Properly maintaining your laboratory glassware is vital if you want to ensure the accuracy of results from your experiments. Damaged, faulty or poorly cleaned equipment can adversely impact research as well as posing health and hygiene risks. In this post, we discuss four handy tips for taking care of laboratory glassware.
Maintain an Organised and Sterile Lab
Taking care of laboratory glassware starts with looking after the lab as a whole. If you are lucky enough to have designated lab technicians, then they should be responsible for maintaining and cleaning equipment. If you do not have technicians, then it is the job of everybody to maintain high standards.
The first step is to organise the laboratory, ensuring that all equipment is correctly labelled and has a designated storage area. All equipment and surfaces should be sanitised appropriately, and any used items need to be placed in specified areas to await cleaning. This way, the chances of cross-contamination and tainted results are reduced.
All laboratory glassware should be cleaned with a detergent and left to dry naturally. The use of paper towels or other materials to dry glassware can contaminate surfaces and affect results.
When using glassware for an experiment which is especially sensitive and where contamination may alter the outcome, then soaking in a solvent or mild acid is recommended.
Any damaged or faulty laboratory glassware should be repaired without delay. Even minor damage should be mended quickly as this can reduce the risk of more significant and costly repairs being needed. An experienced scientific glassblower will be able to provide cost-effective repairs to most laboratory glassware at a fraction of the cost of replacing the item.
Replace Old Equipment
Good cleaning practices and careful laboratory management will extend the life of your glassware and equipment. However, there comes a time when all items need to be replaced with new versions.
Repacing old equipment will help ensure accuracy in your experiments.
Regular calibration of equipment is essential to ensure accuracy in your research. Set up a schedule for checking and calibrating all items in the laboratory. Log results for each item so you can, if required, review historical performance and determine if equipment becoming less accurate over time.
Taking Care of Laboratory Glassware Summary
To maintain your laboratory glassware, and keep it in good working order, regular and thorough cleaning is essential. All surfaces in your laboratory should be cleaned daily, and a deep clean performed weekly to reduce contamination risks.