Cleaning Quartz Cuvettes

Dr E. Buxbaum EB15 at
Fri Aug 23 09:44:40 EST 1996

billing at wrote:
>Does anyone know what I can soak the cuvettes in that will a) clean them and b) not damage >them. How about acetone?

Aceton (or other solvents) will work for greasy residues, but because of its volatility will 
usually leave a film. Cleaning glassware is of course easiest, if you know what the offending 
material is. In the absence of such information, you can try to oxidise the material with conc. 
nitric acid or chromium sulfuric acid (a mixture of potassium dichromate in conc. sulfuric 
acid). The latter is particularily effective, but you have to be VERY carefull with it 
(remeber, your skin can be oxidized too). 

Quarz glass is chemically fairly inert. Hydrofluoric acid will attack it, as will prolonged 
exposure to alkali, especially if hot. Check wether the optical surfaces have any scratches 
before you put too much effort in cleaning them.

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