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TSP the same as trisodium phosphate?


#1

Dear All, There are joys and problems living in foreign countries,
meaning outside N. America or Europe.

One is getting the chemicals or solutions recommended on Orchid. I
have wanted to make up a solution of Pripps flux for a long time and
now that I live in the more developed country of Malaysia where they
even have a ACE hardware store I was determined to get the three
ingredients needed. So I rounded up borax and boric acid fairly
easily but still was missing trisodium phosphate. Today I stood for
an hour in the ‘cleaners’ aisle of Ace hardware and came across a
container of something called TSP. But reading the back labels with
all its warnings of wearing rubber gloves, and goggles, and that it
contains: sodium meta-silicate ( I don’t know what this is!) I
think this might not be the right powder. It says it is a all
purpose heavy duty cleaner. Brand is LANDMARK, made in USA.

Can someone tell me if this is the right thing to make up the PRIPPS
flux. Also, if so, is it really that dangerous to use in my studio??

Any help would be really appreciated as I have lots of work to
finish before my up coming art show in November.

Sharron in Kuala Lumpur, listening to Buena Vista Social Club.


#2
         But reading the back labels with all its warnings of
wearing rubber gloves, and goggles, and that it contains:  sodium
meta-silicate ( I don't know what this is!)  I think this might not
be the right powder.  It says it is a all purpose heavy duty
cleaner.  Brand is LANDMARK, made in USA. Can someone tell me if
this is the right thing to make up the PRIPPS flux. Also, if so, is
it really that dangerous to use in my studio?? 

Sharon, Sodium Metasilicate is NOT TSP. It’s a somewhat similar, in
function, alkaline cleaning agent. It will be equally fine if you
plan to wash down your walls prior to painting them. But it will NOT
work if you plan to make Prips flux (note the spelling with only one
final P)

As for safety in the workshop, c’mon, girl. You know about safety
warnings on boxes, don’t you? They have to protect themselves
against every idiot with a lawyer on the planet. Just because they
suggest all that stuff doesn’t mean the cleaner is some sort of WMD.
It IS quite alkaline, and if you leave your hands soaking in it for
a while, you’ll not like what it does to your skin. make you look
all old and wrinkly for a few days. Might even be a bit irritating.
Get it on especially tender skin, and it will definitely irritate.
But don’t go overboard. It’s not all that much different from any
other strong detergent, for which you might also want to wear dish
washing gloves. Other worries on the box is that if you spread the
dry dust into the air, and breath it in, the alkali can burn the
lungs. Again, this is similar in risk to any number of other
household cleaners. So too is their worry that you’ll splash the
stuff in your eyes. All in all, this isn’t a childs toy. But your
toilet cleaners are a lot more dangerous than either this fake TSP,
or the real stuff.

As to prips flux, it’s also not a childs toy. All three chemicals
in it are toxic. What that means is that you should not drink it or
spray it directly into your face. It doesn’t mean you have to get
all paranoid about actually using it. It’s no worse than any other
soldering flux in your shop, and a good deal gentler and safer than
some of them. A bit on your skin will not do any harm.

As to buying TSP, you might need a chemical supplier, if the ACE
store doesn’t have it. Or try a more specialized store that sells
house paint, if there are such where you are. Preparing surfaces for
painting is the single most common public use for the stuff.
Wherever you buy it, the ingredient must be trisodium phosphate, or
if from a chemical supply, you could also buy disodium phosphate or
monosodium phosphate. Any of these three chemicals will work. Sodium
metasilicate, as you can tell by the totally different name, is not
related chemically, and though it works to clean the walls, it is
not usable for prips flux.

Peter Rowe


#3

TSP is short for trisodiumphosphate — BUT because of
environmental concerns for phosphate contamination of wastewater
there are restrictions on the use of phosphates in cleaners in many
places. TSP is not sold everyplace in the US anymore but it is
available some places . It has been pretty well removed from
laundry and dishwashing detergents in the US. As a result It has
sometimes been replaced by sodium meta silicate which works the
same as a cleaner. One such brand in the US is sold as TSP NOT.
I thought that plain TSP was unavailable here in Texas but recently
found it in two paint stores. I don’t know if the meta silicate will
work as a replacement in Pripps flux – but try it. The sodium
metasilicate is an excellent degreasing metal cleaner. jesse


#4

Well, Sharron, while TSP is a quite common “abreviation” for
trisodium phosphate, it definitely is not the same as sodium
metasilicate. On the other hand, the sodium metasilicate might have
been added to their cleaner, in addition to the TSP, to give it more
scouring power. Or possibly it is there as an impurity in large
enough quantity to require listing on the label. Why don’t you check
the rest of the label (other than the warnings) and see if trisodium
phosphate is its main constituent, as it should be? If it is not,
then there is something suspicious going on.

I think I would be just a bit leery of using it in Prips.

Margaret


#5

I believe that there is also a TSP “brand” cleaner, which has NO
trisodium phosphate. Read the labels, folks. David Barzilay, Lord of
the Rings


#6
On the other hand, the sodium metasilicate might have been added to
their cleaner, in addition to the TSP, to give it more scouring
power. Or possibly it is there as an impurity in large enough
quantity to require listing on the label. 

Margaret,

Sodium Metasilicate is sold as a replacement for TSP, because it is
a phosphate free cleaner. TSP, containing phosphates, presents a
waste water pollution problem in some areas, as the phosphate can
cause algae blooms. Some locations have banned the use of phosphate
containing laundry detergents since the large quantities of that
stuff (from everyone’s laundry) that ends up in the streams and
rivers, was causing ecological changes. As a result many laundry
products eliminated the phosphates, to comply with the laws. Since
TSP is also a cleaning agent, it falls under that law for that type
of use, and manufacturers then packaged the sodium metasilicate with
labels that suggest it’s the same as TSP. It’s not an impurity or
additive to TSP. It’s a phosphate free substitute. And it doesn’t
work correctly in prips flux. The phosphates in this use (prips flux)
don’t present a problem, since we’re not flushing large amounts down
the storm drains.

Peter