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My cleaning solution changes color when I distill it

  1. Oct 25, 2007 #1

    ShawnD

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    I made a cleaning solution that could clean anything. It was made from:
    -1L of 5% bleach (normal stuff at any store)
    -3L of 70% isopropyl alcohol
    -1/2 cup of dish soap
    -a dash of Comet
    -1 tablespoon of concentrated ammonia

    The solution would settle out as a cloudy yellow mixture. When stirred, it would turn green (because Comet is blue).

    Eventually my cleaning solution became saturated, so I decided I would recycle it by distilling it. The mixture I got back is totally different from what went in. The new cleaning solution...
    -Is clear orange
    -Has a very strong smell (I smelled some 99% IPA for comparison, and this stuff is quite a bit stronger than IPA)
    -Feels like IPA. It doesn't dry the way acetone does, but it doesn't bead like water.
    -It instantly dissolves isopropyl palmitate, which is a good thing.


    Any idea what happened here?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2007 #2

    chemisttree

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    You put a bunch of things together that aren't compatible, they reacted with each other, you cleaned some unknown (to us) materials in it, you removed the most volatile organic fraction by distillation and sniffed it.

    I'd call that a major screwup all around....

    Do you know what chloramines are?
     
  4. Oct 26, 2007 #3

    ShawnD

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    The major reactants are bleach and isopropyl alcohol, which undergo the Haloform Reaction to create chloroform and acetic acid (we don't buy these because they're extremely expensive). Ammonia neutralizes the acid. This is why the solution had no smell before distilling it. The solution was yellow because of the dish soap, which would mix with comet and make a green color when stirred (change back to yellow when settled).

    The wiki entry for Chloramine states "NH2Cl is a highly unstable compound in concentrated form". Distillation would certainly fit the definition of concentrated since chloramine would boil off before anything else present in the mixture.

    Chloramine is green. My solution is orange.


    I'm thinking sodium hydroxide might have something to do with this. When buying more bleach, I noticed that Javex brand bleach also contains sodium hydroxide. Most brands do not contain sodium hydroxide, so I never really thought about what it could do.
     
  5. Oct 26, 2007 #4

    chemisttree

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    All of the sodium hypochlorite you can get your hands on has NaOH in it to some degree. I read a similar post over here. There the poster didn't use the ammonia for obvious reasons.
    I think that if you add NaOH to acetone you will get something orange.

    I wouldn't want to make chloroform, chloramines seasoned with glove-killing acetone and IPA just to clean glassware. Sounds like a dangerous waste of time to me.
     
  6. Oct 26, 2007 #5

    ShawnD

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    Thanks for the link and narrowing down the reaction. I'm actually amused at how the other guy came to the same conclusion about the cleaning power of this orange solution :biggrin:

    You're right about this being dangerous and somewhat a waste of time, but it's done in a fume hood and it's not for analytical purposes. Most of the cleaning around here is with soap and grease cleaner you can get at a local store, but certain (rare) jobs just don't clean very well, and that's where bucket chemistry comes in handy.
     
  7. Oct 26, 2007 #6

    chemisttree

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    Good for you its in a hood! I used to waste time* soaking all my glassware in KOH/IPA but found that soap worked as well for most things anyway. For nasties I would just fill the glassware with enough of a strong solvent or caustic or acid depending on the situation. For some reason I found that citric acid and Palmolive will remove almost anything I generated overnight.

    * Not really a waste of time, just a waste of safety. KOH was pretty nasty. I also used to use Chromix but abandoned that pretty quickly. Also, the orange stuff might be related to an aldol product that is being produced.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2007
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