning. Do you have an ADE or PDE value for this product to allow them to calculate the cleaner maximum carry-over limit? I note you provide LD50 values, but these are no longer acceptable for limit calculations.
    Trefor Jones


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