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Some specific questions on Caustic

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Mr. No-Tip

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Hey chemical cleaners,

I've got myself some powdered caustic, but am yet to work up to using it. I read a pretty helpful thread to get some basics down http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/49784-caustic-cleaning-the-brewery/, but I have some pretty specific questions:

Can I use it in a spray and wipe fashion, or is soaking the key? My chesty (see question on safe surfaces below) has what I can only assume is mould staining on it. When I had a sour belgian blowoff explosion over xmas, I got some mould growing in the fridge. I've since hit it with bleach wipe and oxonia, so I am pretty sure the mould is dead, but it still has all these spots. I wonder if caustic could help. Obviously I am not going to fill my chest up for a soak, so I wondered if a spray and wipe down would be sufficient?

What surfaces are ok? I've heard not to use it on better bottles or copper. From what I gather fermenters are ok....for a period of time, or full stop? Most hoses? My braumeister? Most importantly- the dimpled insulation surface on my chest freezer?

Local HBS vs generic drain cleaner from Woolies? Any reason to not just get home brand draino?

Thanks in advance.
 

treefiddy

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A lot of plastics are ok. Typical fermenters are ok to use for long periods except for very concentrated solutions and/or high temperatures. Glass is fine, so is steel. Do not use it on aluminium or copper.

Caustic is not a trivial type cleaner. Seriously reconsider weather you really need to use it or not. If you speak to anyone in the alumina business they are shit scared of it, and for good reason. At the temperatures they use it at, it dissolves nerve endings before they can send a pain signal. There are stories of guys coming home and pulling their foot off with their boot.

I've used caustic before in much more controlled environments and it's fine to use as long as you respect it. Use eye protection and gloves at least, try to minimise skin exposure.

Drain cleaner contains contaminants that you probably don't want near something that you will consume. You will wash it out well so I guess that is debatable. The lye used for soap making (you can maybe buy this at woolies) would be fine.
 

pk.sax

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Ooh, loaded there.

Why don't you just get a can of oven-off bam or something that's ready to spray 2% caustic. That way you are not playing with too much and it's safe to spray.

Btw, I won't use draino on ferm gear! Feels wrong. I've used pine o clean successfully to clean off mould from a second hand fridge, pure caustic, get digger's caustic granules in a bottle from the green shed.
 

Mr. No-Tip

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Interesting responses. Need to figure out if there's any aluminium in my freezer lining...
 

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