From Dish Soap to Geopolymer to Explosives, Oh My!

It is really a curious thing, sometimes, where you find inspiration and knowledge. In this case, it started with my dishwasher. It had accumulated a lot of “scale” and it just wasn’t cleaning any more. Really, not at all. In some parts. There was a Very Clean strip of dishes on one axis, and dirty ones on each side.

This lead me to discover that the screen in the bottom, a circle about the size of a dinner plate full of tiny holes, was effectively a solid. Oops.

That restricted water flow enough that the “spinning squirters” were not spinning, just squirting weakly in place. Thus the clean stripe.

I started with removal and mechanical debridement. Some bits flaked cleanly, some were tougher. Then I advanced to soaking in a dish tub of vinegar. A gallon or so later and some brushing and flexing and the disk was once again usable. That, then, left inspection of the rest of the machine. Taking about a 1/2 cup of “scale” from the pump sump under the screen, I began to realize that my water (full of Ca and Mg ions) was clearly reacting with the soap to make a lot of scale. Inspection of the dispenser flap was also enlightening. It had become “finicky” about closing and staying closed, then opening on time. The tiny latch was being blocked by scale on the backside of the recess it was supposed to use. The sides of the door were wedging on scale in the recess they were supposed to slide into as well. Below it, in the ‘drop area’ was a thick buildup of scale. OK, lots of vinegar washing…

Skipping way down the line… After 2 days of some scraping, some washing with full strength vinegar, some “running it with vinegar” and a bottle of CLR (that is other organic acids) used per directions: I had pretty much gotten the worst of the scale gone from most of the places where it was an issue.

It was at that point I discovered that there were two kinds of scale. A simple to dissolve, most likely carbonate scale, and a clearer glassier scale that looked like a silicate. Hmmmm… Reading the Cascade bottle ingredients, it includes Sodium Silicate. Waterglass.

But doesn’t waterglass form a solid silicate on heating? Can’t it react with other things, like calcium ions, to form complex silicates over time? Even if very very slowly, it does react in a highly alkaline environment, and dishwasher soap is highly alkaline.

So I’m pondering if my dishwasher has solved the mystery of DIY silicate geopolymer formation… Mix CaO or Ca(2 CO3) with Sodium Silicate and add water. Ancient Egypt had the skill needed to make those things. Burn lime and you get CaO. Use Natron and some lye and some silicate and you can make waterglass. I’d tried to buy a can of waterglass at Home Depot about a year back for just that experiment, but it was special order so I skipped it and moved on to other projects. Yet here in front of me was what looked like an existence proof of making a geopolymer via sodium silicate and alkaline carbonates.

OK, some more chipping and a few more runs of CLR and Vinegar later, including some direct application to the layer of white glossy stone like stuff, and it still is just sitting there. This isn’t any carbonate. But the washer works OK. (It did take a few runs with pauses to tweeze and needle chips out of the upper spinning squirter nozzles to get it all spinning right, but now seems clear end to end in the plumbing.)

Yet the idea of ongoing application of Sodium Silicate seemed like maybe “not a good idea”.

Off To The Store

A trip to the store to inspect bottle and box labels followed. Hmmm… Most have now got Sodium Silicate in them. I see no reason to have it, but there it is. Oh for the days of Phosphate and TSP cleaners that worked great and didn’t gunk up the machine. That was when Cascade had become my standard and I’d not addressed the issue of brands until forced to, now.

The “Finish” brand didn’t have it. It seemed mostly Sodium Carbonate and Sodium PERcarbonte. What is Sodium Percarbonate, I wondered… Didn’t have that in chem class…

Sodium percarbonate is a chemical, an adduct of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide (a perhydrate), with formula 2 Na2CO3 · 3 H2O2. It is a colorless, crystalline, hygroscopic and water-soluble solid.[1] It is used in some eco-friendly cleaning products and as a laboratory source of anhydrous hydrogen peroxide.

“Eco-friendly” eh? Well, as long as it works… Then that “source of hydrogen peroxide” caught my eye. Wait a mo… this stuff is just like a solid solution of fixed molar ratios of sodium carbonate and H2O2. H2O2 is useful with acetone (nail polish remover) to make a fairly unstable but effective explosive, favorite of Islamic Terrorists. Has anyone pondered this? I wonder…

Off To Boom Land

The wiki hints at it, but doesn’t address it directly:


As an oxidizing agent, sodium percarbonate is an ingredient in a number of home and laundry cleaning products, including non-chlorine bleach products such as OxyBoost, OxiClean, Tide laundry detergent, and Vanish. Dissolved in water, it yields a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (which eventually decomposes to water and oxygen) and sodium carbonate (“soda ash”).

2 Na2CO3·3 H2O2 → 2 Na2CO3 + 3 H2O2

Many commercial products mix a percentage of sodium percarbonate with sodium carbonate (washing soda). The average percentage of an “Oxy” product in the supermarket is 65% sodium percarbonate and 35% washing soda. The “ultra boosters” seen on infomercials may contain as much as 80% sodium percarbonate. However, sodium percarbonate is less expensive in its pure form and can be adjusted to any percentage the user desires.

Sodium percarbonate can be used in organic synthesis as a convenient source of anhydrous H2O2, in particular in solvents that cannot dissolve the carbonate but can leach the H2O2 out of it. A method for generating trifluoroperacetic acid in situ for use in Baeyer–Villiger oxidations from sodium percarbonate and trifluoroacetic anhydride has been reported; it provides a convenient and cheap approach to this reagent without the need to obtain highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide.

Well, one quick web search turned up someone who got a $bucket to study this and figured out it works pretty good.

The DHS project has been instrumental in building new relationships with companies, local and federal agencies. We have built a good relationship with MRI Global (Kansas City, MO) and have received approximately $500K for CBRNE research and training workshops.

Gee, and I’d do it just for a guarantee not to be arrested doing the experiments ;-)

Well, that and a nice lab with lots of protective equipment, some distance operated mixing equipment, lots of blast shields, really good ear protection, and maybe a few Grad Students to do the actual work ;-)

F1-A1: Synthetic routes to new and improvised high explosives

Abstract — The project deals with alternative routes for synthesis of triacetonetriperoxide (TATP) without the use of liquid peroxides. The research aims to explore commonly available chemicals which can be used as precursors along with ‘over the counter’ materials which have the ability to produce TATP. One of the most promising chemicals for the synthesis of TATP are percarbonates giving yields higher than with liquid peroxides Commonly available cleaners containing percarbonates were investigated. Full analytical characterization of these materials; x-ray diffraction (XRD), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), mass spectrometry, thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) is being conducted. This effort will be conducted in close collaboration with ALERT partners. We are also closely coordinating with industrial contacts from the United States, Canada (University of Alberta), and Europe (Cambridge University). Transition and accomplishments of previous efforts will also be described. The relevance to the DHS for this work is to readily identify new precursors for the synthesis of illicit explosives.
Since sodium percarbonate is basic and the formation of TATP is acid catalyzed, its use as a peroxide source in the preparation of TATP requires that it first be neutralized and then acidified. Here hydrochloric acid was used. After dissolution, neutralization, and acidification of the sodium percarbonate in aqueous solution, addition of acetone resulted in the precipitation of a fine white powder with energetic properties. NMR spectroscopy confirmed the identity of the species as TATP. Examination of the powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) pattern revealed this material to be a phase pure specimen, by comparison to the PXRD patterns calculated from single-crystal X-ray structures. Figure 1 shows the PXRD patterns from the TATP synthesized. The material synthesized is shown in the top pattern. 1a-b are database structures with 1a being the most stable. It is important to note that there are 6 polymorphs of TATP. Our material matches a less stable form (1b), which is surprising, but is hypothesized to be due to the ionic strength. This might be a useful tool for source attribution of TATP since synthesis protocols appear to determine the polymorph generated.

They do find that with excess of sodium carbonate the reaction does not proceed, so expect to eventually see your “Oxy” cleaners and bleaches made less functional as they get diluted into very eco-friendly non-functional forms… I’d say “rinse and repeat”, but that would be too cheeky… Maybe they will let me have my phosphate cleaners back then.

We have also confirmed that the TATP synthesis works when using Oxy-boost as a commercial oxidant. Oxy-boost is available for discrete purchase online (20 lbs/$60.00). LA’s Totally Awesome Oxygen Based Cleaner and Oxiclean Baby Stain Soaker did not generate TATP, even though these cleaners worked for the organic reaction described in the J. Chem. Ed. Paper, which indicates that the TATP synthesis may require a substantially potent oxidant to work effectively. Figure 2 shows the pictures of the cleaners used. Increasing the ratio of Na2CO3 : Na2CO3 ½ H2O2 renders the synthesis of TATP unsuccessful. Since all the cleaners are not pure sodium percarbonate, rather they are a mixture of with sodium carbonate, we hypothesized that a critical amount of sodium percarbonate was necessary to produce TATP. This was tested by both testing the TATP formation by both synthesis from the commercial cleaners for which the carbonate/percarbonate ratio is reported and also by mixing different ratios of carbonate/percarbonate in the laboratory. The yields of the lab mixed percarbonate:carbonate ratios match those of the neat compounds well. This indicates that TATP synthesis may be mitigated by the use of an adulterant material such as sodium carbonate. See Table 1 for carbonate/percarbonate ratios and corresponding TATP yields.

So if Oxyboost mysteriously disappears from the stores, or suddenly doesn’t work as well, you will know why.

The paper goes on to build the basis for another grant, stating that looking for ways to dissolve out the carbonate while leaving the percarbonate wasn’t explored. I did a bit of looking, and while it would be dangerous (due to the oxidizer in the H2O2 wanting to make rocket fuel with organics) I suspect a very frigid solution of methanol might work. Alternatively, I’d look to do some kind of cold precipitation from water. It would likely take a while, but it looks like there is enough differential solubility in water to work, just keep it cold so the percarbonate doesn’t break down.

I’d speculate some other solvents might also work, but finding a non-flammable non-water solvent might be a bit of work. Even ammonia liquid is flammable. Perhaps some polar group stuck onto a fluorocarbon… (It might be fun to watch for shacks in the desert blowing up as various jihadis run the experiments to find the right solvents and conditions ;-)

At present, it looks like “neat” sodium percarbonate is sold on line for about $24 / 10 lbs. so it will likely “be a while” before concentration as a DIY process is needed.

In Conclusion

So that’s how “being green” supports your local terrorist. It also demonstrates how cleaning the dishwasher can lead to answers about geopolymer formation and even how to make DIY explosives. Just follow the question trail and who knows where any given “Dig Here!” might lead.

I didn’t set out to learn about DIY explosives. I have NO interest in peroxide / acetone based mixes. The things are hideous widow makers and highly unstable. They are not very good weapons materials either. Too wet and they don’t work or squib. Too dry and they detonate “just because they can” and at the most unpleasant times…

Yet an innocent desire to know what I was putting in my dishwasher, and would it gunk the thing up, lead me there. Oh Well. Hope it didn’t put me on a terrorist watch list for being curious about home appliances and knowing too much chemistry…

FWIW, I’m now exploring Boraxo as a scale reducer, still trying to figure out how to remove what is almost certainly a silicate scale remnant, and really wishing I could just use phosphate based cleaners that worked and didn’t have these problems. Oh Well… The dish washer is working again, I’ve re-cleaned all the dishes in the cupboards, and it looks like using a non-silicate cleaner at least isn’t adding any deposits. We’ll see if, over time, the remaining scale reduces under that regimen. IF it ever acts up again, I have a cleaning procedure worked out, and I can explore silicate chemistry more, then, if needed.

I also know to avoid mixing nail polish remover & discarded dishwasher soap in the trash…
Just sayin’…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Human Interest, Science Bits and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to From Dish Soap to Geopolymer to Explosives, Oh My!

  1. Zeke says:

    Chief says, “They do find that with excess of sodium carbonate the reaction does not proceed, so expect to eventually see your “Oxy” cleaners and bleaches made less functional as they get diluted into very eco-friendly non-functional forms… I’d say “rinse and repeat”, but that would be too cheeky… Maybe they will let me have my phosphate cleaners back then.”

    This goes way back. We had our AC fixed and my kids talked with the repairman about the system of circulating fluids and gases which gives us the temperature changes. Their mother pointed out that volcanic activity and the oceans of the world are copious natural sources of chlorine and fluorine, as well as bromine, and they can be safely handled, so there really is no problem with using them for temperature control. The repairman sighed and said that the new systems would have to work under tremendous pressure to get the cool temps and would be much more dangerous and have greater volume. He said that it might be alright for large buildings and big businesses, but it would not be good for home units.

    Now an analogy to illustrate the environmentalists of this generation. I once had a dream that my house was robbed. When I walked in my possessions were gone, but the house was filled with these ugly replacements that I would never want — from couches to pictures to books to the kitchen and windows. It was so ugly; it looked like a very bad hotel room, but it was my house.

    I talked with the thief. He was in a three piece suit and his attitude was that he had stolen nothing because he had replaced it all.

    Ever since then, I have realized that this is the kind of thief we are dealing with. They know every little bit of applied science you use in your home and in this culture, and they are slowly targeting each and every bit of science or chemistry and systematically replacing what is benign, helpful, neutral and inexpensive with what is expensive, genuinely toxic, what is harmful to machines, and which does not work. And as they do it they have the smug attitude that it is good for the planet, and that there was no theft because they replaced it.

    Meanwhile your children and grandchildren know nothing about the science we use in every day life, the enormous natural cycles and occurrences of all of these elements and compounds, and the theft goes on. They even now have low-water use laundry soap that burns your bare skin, and volitized-mercury bulbs required in homes.

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    @ to Zeke; all new manufactured “safe” refrigerants are direct replacements for manufactured “safe” refrigerants that were replacements for natural gases that were once used as early refrigerants. Present R-134A is a direct replacement for R-12 that was a direct replacement for Butane. Butane, Propane, Carbon Dioxide , Sulfur Dioxide, Methyl Chloride, Ammonia, etc. were once in use for refrigeration systems. Only government intervention forced the use of modern manufactured refrigerants. Even today, the present gasses are mandated to be replaced with new formulas as the old ones go out of patent protection…pg

  3. H.R. says:

    Re: Sodium Silicate as an additive. I believe that’s the anti-foaming agent.

  4. Zeke says:

    “Only government intervention forced the use of modern manufactured refrigerants.”

    That government intervention against the CFCs used in refrigerants had a lot of popular support. I would say that the use of these low pressure, low toxicity, low flammability compounds was not depleting the ozone at all, but ozone is constantly created by electrical discharges in the atmosphere, and has a natural variability in the polar regions not related to human activity. Indoor temperature control is at the heart of not only the longevity and value of our homes, but all industrial processes. You cannot even print a book if the temps aren’t controlled.

    What the banning of CFCs did prove is that young people can be weaponized to attack any technology you want. And this has no rational limitations. None.

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    From wiki

    Sodium silicate is a white powder that is readily soluble in water, producing an alkaline solution. It is one of a number of related compounds which include sodium orthosilicate (Na4SiO4), sodium pyrosilicate (Na6Si2O7), and others. All are glassy, colourless, and soluble in water.

    Sodium silicate is stable in neutral and alkaline solutions. In acidic solutions, the silicate ion reacts with hydrogen ions to form silicic acid, which when heated and roasted forms silica gel, a hard, glassy substance.

    Perhaps your build up is actually silica gel?

    If it is apparently is is only soluable in high concentration sodium or potassium hydroxide

    Xabier Vázquez Campos · UNSW Sydney
    Silica is mainly soluble under three conditions: highly alkaline such NaOH or KOH; in presence of free fluoride ions; or by complexation with molybdate ions. In any case, conditions are pretty extreme for all of them.
    Colloidal silica might be obtained by removing Na from sodium silicate solutions by ionic exchange, but I never dug up deep in that so I cannot give you more indications about.

    Can anyone suggest a technique to dissolve silica gel and re-solidify it with some biosorbent particles trapped inside?. Available from: [accessed Jun 28, 2017].

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    It has been a long while since I formulated cleaners but we used silicate to prevent attack on zinc and aluminium in medium alkaline cleaners. Borates work as well below approx. pH 9 but don’t put the wash water onto your vegetable garden.
    You are right that phosphates, made/make the best alkaline cleaner bases. One of the best cleaners we had was based on tetra potassium pyrophosphate and borate. A bit expensive so no-one save the army would buy it so we had to keep it on the range. They used it to soak clean rifle barrels before retreatment until the bath was nearly solid with grease etc. Strange because it was supposedly a spray cleaner.

    For scale removal can you find disodium EDTA? Neutral solution and good complexing power. We preferred sodium gluconate in powder cleaners because it was cheaper (and also than sodium citrate), easier to dissolve and we used it anyway. Gluconate in sodium hydroxide solution makes a slow deruster for steel because it is a very good complexing agent in strongly alkaline solutions.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    When R-12 was first banned, I used a “drop in replacement” that was something like 19 % propane and the rest iso-butane. Works really really well. Isobutane from camping fuel cans and special vampire tap to get it out. For the Propane, I took a torch head and cut the nozzle center post opening a bit wider so liquid could get in / out, then fitted a hose to the other side. I’d re-fill it from a bulk tank, then put “the right amount” in with the iso-butane.

    Did that for about a decade until I finally bothered to get my first car converted to 134-A. Now I have a 134 A kit too. And, right on schedule, California mucks things up…

    Some nutbar decided they could enhance “saving the planet” by recovering all that gas that wasn’t put into the car once it registered “full” and was instead vented or leaked out of the can in storage. So “we” get a special self sealing valve on the can and special hoses (or buy a special adapter). Now you buy a can of R-134a and pay a $10 deposit, that you can ONLY collect if the can is returned, with receipt, inside some time like 60 days or a few months. Whatever… Now NOT being willing to drive back and forth to the store an extra time, burning a $1 or two of gas, I just put it in the car in the parking lot. As usual, I put the whole can in, and return an empty can.

    Though, just out of spite, if I ever have any left in the can, I’m venting that sucker before I turn it in. Let it add to the “zero wasted our time” column of their management report…

    I’m now tempted to go back to just using iso-butane / propane mix. I still have all the kit and it is about $1 a can instead of $9 or so. Oh Well…

    I’m not interested in a car with a 2000 psi air conditioner destroying compressors every year or two….

    Per Scale:

    Thanks for the ideas. I’m presently using the percarbonate based Finish brand and it is doing nicely on the dishes. Less deposits on the glasses at end of the wash too. I suspect that over time it will erode whatever the silicate deposits are. I’m also putting a Boraxo dose in the pre-wash cycle. That cleans nicely and it seemed to help dissolve some of the “chips” of silicate stuff I was fighting in the spinning bar orifices. If that doesn’t clear it up in a few months, then I’ll think about resorting to other options. (Nice to know TSP is still around in industrial packaging… I don’t really want to be making my own dish soap, but I’m willing to do it (and able) if that becomes necessary.)

    Per Ozone:

    I did a long series of Ozone postings (search on Ozone in the search box to the right). My conclusion matched yours. The “spots” of ozone depletion at the poles match the landing zones of Birkeland Currents (sp?) at the poles. Not at all related to a “well distributed gas”. Solar cycles and solar wind drive it. At the equator and in the temperate zones, nothing much at all happens. CFCs do nothing to ozone. It was the trial run fraud that did the set-up for CO2. Making $Billions off of that is why they fight so hard for the CO2 fraud. They smell $Hundreds of Billions to $Trillions.

  8. Zeke says:

    NIce article on the ozone “hole” EM. It hit the mark.

    First, the ozone levels vary quite a bit from day to day. It is actually hard to find the data on the daily variations of ozone so I was glad those were included. All you get are the monthly snapshots and you know that those just reflect someone’s idea of an average, or are picked to construe a sob narrative. But the daily ozone tells a story. It is astonishing what it does over the period of a month.

    As you said in your article, it is not a coincidence that ozone and the Auroras are in sync together, and with equinox and solstice. Ozone is generated by electrical inputs at the poles, almost certainly. And no one wants to know about Birkeland Currents at the poles so there you go, old myths and bans on CFCs remain intact.

    It is just the way that people are told that this that and the other thing are a pollutant. And for the most part these compounds are ubiquitous in nature and have enormous unquantifiable natural cycles. But there is an endless stream of youth who come out of university and are programmed, and you wake up one morning and they have outlawed phosphates and bromine compounds, and are even going after Soap. Wasted youth, destruction of useful, applied sciences in a culture that is based on applied science.

  9. John F. Hultquist says:

    About 1962 or ’63, our chemistry instructor explained the need to follow directions.
    The prior semester someone did not, and placed uncleaned equipment in a drawer under a lab table. The next person that opened the drawer did not see what he was looking for. He slammed the drawer a bit hard, as he moved on. Those old lab tables had heavy slate tops, so the explosion only managed to blow the door out into the room, but caused no other damage.
    Memory did not store the names of the chemicals, but I’ll guess they were the ones you write about.

  10. cdquarles says:

    @Zeje Not so much electrical directly, but indirectly. Anyway, *every* chemical is and is not toxic. Dose and route make the medicine and dose and route make the poison. Why? Desired chemical reactions are those that can be poisoned, either by direct competition or altering necessary chemical states. Altering may be temporary (as in competitive inhibition) or permanent (conditionally).

  11. Zeke says:

    cdquarles says: “Not so much electrical directly, but indirectly.”

    Auroras may not be an electric arc, but they are close enough. Here is what I think the source of ozone is:

    Electrical breakdown: “Electrical breakdown or dielectric breakdown is when current flows through an electrical insulator when the voltage applied across it exceeds the breakdown voltage. This results in the insulator becoming electrically conductive. Electrical breakdown may be a momentary event (as in an electrostatic discharge), or may lead to a continuous arc if protective devices fail to interrupt the current in a power circuit.”

    The smell of ozone: “Partial discharge in air causes the “fresh air” smell of ozone during thunderstorms or around high-voltage equipment. Although air is normally an excellent insulator, when stressed by a sufficiently high voltage (an electric field strength of about 3 x 106 V/m or 3 kV/mm[1]), air can begin to break down, becoming partially conductive.”

    Also, did every one else already know this?
    “Corona discharge ozone generators have been used for more than 30 years in the water purification process. Ozone is a toxic gas, even more potent than chlorine. In a typical drinking water treatment plant, the ozone gas is dissolved into the filtered water to kill bacteria and destroy viruses. Ozone also removes the bad odours and taste from the water. The main advantage of ozone is that any residual overdose decomposes to gaseous oxygen well before the water reaches the consumer. This is in contrast with chlorine gas or chlorine salts, which stay in the water longer and can be tasted by the consumer.” Electrical Breakdown entry, wikipedia

    I had no clue. Thank you wiki and cdquarles! (:

  12. cdquarles says:

    And this is because of ionization or dipole moments or both. In the case of ozone, UV dissociates oxygen and puts oxygen or other bodies or both into states of higher internal energy (not necessarily kinetic energy initially). Auroras are, as I understand them, due to high speed ions impacting the slower moving air that is itself moving at fairly high speeds (the order of 1 km per second at standard temperatures and pressures) along magnetic field lines.

  13. Zeke says:


    Sorry about the first aurora picture. I did not notice that it had probably been filtered. Here is a better picture, showing one of the natural colors of the northern lights.

  14. PaulID says:

    Check this out I already make my own laundry detergent using one of their recipes this might be just up your ally.

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    Thanks! I love all things DIY!

    The “Finish” brand is working nicely, so far, and seems to be very slowly reducing the residual deposits. Cost is a bit high, but OK. So I intend to use it until I have time to play more with DIY.

    One formula was equal parts washing soda (sodium carbonate) and Boraxo. I have those in stock, so I will try some in a day or three… While I’d like to try some DIY sodium percarbonate mixes, I’m pretty sure ordering up a few pounds, especially given my search history and the article, would not be “wise” :-) So that will be factory products OTC at the grocer…

    @Another Ian:

    Ah, fond memories of when farmers could buy dynamite at the hardware store and DIY black powder was a fun and legal hobby… blasting stumps fun “work”…

    Unfortunately, now, most materials are either illegal or get you on tracking lists. Applied Chemistry is now a crime. So I don’t do anything interesting anymore. About 10? Years ago stoped in The Science Shop and was informed that buying labware required identification and a police report. Yeah, pyrex is criminal suspect flag… Don’t know if it was just a California thing or not. Then the spouse has to show ID and register to get decongestants. Some questioning revealed it can be made into methamphetamine, so now a criminal flag. So being a chemist with sinus problems would pretty much mark me as a Drug Factory in their eyes. Add in DIY dishsoap and gun owner and I’m sure someone would put me on some terrorist investigation list…

    So I’m mostly just playing with geopolymers and scale removal as outlets for my years of chemistry classes… First they mandate you learn it, then they mandate you don’t use it. What a system…

  16. poitsplace says:

    Interesting side note, I’ve seen TSP marketed as a green, “biodegradable” cleaner in janitorial supply places before. It’s strange how such things go in and out of fashion. And nice article. I hadn’t thought of the idea of people using the peroxyhydrates as starting material for explosives. We used to actually make that explosive in college…in small amounts you can light it in your hand and it just makes a fireball. Once you start dealing with teaspoon sized quantities though, the burn rate accelerates until some of it detonates. It’s horribly unstable too.

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    You can buy home water ozonators. My neighbors had one on the kitchen counter… water purifier

    Fun gizmos…

  18. Graeme No.3 says:

    Your details are noted in Australia if you buy laboratory equipment. All I wanted were some plastic measuring cylinders so retailer thought it a joke.

  19. p.g.sharrow says:

    From time to time you must clean and repair your tools, even a dishwasher! Lol
    Our deepwell water tastes wonderful but the minerals responsible really build up. Cleaning up the deposits is just another chore…pg

  20. Zeke says:

    Em says “You can buy home water ozonators.”

    I just talked every one into an air ozone-inator.

    Thanks for the link chief.

  21. Pingback: When do you “talk truth to stupid”? Really… | Musings from the Chiefio

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