Scientists may be incredibly smart and resourceful individuals, but they are often careless when it comes to maintaining a clean and safe lab environment.
However, that is not how a lab works. It is extremely important to keep it and other molecular biology products clean at all times. If you fail to do that, the unclean environment could contaminate your workspace and most possibly your samples as well, leading to inaccurate results.
Here are a few ways to ensure that your lab is clean at all times.
Schedule Cleaning Time
Working in a lab can be stressful. While scheduling cleaning is tedious, all of your efforts will be in vain if samples continue to be contaminated as a result of the dirty lab. To make the most of your time, schedule lab clean-up hours when you or another lab technician will not be using it for anything critical.
Also, make sure you plan the scheduling well ahead of time so you have enough time to manage your tasks. You’ll be able to evaluate your lab’s cleaning needs and assign specific cleaning-related activities to lab members as needed.
Cleaning your lab on a regular basis makes it more efficient and safe. Scientists often encounter a situation where they need to use a station that was previously utilized by someone else. The unclean station not only drives them crazy but also wastes their time. This is especially problematic for weighing stations since any residual chemicals can hurt the tests of others who need to use the facility thereafter.
However, it’s not just the basic cleaning that needs to be done on a regular basis. You must create a weekly timetable for emptying biohazard waste containers used in biosafety cabinets, dusting workstations, and any other necessary equipment maintenance.
Use The Right Tools
It’s critical to use the correct cleaning solution for each item in your lab. To avoid residue buildup, most labware must be washed in the sink promptly after use with soap and water. Some compounds, such as non-soluble solutions, require more than simply water and soap to dissolve. To completely eliminate any leftover residues, they must be rinsed with ethanol or acetone. Ethanol or bleach sprays can also be used to remove coral or bacterial contamination from practically any surface.
Special sprays that absorb contamination are also available for radioactive substances. These special cleaning chemicals can also remove RNase and DNA contamination. (Goldberg)
Here is a list of specialized techniques that can be employed to clean lab equipment.
Although most lab consumables and glassware may be sterilized by steam at high temperatures and pressure, there are a variety of batch sterilization methods available. Catheters and stents can only be sterilized with ethylene oxide gas, whereas medical devices and medications require gamma irradiation. Remember that sterilization will only remove germs from your labware, not chemical residue.
Cross-contamination in between wash and rinse cycles is avoided with laboratory dishwashers. Glassware is cleaned at relatively high temperatures, and accessories for certain types of labware, such as test tubes, and pipettes, are frequently included.
Ultrasonic cleaners use sound waves to clean glassware. Those waves can be paired with methods that assist in removing particles. Although when utilizing ultrasonic cleaners, avoid using flammable or low flashpoint solutions since they can ignite because of energy buildup.
You can clean reusable pipettes in a plastic jug that fills and siphons water while washing and rinsing them, or with direct injection baskets. The latter procedure entails a hot rinse after an injection of water and detergent. Coming onto handheld pipettes, you can dismantle them, replace damaged or worn O-rings, and clean the parts separately with appropriate solutions.
Get Rid Of Old Reagents And Samples
When cleaning your lab, be sure to get rid of any degraded samples or contaminated reagents that are simply drawing more dirt and clutter. You can start by separating the samples you know won’t be used by your or other lab partners and work your way from there. However, make sure everyone who uses the lab agrees on what needs to be thrown out and what needs to stay.
Now that you know everything about how to keep a lab clean, you can go on and equip the lab with some of the latest molecular biology products. We have everything from Aluminium Sealing Films to PCR plates, so you can shop your favorite lab items in one place. So, check out our collection at Molecular Biology Products now!
Goldberg, Alexander. “5 Tips for Cleaning the Lab.” Labtag Blog, 14 February 2020, https://blog.labtag.com/5-tips-for-cleaning-the-lab/. Accessed 24 May 2022.