How to Properly Clean Laboratory Equipment

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Ensuring the cleanliness of laboratory equipment is imperative to the efficiency and safety of any research session. For one to be certain of the validity of resulta found from an experiment, the equipment used must be cleaned properly and thoroughly. Following correct protocol is essential in ensuring the safety of the researchers involved.

With that said, the first step is to ensure the cleaning job is done thoroughly. This process means taking additional steps to inspect the glassware after each step of the cleaning and rinsing processes. Doing so will minimize the potential for user error and imperfections to slip through the cracks.

Moving forward, it is preferable to begin cleaning your glassware immediately after the initial usage. Leaving glassware unattended after extensive research will allow for stains and infections to fester, ultimately making them harder to cleanse. Tackling the cleaning job with immediacy will lead to an expedited cleaning process, and one with much greater results.

When cleaning, one must ensure the product being used has been made specifically for laboratory use. This means checking the labeling and product descriptions to be certain that the product has been created with chemically-stained glassware in mind. Making sure the product in use is made for the job is a vital step and one that should not be overlooked.

Additionally, be sure to avoid using standard household cleaning products. Using products such as standard dish-washing detergent and soaps will ultimately do more harm than good, and should be avoided even if no other options are immediately available. If faced with having to choose between prolonging the cleaning process and utilizing inappropriate materials, always choose the former.

Once the cleaning process has ended, it is beneficial to finish the process by rinsing with distilled water. Distilled water will ensure the sterilization and thorough cleansing of the glassware. Additionally, using deionized water can go a long way in this regard as well. For the most thorough cleaning possible, finish each cleaning session by rinsing the glassware with both two to three times.

It is important to note that different chemicals can require different approaches to cleansing. Many chemicals leave behind stronger residues with much more stubborn stains. Thus, it is important not to assume all chemicals are equal in this regard, and to take into account the potency of the substances used when deciding how thorough a cleaning session should be.

Many different chemicals may necessitate a more thorough cleaning session. Water soluble solutions, strong acids as well as strong bases all require more thorough cleanings. When handling these substances be sure to take the additional time required to perform a more thorough cleaning.

Once the cleaning has been done, it is important to note that drying glassware requires a particular approach as well. Drying glassware properly entails using the appropriate level of heat and air exposure. Doing this process correctly will elongate your equipment’s lifespan significantly.

The drying process usually entails rinsing glassware with alcohol. Once this has been done, leave the glassware to air dry for as long as necessary. This process is to use for standard cleaning jobs. Keep in mind this is a time-consuming process and is not optimal if one needs to be using their laboratory equipment immediately after previous use.

Also of note is the effect water will have on the duration of the drying process. Water may affect the results of future experiments Thus, make sure that the interior of all glassware used has dried completely. Otherwise, the validity of following tests will be questionable.

If the glassware in question needs to be utilized shortly after the previous usage, one can expedite the drying process by repeatedly rinsing with acetone. It should be noted that while this will speed up the process, the cleansing will be less thorough. Thus, this process should only used if immediate usage of glassware is an absolute necessity.

In conclusion, cleaning laboratory equipment is a simple process when taken as a whole. That said, it is a time consuming and often tedious one, though unquestionably important. Be sure to follow the correct procedure to ensure valid results from experiments. Never try to cut corners to save time, as it will only end up costing more in the long the run.

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Kevin Schultz is a professional journalist with over 15 years of writing and media experience. He is a full-time contributor to the Themocracy Online News Blog and his insightful writing has been enjoyed by thousands.