I am using a rotary evaporator ('rotovap') in my lab mainly with dichloromethane as a solvent.

Usually between experiments I clean the receiving and boiling flasks with a brush using soap and water and finally rinse with alcohol. For the condenser I try to do the same, but it is next to impossible to brush the water serpentine.

I want to try and distil some coffee and tea for consumption, but I am afraid of any possible contaminants.

What is an efficient and safe method to clean the glassware?

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    $\begingroup$ I personally think that doing food preparation using non-dedicated lab equipment is a really bad idea, irrespective of the experience and skill of the person doing it. $\endgroup$ – Richard Terrett Sep 3 '13 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ Agreed! My advice for anyone who wants to use lab equipment that previously held experiments for food is don't. Even if you were a food chemist, it is still a good idea to separate work and lunch. $\endgroup$ – Ben Norris Sep 3 '13 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ That's one of the first safety rules: do not eat in the lab. $\endgroup$ – buckminst Sep 3 '13 at 12:38
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    $\begingroup$ You already have 3 comments to this effect, but it just can't be overstated. Please don't use labware to prepare consumables. We want you here in the future! $\endgroup$ – user467 Sep 3 '13 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ OK, you guys are pretty convincing. No food preparation or consumption in the lab! $\endgroup$ – Ivan P. Sep 4 '13 at 5:06

There's no further need to comment on the coffee maker, but you might give the following cleaning method for the condenser and the rotation tube a try:

Note that you might want to first check whether this is in accordance with local safety regulations!

  • Take a small or medium-sized (max. 500 mL) 2-neck flask (NS29 socket connects to the rotavap, NS14.5 socket is for your thumb) and fill it with max. 250 mL acetone

  • Hook it up to the rotavap, support it with your hand

  • No spinning :D
  • Start the vacuum pump
  • Close the NS14.5 socket with your thumb
  • Watch the acetone starting to boil under reduce pressure
  • Rapidly remove your thumb from from the socket and let the acetone "spit" all through the rotavap
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    $\begingroup$ Also works quite well with a Schlenk-Flask and higher boiling solvents. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Apr 26 '14 at 14:23

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