Though doctors and scientists are intelligent, resourceful professionals, cleaning the lab usually isn’t their top priority. It is easy for a lab bench to get littered with substances and supplies during a test or experiment. Equipment can get pretty dirty, too. Keeping your laboratory clean is essential, as microorganisms and chemicals can quickly contaminate your benches, balances, freezers, and incubators without adequate cleaning. Contaminated lab materials and equipment are dangerous to your samples and lab staff. Our laboratory consulting experts recommend these tips for cleaning your lab:
It can be hectic working in a laboratory. While scheduling time to clean might seem inconvenient, the hard work done in your lab will be for naught if your samples are continually contaminated because the lab is dirty. To ensure consistent cleaning in your lab setting, use your laboratory information management system to schedule lab clean-up hours. Your cloud-based system manages various lab aspects, like inventory, results analysis, and workflow. Laboratory information management systems are a great way to stay organized and keep your lab efficient. You can also use a posted schedule to track cleaning if you do not use a laboratory information management system.
It is critical to use proper cleaning solutions designed for different items and surfaces in your lab. You should wash most labware with warm water and detergent in the sink following use to prevent residue build-up. More than soap and water are required for certain chemicals, like insoluble organic solutions. These usually require rinsing with acetone or ethanol to remove deposits remaining on labware. To reduce bacterial, fungal, and viral contamination, you can apply ethanol or bleach sprays to nearly any surface type. Always clearly label cleaning supplies and train lab staff on safe usage.
There are a few options for cleaning lab pipettes. You can clean reusable pipettes in a plastic jug that continuously fills and siphons water to rinse pipettes clean. Or you can clean them in direct injections baskets that directly inject soap and water into them, followed by a heated rinse. Finally, you can clean handheld pipettes by dismantling them, replacing old or damaged O rings, and rinsing the individual parts with proper cleaning solutions. Plastic pipettes should not be exposed to alcohol-based cleaning solutions because they will erode the materials over time.
Lab balances are sensitive pieces of equipment that are vulnerable to accuracy errors from substances and debris. Therefore, cleaning your balance is vital to precise, accurate weight measurements. Best practice demands removing debris from the pan or weighing platform as quickly as possible to ensure balance accuracy and longevity.
While cleaning your lab, you should get rid of spoiled reagents and degraded samples to manage clutter.
Use these tips for keeping your lab clean and safe. If you need laboratory consulting services, call Hankins Consulting today. We have the expertise of over 75 years of combined industry experience to provide solutions to your laboratory issues effectively. We are here to keep your lab productive, safe, and profitable.