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Cleaning with caustic

I’d like to (must) make sure my plate chiller is clean. Too many “flavor crystals” are still coming out after long recircs with hot Oxyclean (forward and back-washing). I’d like to try sodium hydroxide (lye/caustic soda).

I have a March 809HS-PL pump. Silicone and thermoplastic hoses with SS camlocks. The only soft metal in the circuit is the copper brazing in the heat exchanger.

Q1: Will I trash any of my equipment recirculating hot caustic soda through?

Q2: What percent solution will give me adequate cleaning with the least corrosive effects?

And yes, I will be super safety-man and use all appropriate ppe (gloves, goggles, splash shield, boots, old clothes, etc.)

No, I have been using it for about 2 years (about 40 batches) without any problems.

2.5% w/w

Would not do it any other way.

I mix mine with a product called chlorinated pipeline cleaner which is used in the dairy farm industry. It has surfactants and chelating agents to help remove stuck on material and aids with rinsing.

Forgive the silly question, but did you try PBW? Is Oxyclean similar? I’ve also wondered about cleaning with NaOH because I used to make soap for a living and still have a few pounds of NaOH (and KOH) around with no real use for it.

One caution - always always always add the NaOH to water and not the other way around. Adding water to a container of NaOH can cause it to volcano up and make for a pretty awful day. Also, if it is possible, mix this stuff outside as it gives off some very wicked fumes initially. Keep in mind that it will also get rather hot (up to about 180 degrees, depending on how much NaOH you’re using). No offense meant if you already know this, but for the sake of other people reading this in the future, I would hate for someone to get hurt.

Oxyclean is very similar to PBW however, I’m going to try PBW as I pick up some yesterday. Hopes are not high, hence the attempt with caustic.

Oxyclean + TSP= PBW. This is what I use for all my other cleaning jobs in the brewhouse.

Oxyclean + TSP= PBW. This is what I use for all my other cleaning jobs in the brewhouse.[/quote]

What ratio do you use?

I think the TSP I get is a 4lb box and the Oxyclean is 3lb and I just mix the two. I have seen ratios from 1:1 to 2:1 TSP to Oxyclean.

Awesome - I love slop recipes. :wink: Thanks for the tip on this. It’s great to know that I can make do with stuff from the grocery store and Home Depot.

Hmmm… wonder about boosting the octane with a touch of NaOH (but would have to wear rubber gloves for that one).

You can sterilize it in the oven if you want. I do 285F for 3 hours.

I’m not following you here. Why would one sterilize a cleanser?

But its not clean. Chunks are still in there.

Also remember you will want to get the caustic soda around 160-170 degrees to make it really effective. Add sodium hydroxide to cool water then heat up. Always add lye to water, never add water to lye as it will have a violent reaction.

But its not clean. Chunks are still in there.[/quote]
But it’s sterile chunks.

How about an acid cleaner? … g-methods/

I’ve used a caustic soda solution several times for cleaning SS, but pretty sure that it reacts to copper.

I have never noticed it reacting in any way with my copper pickup tube, but it will with aluminum.

I believe they are talking about a higher concentration, but this came from Dow’s website:

+1 I’ve actually seen aluminum effervesce when in contact with stronger lye solutions. Pretty scary stuff it is.

w/w? Is that 2.5% of the weight of the water?

Yes it is mass/mass

After trying 2% and 3% solutions, I tried a 4% solution at 160F for hours. I’m still not convinced that it’s clean. :evil:

Bummer, this plate chiller works like a champ too.

On the upside, I think I’ve found an awesome CFC. More details to come.

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