I'm using Alconox powder detergent to clean my laboratory glassware, the powder is a pain to store near the sink and to use. Would like to make a concentrated liquid to use in its stead.

I have tried a few things, obviously just water and mixing, even up to overnight. It really doesn't go into solution very well, even at seemingly low concentrations. Ive got it up to about 20% w/v but I've tried heat, glycerin, adjusting pH to ~8.8, adding EDTA. I have not added these things in any scientific way, just kind of pouring glycerol or EDTA in.

Wondering if anyone in here has experience with detergents like this , or has done something like this before. Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ for usual cleaning a regular liquid detergent should be sufficient. I subsequently wash it thoroughly with milliQ water. Unless you are doing some sensitive experiments such as mass spectrometry, the minute amounts of residual detergent should not be a problem. For what purpose do you use Alconox ? $\endgroup$
    Apr 22, 2014 at 5:03
  • $\begingroup$ Obsessive compulsive disorder mostly. I like having clean glassware. I pulled up msds on alconox and liquinox. They are very different chemicals. Would have been nice to be able to make a viscous concentrated liquinox out of all the powder alconox we have though. $\endgroup$
    – rhill45
    Apr 22, 2014 at 5:08
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    $\begingroup$ Have you considered bleach to clean things, and then a general purpose liquid detergent to help carry away the residue if any remains? A nice bleach soak will destroy everything biological. $\endgroup$
    – Resonating
    Sep 23, 2014 at 10:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ SparKleen because the name is awesome $\endgroup$
    – Artem
    Mar 30, 2017 at 21:03

2 Answers 2


If you're just using it for hand washing, you probably don't need an ultra-concentrated solution. A very small amount of detergent goes a long way. (Think about it - what would you do with an ultra-concentrated solution? Probably squirt a small amount on the glassware and then add water.)

What I've seen done is to make your "dilute" solution of Alconox, put it in a squirt bottle, and then use a healthy squirt of it when washing. In fact, you probably find you don't even need a healthy squirt of it. A small amount of even the dilute solution is fine.

The approaches I've seen have been rather cavalier - basically just throwing a bunch of the powder in the squirt bottle and filling it with water. You quickly get a sense of how much will dissolve, and if you use a squirt bottle with a drop tube that doesn't go all the way to the bottom, you don't need to worry if not all of it dissolves.

Alternatively, as you you seem the fastidious type, you can fill another (non-squirt) bottle partway with Alconox, the rest of the way with water and let that sit (perhaps with occasional mixing). This should give you a saturated Alconox solution, which you can use to fill the squirt bottle, being careful not to transfer residual powder from the bottle. Then you can add more Alconox powder and water to the stock bottle, let dissolve, and you should be ready for the next time.

Again, this may only give you a 10-20% solution of Alconox in water, but that should be more than sufficiently concentrated for most usages.


In our labs we just use something like palmolive or bleach followed by a 95% EtOH rinse and finally rinsing with DI water.

  • $\begingroup$ this has nothing to due with my question $\endgroup$
    – rhill45
    Jul 1, 2017 at 7:17

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