Cleaning Chocolate Molds

Susan Van Horn
@susan-van-horn
04/05/12 03:50:16PM
32 posts

Brad, you are referring to Red Lightening that Clay mentioned in your most recent post of approx. 14 hours ago?

Mike3
@mike3
04/06/12 12:48:39AM
63 posts

I picked up some deep fryer cleaner (sodium hydroxide-based) today from smart and final and used it at 1 cup per 1 gallon water and it worked great. it doesn't list concentration of NaOH. its not the cheapest stuff at $10/gallon but its worth the $1 in cleaning materials to not have to cotton ball all of my molds.

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
04/19/12 04:12:09AM
143 posts

Hi All,

we finally got our supply of Sodium Hydoxide, 25 l drum with a dil. of 40%

We tried a cup in about 40 lit of warm water and i must say it went so quick! my employees loved it! in few minutes we washed everything.

The rinsing part was a bit of issue: the molds after 2 rinse still have a slippery feel, not the "squicky" one as i was expecting.

@Brad and any one else: do i need to rinse them more or reduce the amount of Sodium or is just normal?

thanks in advance!

William Sarris
@william-sarris
04/22/12 11:48:44AM
2 posts
Bloom can form on molded chocolates if the the molds were previously used with compound coating or white chocolate and then used with real chocolate. The fats are not compatible and will react to form bloom.

As far as cleaning, hot water and Dawn Dish Washing Liquid works the best. Dawn cuts the oil in the chocolate. Just completely dry and you are ready to go. if you want to disinfect after washing, use 1 capful of Clorox Bleach to a gallon of water and dip the mold before drying with lint free towels.

Don't use a hair dryer, it can warp the molds if the are plastic.
antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
04/22/12 12:02:08PM
143 posts

Hi William,

i think that all of us have have started or still use dish washing and hot water. The point was to find something that clean/degrease and no need to polish product.

If you have to deal with ca 200+ molds to clean, the scrubbing and the polishing (cotton wool i hate you!) is not real fun.

I have tried the Sodium Hydroxide and you should have seen the excitement on my employee's face seeing that with almost no work the mold where clean! After a quick rinse (i think we put too much SO in it.) the drying happened overnight and finished off with with a air-gun ( air compressor).

No Bloom, no marks on the chocolate. Now when i ask to have the molds clean, no ones run away!

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
04/23/12 01:47:17AM
527 posts

Antonino;

Glad I could be of help!

Cheers

Brad

Rochelle
@rochelle
04/23/12 03:28:13AM
19 posts

Glade I read this thread as I have some new molds to look after and will trySodium Hydroxide as well.

I take it is the same stuff you would clean the heads of a coffee machine with and sock your plates to make them look white again.

I would wear gloves when using sodium hydroxide and rinse very well.

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
04/23/12 03:52:03AM
143 posts

@Brad,

just a question: once dry do the molds feel "squeky?"

and is anyone that knows what could be the risk/effect if the S.O. is not rinsed properly?

Rochelle, just make sure that you buy the right product, it comes in 2 format: liquid in a dilution of 40% or pure in crystal form.

Do not confuse with ammonium hydroxide or bleach or anything else cause it could be harmful. We,all, are still Chocolatiers and not chemical engineers, so please do your research!

As soon as my friend (chemical engineer) is back in town, i will discuss with her what really is S.H. and the risk/benefit. I think that is good if we post some words from a Chemical Engineer....

Rochelle
@rochelle
04/23/12 04:55:10AM
19 posts

Chemical Resistance - Polycarbonate

http://www.fiboxusa.com/pdf/ChemResV707.pdf

so what they are saying S/O is ok at 20% on polycarbonate

if you use too much you could release bisphenol A

http://www.classle.net/node/24741

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
04/23/12 05:04:34AM
143 posts

Great Rochelle,

so if we put a cup (200ml) 40% S.H (sodium hydroxide) in about 40 liter of water we have a solution of a pretty safe cleaning product?

Rochelle
@rochelle
04/23/12 05:15:11AM
19 posts

I hope so Antonino, I have not tried it but it sounds right and works for you and others... plus you are only using 1/2 of the % they are saying to use.

By the way my molds are new never been used and they are squeaky :P

William Sarris
@william-sarris
04/23/12 07:04:29AM
2 posts
Just a quick note of caution, Sodium Hydroxide is used in rat poison and is very dangerous if not used properly. It will definately work for cleaning your molds.
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
04/23/12 05:04:28PM
527 posts

The sodium hydroxide solution we use comes already bottled and somewhat diluted. I purchase ours from a commercial food service company, and the bottle states that it's safe for use in food establishments on food equipment for degreasing purposes.

Also, yes, the molds will be "squeaky" clean once washed. You will also find that it makes the water slippery, and the molds hard to hold on to when cleaning.

We have been using it for 3 years now, are regularly inspected by the Canada Food Inspection Agency, AND our local Health Inspectors, and all is just fine.

Cheers

Brad.

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
04/27/12 03:03:53PM
143 posts

Thank Brad,

we buy it directly from a Chemical Company, and we are still trying to figure out how much

S.H. per liter of water.

we started with about 100 ml for ca 25 liter of water , and it works as quick degreaser but the molds have a thin layer of fat still on.

next we are going to try with 250ml and see what happen...

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
05/01/12 05:33:34PM
143 posts

Hi All, an update:

my friend (chemical engineer) says that 1 cup per 40 lit (S.H diluited at 40%) is safe (-ish) , just to be careful if in a concentrated form.

As for any "Hydroxide" chemical, there is risks of skin burn.

So if you get in contact with S.H., rinse your skin with running cold water for a good 5-10 min.

if it still burn after 1 hour or longer, just seek medical attention for precautions.

Take care!

Antonino

Domantas Uzpalis
@domantas-uzpalis
08/01/12 03:25:19PM
7 posts

is somebody using a dishwasher for mold cleaning? it might be a great time saver if possible.


updated by @domantas-uzpalis: 01/19/15 02:27:29AM
Anne Bennett
@anne-bennett
08/02/12 04:11:27PM
10 posts

Every comment seems to be about cleaning the molds. Could it be that the molds were too cool? I know that's why chocolate sometimes sticks. I was told that molds are supposed to be 80 degrees. I use my warming oven. I also have a surface temp thermometer that is really helpful.

corinne mendelson
@corinne-mendelson
08/17/12 06:45:45AM
20 posts

do you mean the products one uses to clean grease and fats from ovens ? it is apretty strong stuff and i am a little puzzled if it is this stuff are you sure it doesn't shorten the moulds' life i am afraid to use it and then to see that something happens to all the moulds!

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
08/24/12 10:21:33PM
527 posts

We've been using it weekly on the same polycarbonate molds for 4 years. If it hasn't broken down the mold by now, it never will.


updated by @brad-churchill: 09/08/15 04:08:04AM
Stefano Zullian
@stefano-zullian
08/27/12 12:47:49PM
1 posts

Thank you very much for all the information that has been shared. Would anyone please share supliers or brands used.
Thank you

Stefano

Choc Man
@choc-man
10/12/12 12:30:13AM
2 posts

All of my molds are polycarbonate. I spray them with lukewarm water until I can see no chocolate remnants. Then I fill the sink with lukewarm water and a little Palmolive and I splash each mold around in the water for a few seconds -- no washcloth or anything else. Then I rinse the molds with reverse osmosis water, rap them on the counter a couple of times, and let them air dry on towels. I have perfectly clean molds with zero water spots. Chocolates release beautifully and I never see any chocolate residue in the cavities themselves. They seem to be slowly but surely building a microscopic CB presence. I also wipe the molds and cavities with a shammy before each use. I've noticed no ill effects at all. But after reading through this thread I worry...

Am I woefully ignorant of something here?

Daniela Vasquez
@daniela-vasquez
10/12/12 05:15:48PM
58 posts

You can slightly heat the mold before filling so there aren't any temperature shocks in the chocolate, also gives the chocolate a nice shine (even when it's not polished)

Choc Man
@choc-man
10/13/12 07:25:15AM
2 posts

True this!

I have two halogens in a stove hood. I used to place molds beneath the lights and they would warm. But I noticed that some warmed more or better than others. So now I lay a sheet of Al foil under up to six molds and the halogen lights warm them all very evenly. And, yes, the chocolates have a FANTASTIC shine to them. I really notice a difference when I forget to pre-warm the molds this way.

Greg Gould
@greg-gould
11/01/12 03:41:17PM
68 posts

I used Sodium Hydroxide (lye) today for the first time and it worked pretty good. I used 15 cups of water to 2-1/2oz of pure fod grade lye. I thought the solution would do everything but some crevices on the undersides needed to be lightly scrubbed out. I used a potato brush.

How can I be sure all the washing solution is off the molds? I swish the molds around in clean water I change every 10 molds or so. Is that enough? I'm thinking of running the molds through my diswasher on rinse.

Greg Gould
@greg-gould
11/01/12 11:59:41PM
68 posts

I got a film on every mold. I don't know what to do next. Clean them all by hand with soap? What went wrong?

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
11/02/12 12:54:31AM
527 posts

1. you didn't use HOT water

2. you didn't use enough Sodium Hydroxide. The water should be pink.

Dry them right after either with compressed air, or a microfibre cloth. They will look like new.

Greg Gould
@greg-gould
11/06/12 02:44:14PM
68 posts

Tried it again with very very hot water and doubling the lye and I still have a film, just not as thick. I wish I had access to whatever solution you're using Brad, as I just have food grade lye, and now I'm out of that. A few questions:

Do you soak your molds in the Sodium Hydroxide solution for some amount if time or do you just swish them around in it?

I'm rinsing the molds in a bucket of hot water. Maybe I want to run hot water from a sprayer?

I'm using a solution of 5 oz Sodium Hydroxide to 15 pints of water, or about 2% Sodium Hydroxide. Clearly that's not enough. What % do you think your solution comes out to?

I can't get any food grade lye around here, I have to order it. I can get pure Sodium Hydroxide crystals, but I don't know if it's food grade or what that means. It's sold as a drain cleaner. But if I rinse it, SH should be gone either way. Do you think that's safe?

What's the brand name of the product you use?

What is the film? Is it soap (sodium hydroxide+fat from the cocoa butter=soap)? Can I just polish it off or should I clean the molds with Dawn?

I'm about to try a 4:1 solution of Greased Lightning on one of my molds that has the film. I'll post how it goes.

Greg Gould
@greg-gould
11/06/12 04:32:02PM
68 posts

Greased Lightning leaves a scent on your molds so don't use it. I tried it on a mold I never use. Dawn and water got rid of the film.
I'll try Sodium Hydroxide again later.

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
11/07/12 12:22:22AM
143 posts

Hi All,

being absent for a while..busy re-locating my factory.

We buy SH directly from a chemical factory in liquid for (40% concentration), the crystals are just 100% pure so you need to be careful with the amount used and take enormous precautions while handling it!

We fill our sink with hot water and add SH, we soak for a while the molds and then rinse in hot water while gently scrubbing. Our results are not yet 100% but we are happy with it so far.

We are going to test a higher solution (till water turn pink as per Brad instruction)

Definitely is a matter of creating a "recipe":

X % SH @X% concentration for X amount of Liter of Hot water...

Let's see who can crack this mystery of cleaning!!!

Julie Hinton
@julie-hinton
12/05/12 02:59:04AM
1 posts

I once had difficulty getting my molds clean. However I bought a standard Bosch dishwasher which has a disinfectant cycle that gets hotter than most dishwashers. I believe that the heat factor is important for the complete elimination of the cocoa butter. I use Cascade Advanced Power liquid and voila... clean molds. Immediately when washing and rinsing are finished I hand dry them with a soft cotton cloth which both dries them and polishes them. The results are fantastic! I use primarily molds with smooth shapes and get excellent shine.

Scooter's Bakery
@scooters-bakery
06/14/13 03:22:24PM
15 posts

Hi Brad,

I can't find anything like this from any of our commercial vendors. I did find it at a local Chemical Supply company, but it's what they call "Technical Grade".

Do you know if this would be safe for molds?

The lab guy there said - off the record - that he thought it would be fine if rinsed well.

Would you share the brand name for the product you're using?

Thanks a lot,

Tom

Scooter's Bakery
@scooters-bakery
06/14/13 08:16:46PM
15 posts

Sorry - should have done a little more research before posting.

The FDA said essentially the same thing as the lab guy.

Shelley Fields
@shelley-fields
12/07/13 03:18:25AM
9 posts

Has anyone developed a system that cleans their molds on a regular basis, and would you explain in detail how you go about it? I work in a home kitchen with a double stainless steel sink and use powdered food grade lye with mixed results. Should the washing (soaking) water be cool, like with soap-making? (This cuts down drastically on the fumes.) How much time in the lye bath? How much lye in the bath? No scrubbing in the bath, but in the rinse, or no? When scrubbing, what to scrub with?

I put 3/4 of a cup of crystals in a sink full of hot water. I had two windows open and it was not enough to vent the fumes from the hot water. I will use a n95 mask from now on, along with chemical gloves and goggles. I soaked six molds for 15-20 minutes then rinsed for about a minute in a clean, HOT, rinse water; no scrubbing. A couple of the molds came out with CB film still on them, the others appear clean so far.

Please, if you have clearer instructions, I would be most appreciative. It takes longer for me to buff all of my molds than to fill them with chocolate and ganache, and I don't have the luxury of a dishwasher or employee. This technique would save my butt. Thank you!


Ashley2
@ashley2
12/07/13 09:57:43PM
11 posts
This is how I was taught to clean polycarbonate molds:1) clean each cavity with a cotton ball and vinegar2) wipe each cavity dry with cotton ball or make up applicator3) use heat gun to lightly warm cavities then polish wtth a foam/cotton make up applicator. (Extremely careful not to hear too much, can ruin mold. Just want warm to the touch.)(Only use steps one and two as needed, if colored cocoa butter is seen.)I only use hot water to wash molds about once every 5-10 batches.I've always had success with this method. I wouldn't be comfortable using anything stronger than vinger as a cleaning agent.FYI I was also taught to always apply a thin coat of cocoa butter, either colored or plain, to ensure shine. We also put the mold in the freezer after capped to restrict the chocolate so it comes out of the mold super easy.
Shelley Fields
@shelley-fields
12/08/13 12:10:19AM
9 posts

Hi Ashley, I've used that method for years, but I'm looking for detailed instructions on using the sodium hydroxide method. I have no employees, dozens of molds, and I work in a 7'x9' space that makes heatguns impossible without making the temperature skyrocket. Hence the need for a faster, simpler technique. The previous discussions on using sodium hydroxide (lye) would work much better for me and I have almost gotten it down, but I'm looking for more those more experienced in the method to give me some more detailed insight. Thank you for sharing your method though, I appreciate it.

david ghobril
@david-ghobril
09/22/14 08:06:36AM
4 posts

For cleaning molds. I clean only if

A. I have a problem which shows up on the chocolate or

B. It is a seasonal mold that is being put away till next year. I wash in warm soapy water and rinse in an acid (vinegar would work but I use citric acid because I have it on hand) and air dry.

As for polishing there is corn cobb media that is made for polishing plastics and comes in 50 lb bags. I have a homemade "tumbler" (basically a drum on rollers). I put the molds inside and roll it over and over (plan to put a motor on it one day) and the corn cobb grit polishes and removes all traces of oil.

In regular use lightly warm the molds with your heat gun just enough to cause the film to liquefy before lining the molds. Don't worry it would take a whole lot longer to over heat the mold than most people would have patience for. Play the air over the mold maybe 5 at a time and then fill. I got this from Jean Pierre Wybau in a Seminar I attended in Montreal@ Callebaut Academy. It works wonders. If anything shows up after that you need to wash.

Also for the heat gun. Get a retractable cord and mount it on the ceiling of your shop and adjust it so it is just over your head. reach up pull it down use and tug and let it go back up over your head. Keeps the counters clear and gun accessable and never accidently droppped on the floor

Hope it helps

Dave


updated by @david-ghobril: 01/19/15 02:31:40AM
 
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