Can an old nitric acid bottle be cleaned and made safe for home brewing?!

Question: Can an old nitric acid bottle be cleaned and made safe for home brewing?
Got some old 5 gallon glass carboys from military sale that held nitric acid. Is there a process to properly clean and test them for homebrewing use?


Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

Nothing sticks to glass.
Soak it well in plain water (overnight), rinse, refill with water add a box of soda and soak overnight, rinse, pour in a gallon of bleach and fill with water, soak overnight, rinse well a couple more times and allow to air dry, allow to stand, dry, at room temp (inside) for at least 24 hours and it will be ready for the brewing process, don't forget to iodine wash as with the standard procedure.

~The Fat Man

First of all I'll assume that the carboys are visibly clean, gunk free, etc. If not, I'd first clean them thoroughly to the point where they look like new using oxy-clean or preferably PBW.

To me, the next question is whether A) there is any residual acid in the carboy and B) whether it's possible for the acid to have etched the interior surface of the carboy in a way that would create places for bacteria and other opportunistic micro-organism to reside.

To deal with the issue of residual acid, I'd rinse the carboy with clean tap water a couple of times. I'd fill the carboy again and test a sample of the liquid with a pH strip. Compare the result to a pH test of your tap water.

Etching may be more difficult to gauge. Try visually inspecting with a flash light. Or perhaps try filling with a dark iodine solution and see if the glass remains tinted even after rinsing a few times.

Another concern might by weakening of the glass from the acid. Use a brew-hauler or similar safety precautions to minimize injury should a carboy shatter while handling. If you haven't already do some research on nitric acids effects on glass.

I certainly hope so. I've been using an old acid bottle as a secondary fermenter for years. Just wash it well (TSP, not detergent) and rinse the heck out of it.

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