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I just made a batch of chocolates that taste great, but have bloom.  I am suspecting the problem is the molds were not properly cleaned as there was no bloom on the chocolate on the bottom of the chocolates.  I have had similiar problems before.

Does anybody have a suggestion for how to clean the molds really well by hand (I don't have a dishwasher), or is there a good cleaning solution to use?




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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.

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.

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!!!

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.  

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!

This is how I was taught to clean polycarbonate molds:
1) clean each cavity with a cotton ball and vinegar
2) wipe each cavity dry with cotton ball or make up applicator
3) 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.

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.

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



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