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Equipment Maintenance: What is the best cleaning material to use to clean up the two separate components of the generic 2 part mold making silicone used in jewellery making?

For example, to clean the measuring jugs that are used for Part A and Part B, as opposed to them in their combined form, or cleaning up a spill?

I'm looking in terms of a family of products, rather than an individual branded product.

For example, should I use a degreasing agent such as liquid dish soap, or a scouring agent such as a baking soda based hard surface cleaner. Do alkali or dilute acids perform the best? Would an alcohol based cleaning agent perform well?

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For the 2-part resins I've used, the solution has always been to minimise the need for cleaning. Cured compounds are usually easier to remove (e.g. by peeling) than uncured, with the exception of epoxy.

Obviously you'll be using a container dedicated to craft, and I recommend dedicating one to each class of materials. Then it depends how you have to measure your components.

  • If by weight, weigh one, zero (tare) the scales, weigh the other on top.

  • By volume, with similar volumes, you can do something similar - measure one, calculate the total volume required, and add the other to the container.

  • By volume where one is much less than the other and/or using dedicated measures - measure the large component directly into your mixing jug, and measure the smaller using the appropriate scoop or measuring spoon. Add the smaller to the larger, and wipe with a rag or industrial paper towel.

In general, liquids are best cleaned up just by wiping, and always using the same container for the same chemistry. Powder components can be treated similarly, though the rag should be damp with water.

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  • So, just soap and water? Sep 20, 2023 at 17:08
  • I wouldn't, just wipe (dry).
    – Chris H
    Sep 20, 2023 at 18:39
  • both components are exceedingly sticky. Sep 22, 2023 at 16:09
  • They're also stable, so you don't need to get the containers thoroughly clean. You just need to make sure you don't use them for anything else. But the reason I lead with measuring into the mixing container is that then you don't have to deal with component mess. I'd actually switch to a brand that was measured by weight as it makes things so much easier, or weigh the components of my preferred brand having measured the correct proportions by volume - that allows weighing in the future.
    – Chris H
    Sep 22, 2023 at 18:46
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The best option to dispose of silicone and its chemical components is the local waste system. So first you should wipe the objects (containers and mixing instruments) with paper towels or old newspaper to remove as much silicone as possible. These should be disposed in the usual household waste, not in the recycling system. Just keep in mind that they stick to the waste container.

The waste is usually either burned (where silicone does not release any hazardous chemicals and releases less CO2 than plastics) or stored in landfills (where it takes decades to decompose but doesn't release any hazardous chemicals or micro-plastics).

What residue is left can be washed away with soap and water. Silicone is hydrophobic, so water cannot mix with it, but it's lipophilic, so it can be dissolved with soap or alcohol. All safety data sheets I found (links below) say to wash the silicone components away with soap and water and none of them indicate any environmental hazards. However, I assume you can clog up a drain pipe quite quickly when trying to wash away big globs of uncured silicone.

There are some studies that indicate that some chemicals released from silicone can cause cancer or infertility, so I would avoid releasing silicone components into the environment as much as possible.

I would also advice against any scouring agent because it only scratches the surface of the instruments but does no better than paper towels for the actual cleaning.

Here are some examples of safety data sheets of different 2-part molding silicone products by different manufacturers. (I'm not affiliated with any of them) You can read in all of them that the components are non-toxic and are supposed to be washed away with soap and water.

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