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They used to be shiny but now they are dull. I've replaced them with new ones, but there's something about an old polycarbonate mold you've used for years that you never want to let go. How do we restore luster to old molds that are still usable, just a little dinged on the corners and dingy on the inside from detergents or hard water particles? I know we're really not supposed to wash them, especially not with detergent, but sanitation concerns and hasty clean-up have left some damages: the missing shine of my wounded molds. Anybody know a cure?

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Susie:

Following is a link to the Micelli Mold Company web site. Micelli is the only US-based manufacturer of polycarbonate molds for chocolate production on the US. Their Contact page has a link to download a PDF file of mold washing instructions.

:: Clay
I'll check it out. Gracias.
This may seem weird, and I must clarify that I have NOT tried this out; but for another purpose altogether, a company called Mapleshade Records makes a product called Mikro-Smooth. It is used for polishing CDs. I have brought back to life a few with scratches, and regularly polish any new CD that I buy. Since CDs are made from polycarbonate I figured Mikro-Smooth could also be used to re-smooth a mold's dull/scratched finish. A bottle of the stuff is $20 and lasts a long long time. They sell some pretty interesting CDs as well.
From a web site selling Mikro-Smooth:

Because Mikro-Smooth contains only ultra-fine, completely inert particles [ Ed: ceramic] and distilled water, it cannot cause either short-term or long-term damage ...

Here's a description of how it works:

The physics are simple: a mass-produced CD or DVD, though it looks smooth, has substantial microscopic roughness at the surface being read by the CD/DVD player's laser beam. That micro-roughness causes audible jitter in the digital music data stream. Mikro-Smooth fluid uses highly uniform particles of two ten-millionths of an inch size—far finer than conventional polishes—to significantly smooth the playing surface's micro-roughness.

I will get in touch with the manufacturer and ask if its safe for human consumption.
My concern about using an item that will remove scratches from a cd is its "food-safeness." Polycarbonate for food applications is food safe and so somewhat molecularly different than a non food-safe polycarbonate. Having said that, this product may actually speed up the degradation of the mould?

Generally speaking the best solution for a mould is not to have a problem in the first place, I know that's kind of a cop out answer. We tend to recommend washing as little as possible but even with perfect conditions the mould is going to have a "shelf life" and wear out. This fact goes back to the molecular differences in food safe polycarbonate.

brian
Corporate Pastry Chef
Tomric Systems, Inc.
www.tomric.com
Good to know. What would you say the maximum shelf life of a polycarbonate molds is, given regular weekly use, a weekly wash with no soap and proper storage (no dust or high heat)?
Susie.
It's kinda hittin' a moving target. I have mould in my kitchen that I use very regularly that are older than two years but I don't wash (unless disaster strikes) and I am fairly gentle with but I also know confectioners that have gotten less than a year based on their use. As per your original question, you will know when they stop working. And I am interested to hear more about this Micro-Smooth.
b

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