23 votes
Accepted

Strange Sticky Substance on Digital Camera

After the lengthy back and forth perhaps an official answer is due: the blue salt deposit on the camera battery holder door is most likely copper(II) hydroxide by reaction of leaked alkaline battery ...
  • 19k
15 votes
Accepted

How can I safely handle a concentrated (fuming) nitric acid spill?

Of course, you’ll want to prevent a spillage as well as possible (making sure the bottle doesn’t fall over etc.) but sometimes you just run into bad luck. Let’s hope that your work bench is at least ...
  • 64.8k
15 votes
Accepted

Why are acetic acid and sodium bicarbonate mixed to unblock a drain?

Quoting text from this source under the section "Why could baking soda and vinegar clean clogged drains?" : Bicarb soda and vinegar react because of the acid-base reaction. Bicarb soda is ...
  • 3,056
14 votes
Accepted

Does the main washing effect of soap come from foam?

Foam is a side effect of using a tensio-active agents (though some tensio-active agents are engineered to produce as little foam as possible, e.g. in washing machines). In fact, you could consider ...
  • 2,874
14 votes
Accepted

Cleaning with vinegar and sodium bicarbonate

Your intuition is on point. Pretty much all the "lifehacks" praising cleaning abilities of vinegar and sodium bicarbonate are ineffective. The reaction appears vigorous due to the formation ...
  • 35.8k
13 votes

Strange Sticky Substance on Digital Camera

I agree with @BuckThorn on the blue corrosion but I'd like to address the sticky substance. If it is in fact a degradation product of the plastic or some other substance being exuded by the plastic, I'...
  • 346
12 votes

How can I clean solid sulfur and its oxides from test tube?

Since you stated: I'm not a chemist, so I don't have any strange chemicals at home. you will neither have facilities for their proper storage and waste management. Consequently, the only ...
10 votes

Dichloromethane cleaning

Safety regulations in every lab I have heard of strictly disallow mixing of containers of any sort that contain, have contained or will contain chemicals with containers of any sort that contain, have ...
  • 64.8k
9 votes

Reuse 20 litre plastic drums for drinking water?

Regardless of what it takes to remove any traces of hydrochloric acid from the drum, the container is probably not certified as food-grade. So in addition to any risks from the acid itself (including ...
8 votes
Accepted

How to reverse damage done by nail polish remover without acetone to a laptop keyboard?

The solvent appears not only to have removed paint on the keys but also to have caused solvent crazing in the plastic itself. Regrettably, there is probably not much that can be done to actually ...
8 votes

Ammonia for cleaning - what is the interaction between ammonia and oils?

Common food fats and oils usually contain some free fatty acid1. The alkalinity of household ammonia serves to form a soap which will emulsify the main body of the fat/oil, if enough elbow grease (i.e....
  • 12.6k
8 votes
Accepted

For what reasons, is isopropyl alcohol widely used as a cleaning solvent?

From this Wikipedia article Isopropyl alcohol dissolves a wide range of non-polar compounds. It also evaporates quickly, leaves nearly zero oil traces, compared to ethanol, and is relatively non-...
  • 18.1k
7 votes
Accepted

Why is caustic soda (NaOH) used to clean beer bottles?

Caustics such as $\ce{NaOH}$ and $\ce{KOH}$ are effective in converting insoluble fatty acids in organic fats and oils into soluble soaps in a proccess called saponification. The caustics also react ...
7 votes

Why are acetic acid and sodium bicarbonate mixed to unblock a drain?

$$\ce{NaHCO3(s) + CH3COOH(aq) -> CO2(g) + H2O(l) + CH3COONa (aq)}$$ From what I can see in the reaction, an amount of water and carbon dioxide is produced which has the potential to move around ...
6 votes

Yellow stains after cleaning silver

I suggest to do the following: Line the bottom of a pan with aluminum foil. Put the silver piece on top of the aluminum foil. The silver piece and aluminum foil must be in contact with each other. To ...
  • 8,583
6 votes

Disrupting the chemistry of oobleck so that it behaves like a newtonian fluid

Disposal isn't a problem - add more water as you dump it down the drain. There are two extremes to ooblek: Almost all cornstarch and almost no water: this is a dry solid or slightly wet starch. No ...
6 votes
Accepted

Will using vinegar harm car paint?

That is a valid question, because acid rain has been known to damage paints, particularly high-gloss, i.e. clear coat. Best would be to test the effect of vinegar on a hidden area, and double-check ...
5 votes
Accepted

How many times can we recycle one sheet of paper?

Well apart from the fact that the answer depends on the type of the paper that is used. Secondly how much is wasted and also the process used. Below is an article that might be helpful in answering ...
  • 66
5 votes

Water in the ultrasonication bath

To see these jelly flakes in an ultrasound bath is a normal thing -- referring to ``it happens regardless if the water was tap-water or deionized water, a just a matter of time''. Perhaps this occurs ...
  • 23.8k
5 votes

What are the best chemical liquids to clean metallic surfaces?

Assuming clean means anti-pathogenic, I would use Hydrogen Peroxide "oxyclean" since it can "clean" metals by removing pathogens. $\ce{H2O2}$ is marketed in various strengths. 1% dilution can kill up ...
  • 3,000
5 votes

Which reagent can I use to remove carbon from oven?

As a disclaimer, this is for information only. Anyone using this information assumes all associated risks. The manufacturer's label should be followed for any cleaning products. The exact chemical ...
5 votes
Accepted

How can I clean solid sulfur and its oxides from test tube?

There are a couple of ways to do it depending on what chemicals are available to you. Since sulfur melts around $115~\mathrm{^\circ C}$, you might first melt it and let as much liquid drip out of the ...
  • 82.5k
5 votes

Acetic(vinegar) and citric acid as the rust remover

Long, long time ago I was employed to formulate rust removers for iron. We needed to be concerned with toxicity, corrosivity, cost, waste disposal, effectiveness, speed, damage to the (uncorroded) ...
  • 51
5 votes
Accepted

When we add soap in low concentrations to water it reduces the surface tension. Why? What is the purpose of this?

The lowering of surface tension is a side effect, though it does relate to the reason why we use soaps when cleaning things. Many of the things we want to clean are not naturally soluble in water (e....
  • 32.8k
5 votes
Accepted

How to safely clean tantalum jewelry

Ultra Met uses tantalum for corrosion resistant coatings and has a list of corrosive substances that won't dissolve tantalum, comprising of hydrochloric, hydrobromic, and hydroiodic acids, nitric acid,...
  • 12k
5 votes

Will using vinegar harm car paint?

Vinegar Test: No Visible Change After Two Hours As advised above, I decided to test vinegar on an inconspicuous spot. First I created a pattern of exposed paint using masking tape. The shape was ...
  • 293
5 votes

Why does saliva clean so well?

Saliva has alpha-amylase (ptyalin), which hydrolyzes carbohydrates (so starch starts to taste sweet in just a few seconds), kallikrein, an enzyme that breaks down protein, and lingual lipase, which ...
5 votes

Cleaning with vinegar and sodium bicarbonate

Better is using washing soda alone first ( instead of baking soda ), pouredby boiling water and kept there overnight. Next day vinegar may be used to make some bubbles desintegrating the clogging. ...
  • 29.7k
5 votes
Accepted

Cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide is not a chemical process?

Well, it is a play of words. Chemical process or a physical process do not mean a lot. Dilute hydrogen peroxide decomposes catalytically by many things, including dust/ grime, plant matter, minerals, ...
  • 33.6k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible