Quantcast

Bland(-ish) chemicals - retail supplier?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Eric The Viking

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
6,535
Reaction score
20
Location
Bristle, CUBA (the County that Used to Be Avon)
I've just used the last of my hoarded IPA (isopropyl alcohol) to clean the eyepieces of my wife's binoculars. She doesn't deserve it as she _never_ puts the caps on, nor uses the pouch they came with. They are nice bins, expensive and carefully chosen and it's infuriating to see them unnecessarily covered in large freshwater fish*... do I sound annoyed?

Sorry. To get back to the topic, I now need some IPA, but the chemist, where I used to buy it over the counter, cannot supply. Does anybody have any suggestions as to somewhere retail I can buy it? I am rather leery of mail-order, because of the fact it's a volatile liquid, and there are many ways in which it might cause problems in transit, also meaning it will never arrive.

I'm probably being too cautious, but hey. It's not the sort of thing a builders' merchant will carry, and I'm at a bit of a loss - anybody got any clever ideas (or a bomb-proof on-line or postal supplier?

TIA, E.

*C A R P. (rearrange to taste).
 

samhay

Established Member
Joined
10 Aug 2017
Messages
242
Reaction score
6
Location
Peak District
Are you wed to IPA? Alterntives like acetone and ethyl acetate (both used as nail varnish remover) should work similarly and are usually available from the chemist. Would spot check them on any plastic components to make sure it is compatible though.

Edit - ignore this, particularly for acetone. Too many non-glass parts for this to be a good idea.
 

lurker

Le dullard de la commune
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
5,397
Reaction score
45
Location
Leicestershire
samhay":qwtvm06i said:
Are you wed to IPA? Alterntives like acetone and ethyl acetate (both used as nail varnish remover) should work similarly and are usually available from the chemist. Would spot check them on any plastic components to make sure it is compatible though.
This is a seriously bad idea anywhere near expensive optics.

Do you know any nurses? The wipe they use before jabs is IPA.
 

Phil Pascoe

occasional purveyor of blunt tools.
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
18,994
Reaction score
210
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
flying haggis":1xol8f7g said:
Eric and Phil and others

hexeal sell direct. and with free postage on some stuff ie 5x1L IPA

https://hexchemonline.co.uk/


last lot I got from them for £4/L (they are near me and I collected :wink: )
Yes, they're slightly cheaper direct. I get 5Lts at a time and pass a few on. For all you cooks the Himalayan salt is cheap when you buy 10kg at time - share it!
edit - sorry, yes. I looked at the price per litre.
 

Rorschach

Agent Provocateur
Joined
6 Jan 2016
Messages
3,612
Reaction score
60
Location
Devon
I buy mine on ebay or amazon, 5 litres of 99.9% from whoever is cheapest.
 

samhay

Established Member
Joined
10 Aug 2017
Messages
242
Reaction score
6
Location
Peak District
lurker":3vpb9b5f said:
samhay":3vpb9b5f said:
Are you wed to IPA? Alterntives like acetone and ethyl acetate (both used as nail varnish remover) should work similarly and are usually available from the chemist. Would spot check them on any plastic components to make sure it is compatible though.
This is a seriously bad idea anywhere near expensive optics.

Do you know any nurses? The wipe they use before jabs is IPA.
Fair point. Acetone and ethyl acetate are not going to dissolve glass, but they could cause problems with some plastics (I did mention that), and possibly those with coatings. We use acetone to clean some optics in the lab, but they are not housed in camera assemblies.
I've added an edit to my post to note this is still a bad idea though.

Yes, IPA is less toxic than acetone and ethyl acetate, but i don't see how cleaning a lense is similar to getting the flu jab. Unless I'm doing something wrong.
 

julianf

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2017
Messages
319
Reaction score
0
Location
devon
I buy all sorts of alcohols and other solvents, somtimes in >1000 ltr quantities.

Isopropyl I probably only ever buy 25 ltrs or so at a time. Certainly no more than 50. I just go on eBay for it.

I bought 20 ltrs of dichloromethane a while back. That's nasty stuff too. Incredibly volitile, links with cancer, banned in consumer goods, will happily pass through most types of gloves.

Where did I get it? eBay. No questions asked....
 

Eric The Viking

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
6,535
Reaction score
20
Location
Bristle, CUBA (the County that Used to Be Avon)
Thanks everyone.

I don't need huge quantities - only really for cleaning optics and electronics of various types.

The advantage of IPA is that it doesn't attack other organics as readily as say ethanol (i.e. Meths). So I can safely do lenses in binoculars without upsetting the "rubber" skin of them, or camera lenses, now commonly mounted in something like polycarbonate (I don't think it's even glass-filled!).

And yes, some solvents do attack lens coatings, or nitrile gloves, or (famously), the glue/lacquer holding tape heads and transformer laminations together.

But even that is a moving target in that there are different issues with spectacle lenses, now they are often made of plastic rather than glass. I have had several pairs where the coatings have gone wrinkly, after cleaning with hand-warm water and mild detergent - this is both infuriating and expensive. I suspect someone sold the manufacturers on a water-based "green" coating process of some sort and thus they are no longer stable. I was annoyed to discover spectacle makers only guarantee the coatings for two years nowadays.
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
11,789
Reaction score
173
Location
Bristol
Related question to the well informed - how different, chemically and practically, is easily available Surgical Spirit? Is it the same stuff, but with more water in it? I've used it for similar purposes, though not so much now that I don't need to clean oxide off tape recorder heads.

I don't think we covered this sort of thing in O-level chemistry, which was far too long ago to be useful any more.
 

Rorschach

Agent Provocateur
Joined
6 Jan 2016
Messages
3,612
Reaction score
60
Location
Devon
Surgical spirit usually contains castor oil so not great for cleaning things like lenses as it leaves a greasy film.
 

Eric The Viking

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
6,535
Reaction score
20
Location
Bristle, CUBA (the County that Used to Be Avon)
Yup, surgical spirit on anything optical is a disaster, because of the oil in it. It's made that way because otherwise it would dry skin out too much.

I wouldn't suggest IPA is completely safe with optics (there's bound to be something it will damage), but it seems to be the least agressive, whilst at the same time lifting grease and muck.
 

Sideways

Established Member
Joined
26 Dec 2017
Messages
947
Reaction score
16
Location
United Kingdom
Same here as Rorschach:
99.9% isopropyl alcohol in a 5 litre plastic can is cheap and easily available on ebay. It's a useful cleaner / degreaser for delicate jobs.
Dilute 70% alcohol 30% water to make rubbing alcohol for general cleaning .
Remember that they used IPA as an animal anaesthetic back in the day before changing due to side effects. It's not entirely good for you so use in a ventilated space.
I now use 70-30 on my spectacles and save the fancy zeiss lens wipes for the camera lenses.
Incidentally, zeiss alcohol wipes are also fairly cheap on ebay provided you buy a box of 200 double sachets or more. Enough for a few years use :)
 

AES

Established Member
Joined
18 Feb 2011
Messages
4,292
Reaction score
89
Location
Switzerland, near Basel
In our local optician you can get a small hand-pump bottle of glasses lens cleaning fluid -I think its 100 ml. It's said to be a new product" (late last year) from Zeiss Optics and together with one of those lint-free cleaning cloths it costs 1.00 Franc (Swiss) - that's about £0.85.

I would have thought that it's bound to be in UK opticians too. (BTW, though it doesn't say what's in it on the label, the whole bottle/nozzle/pipe assembly is some sort of plastic - as are glasses frames quite often - so I very much doubt it's got anything aggressive like acetone that would damage your wife's bins in it).

May help?
 
Top