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Drano!


#1

I’m full of questions this morning. A colleague of mine moonlights
in a family-owned jewelry store. She mentioned the other day that
they use Liquid Drano in their sonic cleaner. !!! Could that be
right? Sounds kind of extreme to me. But, what do I know?

Suzette Crim


#2

Suzette; Drano is usually used in a jewelry shop to clean jewelry
usually before repair work is to be done. It attacks the organic
matter and leaves the gold and precious stones clean. There are safety
factors as to which stones can take the solution. It is usually warmed
on a hot plate or in a crock pot style slow cooking pot. It is a must
in all the shops I have worked in. It is a very caustic material and
should be handeled with care and knowledge.It will leave a piece of
jewelry as clean as the day it left the manufacturer… I have NEVER
head of it being used in an ultrasonic and would not recommend it. I
use a pyrex bowl and cover on a hot plate. Frank Goss


#3

Good Grief!!! If you are using “Liquid Drano”, I won’t want to put
my hands in that dangerous stuff! It’ll surely remove the dirt and
your skin, and will cause blisters. the fumes are also very potent!
ano???"…:>( read the “hazard” list! “a bit extreme?”, just a tad,eh? gerry !!!


#4

I have a feeling you will get quite a few responses to this, all
saying “what the heck are they thinking?!” Just read the label
warning on that stuff, it’s dangerous to breath or touch, it’s
incredibly corrosive, and usually an ultra sonic has a heat element
which will increase the toxicity to the environment they are working
in. Please advise them to get rid of it immediately.

Concerned,
Marta


#5

We use Draino to clean burnt on dirt off of stones or even to get
that tiny little bit of polishing compound out from under a channel
set princess cut that has hung in the ultrasonic for an hour and is
still dirty. But we use it in a little jar (with a lid on) that we set on
a rack in the ultrasonic. Mark


#6
 I have a feeling you will get quite a few responses to this, all
saying "what the heck are they thinking?!"   

And some saying "We use torches for soldering and nitric and other
acids for cleaning and testing and etching, very sharp burrs (ever
get a Krause through the finger?), very sharp gravers. We manage
with fumes and dust, what’s a little lye compared to all that?"
Though I have little experience in these matters myself, earlier
threads touted lye as a very good way to remove grease from the
hidden areas of a setting. Particularly if one is going to solder
with diamonds in a setting, one needs to be sure that even
inaccessible places are free of grease which might burn the diamond.
I do think the lye is safer if not heated much, and probably just
takes longer. If heat is used, yes, be very careful of the fumes.
Wear eye protection. Protect clothing or wear expendable work
clothes. Remove work with tongs and rinse and neutralize before
handling. However, I think you could get lye on your hand and get
twenty feet to the sink without having it eat down to the bone, and I
don’t think I could say the same of sulfuric or nitric acid. Keep
vinegar around to neutralize it. Anyone (I hope not!) with some
first hand experience with such things? Where’s John B?

Regards,
Roy


#7
    I have a feeling you will get quite a few responses to this,
all saying "what the heck are they thinking?!"   Just read the label
warning on that stuff, it's dangerous to breath or touch, 

G’day; Hey, let’s not go overboard here! However and but; yes, it
is dangerous to breathe caustic soda dust - so buy it as pellets or
sticks and if you boil a strong solution of it, just don’t stick your
head over the vessel to breathe the aerosol which boiling liquids
always provide. Touch? well, depends what you mean. Just don’t pick
it up with bare hands, and don’t get any on yourself or your clothes.
If you do, use plenty of water, and/or vinegar to neutralise it.
Wear rubber gloves, anyway, and an apron, perhaps. Take care, but
don’t be scared of it.

     it's incredibly corrosive, 

Well, yes, but I would use the word VERY, not ‘incredibly’ Just
don’t slop it around.

     and usually an ultra sonic has a heat element which will
increase the toxicity to the environment they are working in.  

My ultra sonic doesn’t. And heating won’t increase toxicity to the
environment - unless you let it boil over or spill it. It isn’t
required to spill any over yourself either; you’ll wish you hadn’t.

But you don’t need caustic soda to clean jewellery anyway. If it is
very cruddy indeed, use a solution of washing soda - around a
tablespoon in a tumbler or hot water - plus a few drops of a good
detergent. Remove the worst with an old toothbrush, or if you can’t
give it an ultrasonic bath, then do a bit more with the toothbrush and
use a loupe to examine it properly.

Cheers,


#8
   However, I think you could get lye on your hand and get twenty
feet to the sink without having it eat down to the bone, and I don't
think I could say the same of sulfuric or nitric acid.  Keep vinegar
around to neutralize it.  Anyone (I hope not!) with some first hand
experience with such things?  Where's John B? 

Yeah, g’day, heremai! You rang, milord?

I agree with you, Roy Jess, Sulphuric acid is particularly nasty as
what it really goes for is water. And human (or any other flesh) has
plenty of that. In fact, it likes it so much and goes so eagerly after
even the molecules of water in compounds like sugar and flesh, that it
gets very hot in the process. So concentrated sulphuric acid (used to
be called vitriol) anywhere on the body is a serious matter and calls
for copious floods of water. Conc., nitric acid HNO3 is also nasty but
not as bad as sulphuric. It also needs water over a burn very
quickly, but you’d have a minute to get to the sink before you began
singing.

Story:- when I was a lab boy I had to make up diluted acids literally
by the gallon. One day I thought a gallon jug was empty and stuck my
arm into it (Please don’t ask me why - I’ve no idea!) But it wasn’t
empty because my colleague (a year older than I at 15) had left it
filled with conc., nitric acid. I shoved my arm under the tap very
fast, I can tell you. The only damage was that I had a bright yellow
arm and hand for a week or so until the damaged skin sloughed off.

So yes, you’d have no permanent damage if you got to a tap fast
enough. Same with caustic soda (lye); wash it off fast with plenty of
water and only then wash the acid with baking soda and the alkaline
lye with vinegar. But very hot caustic soda is very nasty indeed - it
turns fat into soap! (hot sodium hydroxide plus stearic acid (animal
fat) equals sodium stearate (soap) and glycerine!)

But as I said in an earlier post, just don’t go overboard and refuse
to have anything to do with anything bearing the name, ‘chemical’.
Treat everything with care, caution, and common sense. Cheers, –

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ