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Diatomaceous Earth Residues
Published: September 21, 2023

Q: We need to remove diatomaceous earth from filter screens.  What detergent do you recommend?

A: Diatomaceous earth, also known as filter aid, diatomite, celite, and other names, has a wide range of uses, including pest control, abrasives, and of course filtration.  As it is composed of both organic and inorganic matter, knowing which detergent to use is a very valid question.   Traditionally, an acidic detergent like Citranox® Liquid Acid Cleaner and Detergent focuses well on sand, silica and other inorganics, and has capacity for organic residues as well.  For diatomaceous earth with large organic components (often fossilized algae), a moderately alkaline detergent with capacity to remove both organic and inorganic residues, along with particulates, can be the solution.  These alkaline options would be Alconox® Powdered Precision Cleaner and Liquinox® Critical Cleaning Liquid Detergent, for a powdered and liquid concentrate option, respectively.  It might be very worth trialing both an acidic and alkaline detergent for your particular application.

For filter cleaning applications that require low foaming detergents, Citrajet® Low-Foam Liquid Acid Cleaner/Rinse  and Solujet® Low-Foaming Phosphate-Free Liquid can be considered for acidic and alkaline options, respectively.   

Not all diatomaceous earth is the same, but some benchtop trial work can really help out matters and see which detergent chemistry makeup is most optimal.

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