Cleaning Laboratory Glassware

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Cleaning Laboratory Glassware

Postby Toxojulius » Mar 11 2007 9:38 am

I would appreciate any suggestions on how to clean commonly used laboratory glassware (bottles, flasks, beakers). Our institution has a group of employees that collect and clean the glassware from all the molecular biology laboratories. I assume they just run them through a giant dishwasher with Liquinox. I don't know how clean the glassware really is.

Before I use any glassware that has been cleaned by these people, I usually rinse 3X with ddH2O, then rinse 1X with 95% EtOH, then 1X with ddH2O (to remove EtOH), then 1X with acetone, then 3X with ddH2O again. I shake the glassware vigorously between all rinses. I still get water drops sticking to the sides of the glass, indicating the glass is not really clean.

My question is:
How do you get glassware REALLY clean?

Thanks!
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Postby mchlbrmn » Mar 11 2007 1:30 pm

I hope you don't do all that for your agarose gel electrophoresis solutions. For many such routine purposes I just take water from the deionized water tap (not the ultrapure water system).

If your interested in this, I really think you should visit your dishwashing facility, talk to the people to find out what they do, and perhaps get the manual online for the machine used. I just did this recently. (It's actually not just a dishwasher, but is called a "disinfector - sterilizer", although it doesn't acutally sterilize spores like an autoclave.) In the first lab I was in after use the glassware was submerged in a wash solution until it was collected for wash. This was considered to be as important a step as the wash itself. This step is in your hands. My current location doesn't worry about this.

About the water drops sticking to the sides of the bottle; I thought I was the only one looking at those drops. For important solutions, I take bottles and rinse them with clean H2O, fill them with good water, autoclave them, and leave them on a top shelf until needed. I figure that if whatever's on the glass doesn't come off in water after soaking for months, it's not as likely to come off in my aquaeous solution. Even so, some bottles repel water more than others, and put a little not on those bottles' label when I rinsed and autoclaved them, and don't use them for the most sensitive solutions.

You also might consider that it could conceivably be easier on the environment to use plastic than do use all the organic chemicals and autoclaving in the alternative, especially if it's for small volumes. And definitely for most routine purposes I use water for, purity is not that critical. One often delves into the realms of superstition when maximizing such purity; but how can we be sure? (I think that a definition of superstitious behaviour is when there is no feedback supporting the behaviour, but none opposing it either.)
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Postby phage434 » Mar 11 2007 8:00 pm

Well, if you are a semiconductor engineer and want to get things *really* clean, then you rinse things in pirhanna solution (conc. sulfuric acid + conc. hydrogen peroxide). This is not for the faint of heart, and I don't recommend doing this for biological applications. But it does remove most everything. Rinse in 18.2 meg water several times.
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Postby creepster » Mar 12 2007 1:03 pm

mchlbrmn wrote:I hope you don't do all that for your agarose gel electrophoresis solutions. For many such routine purposes I just take water from the deionized water tap (not the ultrapure water system)....


i totally agree
it sounds like overkill what you do when it comes to the general laboratory work (agarose gels, bottles for running buffers such as SDS-PAGEs & agarose gels) etc.

i also discard bottles with a massive amount of waterdrops, but we have a huge glass ware stock to choose from, and i am not concerned about the purity after use of our glass ware washing machine

to give you an example, the most concern i will take with glass ware is when it comes to cell culture
i do have to make our cell culture media from scratch, and all glass ware used (flasks, bottles) are washed in the machine, autoclaved with ddH2O and then rinsed only with D.I.U.F water
the cells, which are usualy very picky when it comes to contaminants, are growing really well
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Re: Cleaning Laboratory Glassware

Postby emercaughfield » Sep 21 2012 1:37 am

To clean laboratory glassware you should handle them very carefully. Wear proper gloves to avoid any reaction and then rinse 3-4 times with deionized water and put the glassware away. To wash pippettes and other delicate laboratory glass apparatus should be cleaned with extra care.
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Re: Cleaning Laboratory Glassware

Postby mchlbrmn » Sep 22 2012 9:30 pm

Excellent and useful points. Handle glassware carefully. Handle delicate glassware with extra care. I'll remember that. "Put the glassware away", was like a cherry on top. I'm certainly glad I patiently waited five years. I even thwarted the evil moderator by going to your other posts and seeing the (excellent and useful, I'm sure) hyperlink appended to them. Any day now I'm planning on clicking on them again and again, to my heart's content. (Unless the evil moderator now looks them up and removes them.)
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