Q: We were wondering if Alconox Inc. has any data on detergent reuse? We will be looking at effectiveness of cleaning, and other parameters. Any other methods that you would recommend for detecting degradation and/or neutralization of the Alconox detergent?
A: Successful use for a period of time, whether it be one day, five days or up to two weeks, generally depends on soil load, type of soil and initial concentration of the detergent. We are certainly aware of users that have successfully used our detergent solutions for 5 days and more. Most use conductivity or pH to monitor baths. We do not recommend use of detergent solutions beyond 2 weeks so as to minimize the risk of microbial contamination. As a biodegradable detergent, Alconox detergent solutions will eventually grow microbes – they degrade via biology. Some detergents will be more susceptible than others. While growth can occur at essentially any pH, more neutral detergents will be even more susceptible. Hence, conservatively, diluted shelf life for our products is two weeks.
Conductivity is generally a good way to monitor an Alconox powdered detergent bath. For most applications, as long as evaporated water is added back to maintain constant volume, an Alconox solution will increase in conductivity as soil load builds up in the solution. A 10% increase in conductivity is often a good set point to refresh a bath. If your change in conductivity stays below 10% over your use period, that will often correlate well with continued successful cleaning.
If you have a significant acidic or alkaline hydrolysable soil load, then monitoring free alkalinity (titrate to pH 4.5 with acid) can give you a good sense of the degradation of the alkalinity and builders in Alconox. A drop of 20% or more in free alkalinity would often indicate that it is time to change out the bath. Again if your change in free alkalinity at constant volume of less than 20% drop over the target period should also correlate well with continued successful cleaning. Note if you have alkaline soils, this method may not work so well, though most contaminants tend to be acidic.
Similar considerations for detergent reuse can generally apply to our other detergent products,
To request any Alconox Inc. detergents 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.
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