How can we use lemon and vinegar to create a specialized hot tub cleaner?

In summary, a high school student is brainstorming ideas for a chemistry project involving redesigning a product already in existence to become more environmentally friendly. They are looking for ideas from others and are open to trying out new ideas. They are working on a project for their chemistry class, not for a company. They are testing a product made from gelatin and vinegar with the hope of making a more pasty goo that will work better on metal surfaces. There are no downsides to the gelatin/vinegar mix as of yet, but they are aware of the potential risks of citrus oils dissolving plastics.
  • #1
My chem ISU involves taking a product in existence already and redesigning it (chemically) to become more environmentally friendly. These terms are very loose, and so, in my brainstorming, I've been thinking of using lemon juice or lemon OIL even (not sure how to extract the oil though) and creating a vinegar-lemon cleaner mix. Now, done in-depth, I'm sure I could get full marks like this, but I think I'm interested in gearing this project towards something more specific, and pulling up ship at some sort of hot tub chemical. I work at a pool store, and know that there are several hot tub cleaners such as polishes for the fiberglass, and whirlpool rinse which degreases the pipes. On the downside to the vinegar nad acid mix, using it in a full hot tub (as a chemical to treat the tub water while full) means significantly lowering pH. Perhaps this could be a feature to the chemical? PErhaps not.
Anyways, I guess what I want to get at here is: USing a vinegar-lemon mix, is there any way that myself and my partners could make this chemical more specialized? Perhaps a lemon scented polish that cleans the scale off of floor model hot tubs for pool companys ;) ?
Either way, I don't want to make a simple watery mixture of vinegar and lemon that we can slap a label on and say it "cleans a huge load of things"... I would prefer to make something with a little more meaning. Even if that means somehow making a slightly more "goey" consistency in order to create a polish.

Throw out ideas, even if there are missing gaps in it and myself and others here I'm sure may be able to fill those in from brainstorming! All ideas (within capable doing) will be seriously considered. We're grade 11 high school students so we don't exactly have our hands on any $500 million chem labs, but we'll see what we can do for some of this stuff, if you can think of anything..

Thanks in advance!
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  • #2
... ok, so, perhaps to push things along a bit. How might I go about making a more.. pasty or gooey solution out of the lemon and vinegar? Added ingredients?
  • #3
Products like that do exist, but not sure about the inclusion of the simple organic acids. Probably so. Are you hoping to create a product? Are you hoping to copy a product? (If so, be sure you don't copy it too closely...). Are you working for a company who wants this?
  • #4
no company, no copying. I'm in grade 11, doing this all for a chem ISU. Our goal is to create a more environmentally friendly product than something that is already out there. So we took on all of those acid-based calcium cleaners (like CLR) and mixed the idea with a polish to make our product more interesting (especially for those cleaning sinks or other fancier home pieces) .

Not laying blame or anything but in the past little "silent" while without a reply I was able to come up with the ingredient of Agar. I picked some of the KNOX brand, non-flavouored gelatin mix at the grocery store and will be trying out a mix of that tonight to see if I can't get a pasty goo out of it. Can anyone think of any downsides? We tested a straight vinegar mix out and that smelled too strong and didn't do the job too well. We then tested a 50/50 vinegar/lemon juice mix , better smell, shined the metal tap up, got rid of all calcium hardness with minimal scrubbing, and about 1 minute wait. Tomorrow we will mix the Agar goo with the vingar/lemon juice and see if that works.
  • #5
Careful with the lemon oil concept...citrus oils dissolve some/many plastics (not something you want around the hot tub with lots of plastic parts).
  • #6
Mike, there are all kinds of cleaners. If your assignment boundries are loose enough you might consider antibacterials. Plants practice chemical warfare; it's not in the general nature of self-similar replication to be eaten too soon.
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Related to How can we use lemon and vinegar to create a specialized hot tub cleaner?

1. What factors should be considered when designing a chemical cleaner?

When designing a chemical cleaner, it is important to consider the purpose of the cleaner, the surface or material it will be used on, the type of dirt or residue to be removed, and the potential environmental and health impacts of the ingredients.

2. How can I ensure the effectiveness of my chemical cleaner?

To ensure the effectiveness of a chemical cleaner, it is important to carefully choose and balance the ingredients to target the specific type of dirt or residue. Conducting thorough testing on different surfaces and materials can also help determine the effectiveness of the cleaner.

3. Are there any environmentally friendly options for chemical cleaner design?

Yes, there are environmentally friendly options for chemical cleaner design. These can include using natural, biodegradable ingredients, minimizing the use of harsh chemicals, and using packaging materials that can be recycled or reused.

4. How can I make my chemical cleaner safe for human use?

To make a chemical cleaner safe for human use, it is important to carefully select and balance the ingredients to minimize potential health risks. It is also important to include clear and detailed instructions for use and any necessary safety precautions.

5. What are some common mistakes to avoid when designing a chemical cleaner?

Some common mistakes to avoid when designing a chemical cleaner include using too many or unnecessary ingredients, not conducting thorough testing, and not considering the potential environmental and health impacts of the cleaner. It is also important to avoid using harsh chemicals and choosing packaging materials that are not environmentally friendly.

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