Interesting uses for Aliquat® 336 PTC – cleaning glassware

Many chemists may know about Aliquat® 336 phase transfer catalyst as a fantastic reagent for many organic (and inorganic) reactions – but most would be unaware that it makes an incredible glass cleaner. Although we have a very powerful laboratory dishwasher, some organic residues are nearly impossible to remove from flasks and other glassware – in a moment of extreme frustration at the charred, immovable garbage in a few flasks, I decided to use some Aliquat® 336 as a bit of a joke but it actually worked well. Approximately 1 mL of the PTC in 100 mL 5M NaOH with a little ethanol and the flasks are almost brand new after 15 minutes. Acetone, toluene, ethanol, base bath and the dishwasher had all failed to remove the residue: