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Old 06-18-2010, 02:04 AM   #1
ubermick
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Default (Home made) PBW - safe for glass? (Safe in general?)

So having run out of PBW, I encountered several interesting threads about the stuff. Five Star themselves say that PBW is basically 70% percarbonate (aka Oxyclean) and 30% sodium metasilicate, which (supposedly) counteracts hard water, which causes the haze a lot of folks see when using straight Oxy.

The sodium metasilicate source of choice seemed to be Red Devil TSP/90. I swung by my local Ace, and there it was on the shelf. $4.59 for a 1lb bag. This basically gives me a 4lb tub of "PBW" for that price, since there's always a Costco box of Oxy at home. Hooray!

Anyways, I get home, mix them up, and get them put away. But as I'm cleaning up, I notice the back of the Red Devil bag - in big, red, all caps, bold lettering:

AVOID ALL CONTACT WITH WINDOWS, MIRRORS, AND OTHER GLASS SURFACES.

Wha wha whaaa? I've used PBW on my carboys without issue before! I went to Red Devil's site, and got the MSDS sheet for TSP/90, and sure enough, it's 100% sodium metasilicate.

Has anyone used this mixture before? If so, any problems with it? Considering I only invested less than $5 in this, I have no problem ditching it if it's going to damage my equipment!

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:08 AM   #2
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I use that mixture all the time. In addition to the brewery, I keep some in the kitchen for cleaning baked on food in baking dishes and the crock pot. My wife calls it "Magic Powder."

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:11 AM   #3
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Gonna follow along and see if the early testers have all their fingers in a few weeks.

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:54 AM   #4
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So is this a known way to emulate PBW. I have never heard of this.....

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Old 06-18-2010, 03:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Scut_Monkey View Post
So is this a known way to emulate PBW. I have never heard of this.....
It *seems* to be a known way of emulating it. God knows I found enough threads on the subject, when I was Googling around (I was looking for a 55lb tub of PBW, just to see how much it was, and saw a thread where someone was decrying PBW as a waste of money, which led to further investigating.)

http://forum.northernbrewer.com/view...hp?f=1&t=59313
http://www.beertools.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7215
http://www.brewboard.com/index.php?showtopic=80109

These are just a couple of the threads I snagged from my history - there's plenty more. Lots of testimonials on how folks have contacted Five Star, got the "recipe" from them, and made their own. Some change the ratio - 50/50, or one part TSP/90 to two parts Oxy - but plenty of folks seem to be using it.

But my tub o' PBW sure as hell doesn't have a big "DO NOT USE ON GLASS!" warning on it.

That said, that warning is on a package of 100% sodium metasilicate, not a diluted down version. I mean, if Five Star are saying "Yes, PBW is 70/30 sodium percarbonate/sodium metasilicate" then surely the homemade version using those exact ingredients should be the same?

Maybe I'll just sacrifice one of my old pint glasses - put some of the homemade stuff in there, let it sit overnight, and see what happens.
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Old 06-19-2010, 01:59 PM   #6
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Maybe I'll just sacrifice one of my old pint glasses - put some of the homemade stuff in there, let it sit overnight, and see what happens.
Very cool. I think the pint idea would be a good test. Let us know if you do it. I'm interested to potentially make some of this.
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:06 PM   #7
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I've been experimenting with this mixture for a little while now. I started with 60% oxi / 40% RedDevil (which I think is about the ratio of the Austin Homebrew cleaner). then 65% / 35%, and now 70% / 30%.

I'd have to say the 70% / 30% is best so far. They all have seemed to clean great and not have any problems, but the earlier versions we're definitely harder on the skin.

I've had carboys soaking in these solutions overnight as well as using a pump based carboy/keg cleaner on it without any problems.

I wonder if the problem with glass is at a higher concentration of the RedDevil

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Old 06-19-2010, 03:28 PM   #8
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Maybe I'll just sacrifice one of my old pint glasses - put some of the homemade stuff in there, let it sit overnight, and see what happens.
Do it as hot as you can as this is where the sodium metasilicate can casue problems with glass.
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:41 AM   #9
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Well, I filled a pint glass with hot water from the tap. Let it run for a while, getting as hot as it can get, and then added about a quarter of the volume from the hot water dispenser. Dropped a thermometer in there, and it was 155. Tossed in a tablespoon of the home made PBW, stirred it in, let it sit.

Next morning, no ill effects to the glass, at least none that I saw. Not all of the cleaner had dissolved, and some of the crystals were stuck to the side of the glass, but they rinsed off without an issue.

I'm gonna try another round with a mason jar, and near boiling water, see what's what.

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Old 06-20-2010, 01:52 PM   #10
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Sounds like I need a box of Red Devil TSP to go with my costco box of oxyclean.
TSP used to be "tri sodium phosphate".

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