Is Cleaning Glassware With Nitric Acid A Good Idea???

is cleaning glassware with nitric acid a good idea???

Nitric acid is a colorless, corrosive mineral acid

that is used to produce many different types of

chemicals. Nitric acid glass cleaner is an example

of one chemical created by nitrating glass.

Glassware cleaning solutions are traditionally

made with hydrochloric or sulfuric acid. But what

makes nitric acid so attractive as a cleaner? What

are the advantages and disadvantages? The

article goes on to talk about how using nitric acid

glass cleaner has its benefits and drawbacks,

including health risks for those working with it.

is cleaning glassware with nitric acid a good idea (pinterest pin)
Is Cleaning Glassware With Nitric Acid A Good Idea (pinterest pin)

What is Nitric Acid?

a lab technician in a white coat holds nitric acid in his hands
A lab technician in a white coat holds nitric acid in his hands

Nitric acid is a clear, colorless liquid that emits

fumes when it comes into contact with the air. It

has a molecular formula of HNO and can be used

to create other chemicals such as fertilizers and

explosive materials. Nitric acid is very corrosive and oxidizing, meaning it can act as both an acidic

compound and a base by donating or accepting hydrogen ion. In fact, nitric acid slowly decomposes when it

comes into contact with water. Nitric acid is helpful in the production of ammonium nitrate and potassium

fertilizers. It can also be used to create organic chemicals such as methamphetamine or pharmaceutical

drugs like viagra.

How Is Nitric Acid Created?

Nitric acid is made by combining nitrogen dioxide

(NO) with oxygen in the presence of heat. Heat

can be obtained through burning natural gas

or heating oil, which are common fuels used to

generate electricity. The nitrogen dioxide and

oxygen combine to form nitric oxide (NO), which is

then electrolyzed into nitrogen dioxide and

oxygen. Nitrogen dioxide is then able to combine

with more oxygen in the presence of heat,

resulting in nitric acid formation.

icon of the structure of nitric acid hno3 consisting of nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen
Icon of the structure of nitric acid HNO3 consisting of nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen

How Strong Is Nitric Acid?

strong and weak acids collection set with educational diagram outline
the six strong acids of chemistry
The six strong acids of chemistry

Nitric acid is considered a strong mineral acid. It

has an acidic pH of zero and can react with many

different metals, including gold, silver, copper

and iron to produce nitrates (NO). Nitrate salts are

useful in fertilizers because they act as an

essential nutrient for plant growth. Glassware

cleaning solutions with nitric acid are typically

between a pH of -0.45 and -0.75, which is very

strong as well as corrosive to most metals.

Is Nitric Acid Organic Or Inorganic?

an apple and a chemical flask with nitric acid

Nitric acid is considered an inorganic form of acid

because it’s created through natural gas and oil,

which are organic material. Nitric acid is a

chemical compound that can be found in nature,

but not as an acid.

inorganic acid nitric acids chemistry
Inorganic acid nitric acids chemistry

How Is Nitric Acid Is Used?

tablet with nitric acid chemical formula
homeopathic nitric acid in small glass bottle
Homeopathic nitric acid in small glass bottle

Nitric acid is used in many industries, making it

important to understand the health risks involved

with glassware cleaning solutions. Glassware that

is not properly cleaned may become

contaminated and cause damage when

they are reused or recycled into new products. Glass contaminants can be very dangerous for both humans

and animals who ingest them! Nitric acid is often used in the production of fertilizers, plastics and other

chemicals. It can be combined with various components to create new substances, including ammonium

nitrate which is commonly used as a fertilizer for crops like rice and wheat. Nitric acid is also used in the

creation of smoke bombs, fireworks and other explosive devices.

Can Nitric Acid Be Used As A Cleaner?

clean chemical glass in laboratory with bare hand

Yes, nitric acid can be used as a cleaner for

glassware because it is not water soluble.

Glassware must be warmed in hot water to

loosen any grease or dirt before using the nitric

acid solution (the warmer the better). Once that’s

a bottle which contains nitric acid
A bottle which contains nitric acid

done, one drop of nitric acid should do the trick. Glassware should be thoroughly rinsed with water, and

then dried before use. Glassware treated with nitric acid should NOT be used for food preparation, also it

should not should not be allowed to come into contact with skin, or anywhere that food might touch. Nitric

acid glass cleaner has the potential to cause serious chemical burns!

Can Glass Be Cleaned With Nitric Acid?

Cleaning chemical glass in laboratory with water

Yes, glass can be cleaned with nitric acid.

Glassware that is typically used for chemical

reactions or laboratory work should not contain

any impurities such as oil from a fingerprint which

could interfere with the reaction taking place in

an experiment. In other words, if you plan on using your glassware to conduct science experiments at

home, it’s important to make sure it’s clean. Glass with dirt or oils on the surface will contaminate the

experiment and could ruin your work! If you already have a dirty set of glassware, there are several ways

to safely remove any impurities without using nitric acid. Most notably, you can use soap and water

(depending on what type of glassware you have, it might be lab glass or Pyrex).

Is Glass Cleaning With Nitric Acid A Good Idea?

Using nitric acid to clean glassware has its

benefits and drawbacks, including health risks for

those working with it. Glassware can be cleaned

more thoroughly with other chemicals that are

less hazardous to human health and the

Chemical burn warning sign background

environment, which means nitric acid is not as effective. glass cleaner is an example of one chemical

created by nitrating glass. Glass cleaning solutions are traditionally made with hydrochloric or sulfuric acid.

So does cleaning glassware with nitric acid a good idea? It depends on the risks you are willing to take!

Glass contamination can lead to severe burns, so weigh the risks carefully before choosing a cleaner for

your glassware.

Precautions for Glassware Cleaning With Nitric Acid

plastic sleeve protectors for arms prevent chemical corrosion

It is important to use nitric acid glass cleaner safely. Here are a few precautions you should take:

  • Always wear protective clothing, especially goggles and a face mask when using nitric acid as it can cause severe skin irritation or damage if the solution comes into contact with your skin.
  • Glassware must not come into contact with concrete floors, because the nitric acid could eat through to the floor beneath it and damage that surface as well. Glass will need to be thoroughly rinsed after cleaning for this reason. Glass cannot come into contact with any other surfaces.

How To Clean Glassware With Nitric Acid?

cleaning chemical glass in laboratory with glove
Cleaning chemical glass in laboratory with glove

Glassware should be soaked in nitric acid for the

shortest amount of time possible to avoid

damage or corrosion. It should never come into

contact with concrete because it could cause

severe damage, but other surfaces are safe

as long as they are rinsed well afterwards. Glass can also be cleaned outside if there is a source of running

water nearby. Glass should never be cleaned on a kitchen counter or inside, because the acid could corrode

and damage these surfaces. Glass should be soaked in nitric acid for a maximum of three minutes.

Nitric Acid Glass Cleaner Instructions

  • Fill your glassware with enough nitric acid to cover it completely and place it into a well ventilated area or outside. If you cannot do this, make sure there is running water nearby so that the glassware can be rinsed after the three minute soak.
  • Never allow nitric acid to come into contact with any other surfaces. Glass cannot come into contact with concrete floors, because the solution could eat through it and damage that surface as well. Glass should always be soaked in a well ventilated area or outside if there is no running water. Glass should never be cleaned in a kitchen sink or bathtub because the acid could corrode and damage these surfaces. Glass must also not come into contact with any other materials to avoid corrosion, such as metal utensils while cleaning glassware.
  • After three minutes, remove the glass from nitric acid solution and rinse it thoroughly with copious amounts of water to remove all traces of nitric acid cleaner. Glassware should never be rinsed with hot or warm water, because the heat may cause thermal cracking or stress fractures inside the glass.
  • If you are cleaning several pieces at once, soak them not more than five minutes each and rinse them well afterwards before the acid fully dries on the glass.

Glassware Cleaning Do’s & Don’ts

  • Glassware must never come into contact with any other materials or surfaces while cleaning to prevent corrosion, such as metal utensils. Glass should only ever be soaked in nitric acid for a maximum of three minutes and rinsed well afterwards before drying completely.
  • Glassware cannot come into contact with concrete floors, bathtubs or kitchen sinks because the acid could corrode and damage these surfaces. Glass should only ever be cleaned outside if it is well ventilated to avoid releasing fumes into enclosed spaces or rooms where people are present.
  • Glassware cannot come into contact with any other materials while cleaning to prevent corrosion, such as metal utensils. Glassware must always be thoroughly rinsed with copious amounts of water after soaking for a maximum of three minutes before drying completely.
  • Glassware should always be rinsed with copious amounts of water after soaking for a maximum of three minutes before drying completely to avoid damage or corrosion due to contact with other surfaces and materials. 
  • Glassware can also be cleaned outside if there is a source of running water nearby. Glassware should never be rinsed with hot or warm water, because the heat may cause thermal cracking or stress fractures inside the glass.

 

  • Glassware should only ever be cleaned outside if it is well ventilated to avoid releasing fumes into enclosed spaces or rooms where people are present.
  • Glass must always be soaked in nitric acid for a maximum of three minutes and rinsed well afterwards before drying completely. Glassware should never be cleaned on a kitchen counter or inside, because the acid could corrode and damage these surfaces.
  • Glassware must only ever be soaked in nitric acid for a maximum of three minutes to avoid corrosion due to contact with other surfaces and materials.
  • Glassware should never be rinsed with hot or warm water, because the heat may cause thermal cracking or stress fractures inside the glass.

Is Cleaning With Nitric Acid Safe?

safety first nitric acid sign

Yes and no. Glassware that is not properly

cleaned may become contaminated. Glass

contaminants can be very dangerous for both

humans and animals who ingest them! Nitric

acid is very corrosive and can cause severe

illustration of nitric acid experiment
Illustration of Nitric Acid Experiment

chemical burns. Glassware that has been cleaned with nitric acid should be washed thoroughly before

reuse to remove any leftover residue. Remember – if you don’t use it, dispose of it! Nitric acid containers

must also be labeled as such and disposed of properly (never down the sink or toilet!) Glassware that has

been cleaned with nitric acid may not be recyclable and should be stored in an air-tight container until it is

ready to be disposed of.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Glass Cleaners with Nitric Acid

nitric acid in bottle, chemical in the laboratory and industry

Nitric acid has a variety of uses and can be found in many different household cleaners. Glass cleaning

solutions are traditionally made with hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, but what makes nitric acid so attractive

as a cleaner? What are the benefits and disadvantages of using nitric acid?

Nitric Acid Glass Cleaner Advantages

  • Can be used in place of sulfuric or hydrochloric acids to create glassware cleaning solutions.
  • It is less expensive than other chemicals that clean glass. Nitric acid is the cheapest mineral acid available today, making it more cost effective than other cleaners.

What Are Some Of The Hazards Of Nitric Acid?

nitric acid danger chemical in factory
Danger acid isolated vector board sign design

Nitric acid is dangerous to handle and can cause

severe health if it comes into direct contact with

the body. Glassware that has been cleaned with

nitric acid should be washed thoroughly before

reuse to remove any leftover residue because

residues could lead to further contamination.

Remember – if you don’t use it, dispose of it! Here

are some questions that people ask about the

dangers of using nitric acid:

Can Nitric Acid Dissolve Flesh?

Yes, nitric acid can dissolve flesh and has been

known to cause severe burns that may require

medical treatment. Glass cleaners containing

nitric acid should always be handled with gloves

since it causes chemical burns when in contact

danger acid warning vector eps pictogram
Danger acid warning vector eps pictogram

with the skin! Nitric acids are highly corrosive and will corrode many types of metal if left exposed for long

periods of time. Glassware and equipment that has been cleaned with nitric acid should never be left

unattended because the chemicals can cause severe damage to other surfaces too!

Can Nitric Acid cause lung damage?

Yes, nitric acid is one of the most dangerous

chemicals to breathe in because it has an acidic

pH. Nitric acid fumes are very corrosive and can

cause severe damage to your respiratory system

if you inhale them or ingest them. Glassware

cleaned with nitric acids should never be breathed

into!

Health hazard vector warning symbol

Is Nitric Acid Flammable?

Yes, nitric acid is highly flammable and must be

kept away from all sources of ignition. Glass

cleaners containing nitric acid are best used in a

well- ventilated area that has proper ventilation

for fumes or they should never be used indoors at

all!

Flammable, new safety symbol

Is Nitric Acid Radioactive?

No, but it can cause some radioactive

contamination if it is used on some types of

glassware. Glassware that cannot be properly

cleaned with nitric acid due to the presence of a

radioisotope should not be cleaned in this way!

toxic, deadly gas symbol
Toxic, deadly gas Symbol

Is Nitric Acid An Environmental Hazard?

Yes, because nitric acid can cause hazardous

chemical burns and has an acidic pH. Glassware

cleaned with nitric acid should be carefully

washed before reuse because it can cause

chemical burns to the skin. Glass that has been

exposed to any type of strong acidic cleaner must

never be reused without first being properly

decontaminated!

Official environmental hazard sign, symbol

Is Nitric Acid A Corrosive Chemical?

Yes, but it is less corrosive than other acids

because it does not dissolve in water. Glass

cleaners containing nitric acid should never be

exposed to any type of moisture or they will

cause the remaining chemicals to react and

become hazardous too!

Corrosion warning sign

Can Nitric Acid Cause Cancer?

Yes, exposure to strong acidic vapors can cause

lung damage that could lead to cancer. Glass

cleaners containing nitric acid should never be

used indoors and they should always be handled

 

with gloves to avoid skin contact! Glassware that

has been cleaned with any type of strong

chemical cleaner must not be reused without first

being properly decontaminated.

Abstract Image Of cancer cells

Is Nitric Acid Toxic To Humans?

Yes, exposure to high concentrations or long

periods of time can cause severe health effects

and even death. Glassware cleaners containing

nitric acid should always be handled with gloves

to avoid skin contact! Glassware that has been

exposed to any type of strong chemical cleaner

must never be reused without first being properly

decontaminated!

toxic sign
Toxic sign

Can Nitric Acid Kill You?

Yes, exposure to high concentrations or long

periods of time can cause severe health effects

and even death. Glass cleaners containing nitric

acid should always be handled with gloves to

avoid skin contact! Glassware that has been

skull danger vector symbol
Skull danger vector symbol

exposed to any type of strong chemical cleaner must never be reused without first being properly

decontaminated! Nitric acid is toxic and corrosive. It has the ability to destroy living tissue, which makes it

a dangerous chemical for those who work with it. Nitric acid is highly toxic if swallowed, inhaled or

absorbed through the skin. It can cause skin burns and severe eye damage as well as respiratory tract

irritation. Ingestion of nitric acid may result in severe injury to your mouth, throat with vomiting, internal

bleeding and loss of consciousness. Most people who work with nitric acid wear protective gear, such as

breathing masks and goggles. Nitric acid can cause severe damage to the respiratory system if it is inhaled

in high concentrations or over a long period of time. If you are exposed, seek medical treatment

immediately!

Are There Less Risky Ways To Clean Glassware??

Yes, many chemical manufacturing companies

choose to use a less hazardous method of

glassware cleaning. Glass cleaners containing

nitric acid should never be exposed to any type of

moisture or they will cause the remaining 

the chemist is cleaning his utilities
The chemist is cleaning his utilities

chemicals to react and become hazardous too! Glassware that has been exposed to any type of strong

chemical cleaner must never be reused without first being properly decontaminated! Glass cleaners

containing nitric acid should always be handled with gloves to avoid skin contact and they should

never be used indoors. Using a method other than using nitric acid is recommended by many scientists

because it does not dissolve in water. Glass cleaners containing nitric  acid should never be exposed to any

type of moisture or they will cause the remaining chemicals to react and become hazardous too!

What Other Chemicals Can Be Used To Clean Glassware?

There are other chemicals that can be used to clean glassware instead of nitric acid:

  • Sulfuric Acid (H₂SO₄)
  • Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
  • Calcium Hypochlorite (Ca(ClO₃)₂)
  • Hydrochloric Acid (HCl)

Conclusion

In short, You can use nitric acid to clean glassware but you must know what you are really know what you

are doing! Glass cleaners containing nitric acid should never be used indoors and they should always be

handled with gloves to avoid skin contact! Glassware that has been exposed to any type of strong chemical

cleaner must not be reused without first being properly decontaminated.

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