How To Clean Lab Equipment At Home Or In School – Comprehensive Guide 2023


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  • Enhanced Safety:
  • Minimizes the risk of accidents, injuries, and exposure to hazardous materials.
  • Reduces the chance of chemical reactions, spills, and fires.
  • Promotes a safer working environment for lab personnel.
  • Improved Accuracy and Reliability of Experiments:
  • Maintains the integrity of experiments by preventing cross-contamination.
  • Minimizes the presence of contaminants that can skew results or compromise data.
  • Ensures the validity and reproducibility of scientific findings.
  • Optimal Equipment Performance:
  • Regular cleaning prevents the accumulation of dust, debris, and residues on lab equipment.
  • Increases the longevity and efficiency of sensitive instruments, such as microscopes, centrifuges, and spectrophotometers.
  • Reduces the need for repairs and replacements, saving time and resources.
  • Efficient Workflow:
  • An organized and clean lab layout allows for smoother movement and faster access to equipment and supplies.
  • Eliminates clutter and reduces the risk of misplaced or lost items.
  • Facilitates collaboration and communication among lab members.
  • Compliance With Regulations and Standards:
  • Maintaining a clean lab helps meet the requirements set by regulatory bodies, such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
  • Ensures adherence to good laboratory practices (GLP) and quality control protocols.
  • Reduces the likelihood of penalties, fines, or legal issues associated with non-compliance.
  • Improved Air Quality:
  • Regular cleaning reduces the presence of airborne contaminants, such as dust, allergens, and fumes.
  • Provides a healthier environment for lab personnel, minimizing the risk of respiratory problems.
  • Supports the accuracy and reliability of experiments that require controlled air quality.
  • Enhanced Reputation And Credibility:
  • A clean lab reflects professionalism, attention to detail, and a commitment to high standards.
  • Contributes to a positive image and reputation for the lab, department, or institution.
  • Builds trust among colleagues, collaborators, and funding agencies.
  • Increased Productivity And Efficiency:
  • A clean and organized lab reduces time wasted on searching for supplies, reagents, or equipment.
  • Promotes a focused and distraction-free work environment.
  • Boosts overall productivity and enables researchers to allocate more time to experimental work.
  • Easier Maintenance And Upkeep:
  • Regular cleaning simplifies routine maintenance tasks, such as equipment calibration and calibration verification.
  • Facilitates troubleshooting and identification of potential issues.
  • Supports efficient and timely lab maintenance activities.
  • Personal Well-Being:
  • A clean lab promotes a sense of personal well-being and job satisfaction.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety associated with working in an unclean or disorganized environment.
  • Enhances the overall work experience, leading to higher morale and motivation among lab personnel.


  • General Cleaning Guidelines:
  • Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions:
  • Familiarize yourself with the specific cleaning requirements and recommendations provided by the manufacturer for each piece of equipment.
  • Wear Appropriate Protective Gear:
  • Put on gloves, lab coats, safety goggles, and any other necessary protective equipment to ensure personal safety during the cleaning process.
  • Prepare Cleaning Solutions:
  • Follow established protocols and guidelines for preparing cleaning solutions.
  • Use appropriate detergents, solvents, or disinfectants recommended for the specific equipment and contaminants.
  • Disassemble if Necessary:
  • If the equipment is designed to be disassembled, carefully dismantle the different parts according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Specific Equipment Cleaning Methods:
  • Glassware:
  • Rinse glassware with water immediately after use to prevent residue from drying and sticking.
  • Use appropriate cleaning agents, such as a detergent solution or specialized glassware cleaner.
  • Brush the interior of glassware, paying attention to hard-to-reach areas.
  • Rinse thoroughly with distilled water to remove any residual cleaning agents.
  • Air dry or use a clean, lint-free cloth to dry.
  • Pipettes:
  • Disassemble the pipette according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Immerse the individual components in a cleaning solution or enzymatic detergent.
  • Use a small brush to clean the interior of the pipette body.
  • Rinse thoroughly with distilled water to remove cleaning agents.
  • Allow the parts to air dry completely before reassembling.
  • Centrifuges:
  • Wipe down the exterior surfaces of the centrifuge with a damp cloth.
  • Remove the rotor and clean it separately.
  • For fixed-angle rotors, use a brush to remove any residue in the buckets.
  • For swinging bucket rotors, remove the buckets and clean them individually.
  • Clean the rotor chamber with a mild detergent solution and a cloth or brush.
  • Rinse all components thoroughly with distilled water and allow them to dry before reassembling.
  • Microscopes:
  • Remove any dust or debris from the exterior surfaces using a soft brush or compressed air.
  • Clean the lenses and eyepieces with a lens cleaning solution and lens tissue or a lint-free cloth.
  • Wipe down the body of the microscope with a damp cloth.
  • Pay attention to moving parts and mechanical adjustments, ensuring they are free from dirt or grime.
  • Autoclaves:
  • Empty the autoclave and dispose of any waste materials according to established protocols.
  • Wipe down the interior surfaces with a disinfectant solution or autoclave cleaner.
  • Clean the gasket and door seals to prevent buildup.
  • Rinse thoroughly and ensure all cleaning agents are removed.
  • Allow the autoclave to air dry completely before using it again.
  • Spectrophotometers:
  • Wipe the exterior surfaces with a soft cloth or a lint-free wipe.
  • Clean the cuvette holder with a lens cleaning solution and lint-free wipes.
  • Remove any spills or stains from the sample chamber using a mild detergent solution and a cloth or sponge.
  • Rinse the sample chamber with distilled water to remove any residue.
  • Allow the spectrophotometer to dry completely before use.



  • Accurate and Reliable Results:
  • Clean lab equipment minimizes the risk of contamination that could alter experimental outcomes.
  • Ensures precise measurements and reduces the likelihood of errors or false readings.
  • Supports the integrity and credibility of scientific research.
  • Enhanced Safety:
  • Regular cleaning prevents the accumulation of hazardous substances or residues that can pose health risks.
  • Reduces the potential for chemical reactions, spills, or accidents caused by dirty or malfunctioning equipment.
  • Creates a safer working environment for lab personnel.
  • Prolonged Equipment Lifespan:
  • Cleaning lab equipment removes dirt, debris, and corrosive substances that can cause damage over time.
  • Prevents the buildup of contaminants that may compromise the functionality and accuracy of instruments.
  • Reduces the need for frequent repairs or replacements, saving costs and resources.
  • Optimal Performance:
  • Clean lab equipment operates at its highest efficiency, delivering accurate and consistent results.
  • Eliminates potential interferences from residue or contaminants that could affect measurements or analyses.
  • Supports the smooth functioning of sensitive equipment, such as balances, microscopes, or chromatography systems.
  • Time and Cost Savings:
  • Regular cleaning prevents equipment malfunction or breakdown, minimizing downtime and associated delays.
  • Reduces the need for frequent recalibration or troubleshooting due to dirty equipment.
  • Avoids additional expenses for repairs, replacements, or retesting caused by contaminated instruments.
  • Compliance with Standards and Regulations:
  • Clean lab equipment meets the requirements of regulatory bodies and industry standards.
  • Adheres to quality control protocols and good laboratory practices (GLP).
  • Ensures compliance with guidelines set by agencies such as FDA (Food and Drug Administration) or ISO (International Organization for Standardization).
  • Improved Workflow Efficiency:
  • Clean equipment allows for smooth and uninterrupted experimental processes.
  • Enables faster setup and preparation, optimizing overall productivity.
  • Reduces the risk of errors, rework, or repeating experiments due to equipment-related issues.
  • Prevent Cross-Contamination:
  • Proper cleaning of lab equipment minimizes the transfer of contaminants between samples or experiments.
  • Avoids cross-contamination of chemicals, biological materials, or genetic samples, preserving their integrity.
  • Supports accurate and reliable data analysis and interpretation.
  • Enhanced Image And Professionalism:
  • Clean lab equipment reflects a commitment to quality, precision, and professionalism.
  • Projects a positive image to visitors, collaborators, and funding agencies.
  • Builds trust and confidence in the lab’s capabilities and expertise.
  • Improved Research Reproducibility:
  • Clean lab equipment contributes to the replicability and reproducibility of scientific experiments.
  • Minimizes variables introduced by unclean or contaminated equipment.
  • Allows for consistent and comparable results across multiple trials or studies.


  • Bleach Lab Cleaning Supplies: Lab equipment that is made of glass, plastic, or metal can be cleaned with bleach water (a mixture of one part chlorine bleach and nine parts tap water) to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. Lab surfaces should be left to air dry after applying this mixture for at least 30 seconds;
  • Lab Cleaning Wipes Lab Equipment: Lab surfaces that are made of plastic or glass can also be wiped down with wet wipes, Lab equipment should not have excess water running off the surface, so it would only take a single wipe to clean them completely. Lab surfaces and lab instruments like these should usually be left to air dry after being cleaned.
  • Lab clothing that is made of plastic, rubber, or vinyl to protect the user from chemical burns. Lab clothing should be worn when working with corrosive chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and bleach solution. Lab safety goggles/face shields can also be worn to prevent accidental splash of corrosive chemicals into the eyes. Lab clothing should be changed after every use and not worn outside of the lab environment to prevent contact with harmful chemicals such as cleaning supplies or other hazardous materials.
  • Lab coat, apron, gloves made from non-latex material (i.e.: nitrile), and shoe covers for personal protection. Lab coats and aprons can be worn with gloves to protect the skin from corrosive chemicals, irritants such as bleach solution and alcohol wipes used for cleaning lab surfaces or disinfection.
  • Lab goggles/face shield: Lab goggles or face shields should be worn when working with hazardous chemicals that could splash into the eyes if not handled properly. Lab goggles and face shields should also be worn when using lab equipment such as a microscope.
  • Lab safety shower/eyewash station: Lab safety showers or eyewash stations are used to rinse corrosive chemicals off your skin in case of an accident. These areas will need to be placed within five feet (one meter) from the work area. Lab safety showers/eyewash stations can also be used by other lab personnel when a spill has occurred in the area.
  • Lab workbench/table: Lab benches or tables with a rubber mat and backsplash that is sloped to drain should be present for proper preparation of clean equipment, storage of chemical supplies, and disposal of hazardous waste or small spills. Lab benches should also have a fume hood to prevent the inhalation of chemical fumes and vapors.



  • Establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs):
  • Develop detailed SOPs specific to the laboratory cleaning process.
  • Include step-by-step instructions, cleaning agents, safety precautions, and equipment requirements.
  • Assemble Cleaning Supplies:
  • Gather appropriate cleaning supplies such as disinfectants, detergents, brushes, wipes, and gloves.
  • Ensure availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff members involved in the cleaning process.
  • Schedule Cleaning Activities:
  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule based on the laboratory’s needs and usage.
  • Consider the frequency of cleaning for different areas and equipment based on contamination risks and usage patterns.


  • General Cleaning:
  • Remove clutter, empty trash bins, and dispose of waste following proper waste management protocols.
  • Dust surfaces, including countertops, shelves, and equipment, using a soft cloth or a static-free duster.
  • Disinfection:
  • Use appropriate disinfectants recommended for laboratory settings.
  • Follow instructions for preparing and applying disinfectants effectively.
  • Focus on frequently touched surfaces, equipment handles, and shared spaces.
  • Allow sufficient contact time for disinfectants to work before wiping or rinsing.
  • Glassware Cleaning:
  • Rinse glassware immediately after use to prevent residue from drying.
  • Soak glassware in a detergent solution to remove contaminants
  • Use brushes or specialized glassware cleaners to remove stubborn stains or residue.
  • Rinse thoroughly with distilled water to remove cleaning agents.
  • Allow glassware to air dry or use a clean, lint-free cloth.
  • Equipment Cleaning:
  • Refer to manufacturer instructions for specific cleaning procedures for each equipment type.
  • Disassemble equipment components if required and clean them individually.
  • Use appropriate cleaning agents, brushes, or wipes to remove dirt, residues, or spills.
  • Rinse with distilled water to remove cleaning agents.
  • Allow equipment parts to air dry completely before reassembling.
  • Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) Cleaning:
  • Follow BSC manufacturer instructions and biosafety guidelines.
  • Clean surfaces inside the BSC, including the work area, removable parts, and air grilles.
  • Use disinfectants specifically designed for use in BSCs.
  • Pay special attention to areas prone to contamination, such as corners and edges.
  • Ensure filters are replaced or cleaned as recommended.
  • Fume Hood Cleaning:
  • Turn off the fume hood and disconnect electrical equipment if applicable.
  • Clean the interior surfaces, baffles, and sash with appropriate cleaning agents.
  • Remove any visible residues, spills, or chemical stains.
  • Wipe down the exterior surfaces and knobs.
  • Allow the fume hood to dry completely before use.
  • Floor Cleaning:
  • Sweep or vacuum the laboratory floor to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Mop the floor using a suitable floor cleaner or disinfectant.
  • Pay attention to spills, stains, or areas with heavy traffic.
  • Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before resuming activities.
  • Documentation:
  • Maintain a logbook or cleaning records to track cleaning activities, dates, and personnel responsible.
  • Document any issues, repairs needed, or unusual observations during the cleaning process.
  • Keep records of cleaning agents used and their expiration dates.


  • Follow Safety Procedures:
  • Adhere to established safety protocols and guidelines during the cleaning process.
  • Use appropriate PPE, such as gloves, safety goggles, and lab coats, to protect against chemical exposure and other hazards.
  • Proper Ventilation:
  • Ensure adequate ventilation during the cleaning process


If your lab work involves hazardous chemicals, wear protective gear such as latex gloves and goggles. Start by cleaning the loose items, including test tubes, pipettes, and beakers. Loose glassware is more likely to break if knocked over, making it the first group of equipment that you should clean. After cleaning loose items, clean any remaining glassware, such as flasks. Clean and disinfect utensils and other equipment before disinfecting all surfaces. When you finish cleaning, dispose of your Lab work often involves the use of glassware, as glass is more resistant to chemicals. Glass can also be molded into a variety of shapes to control the flow of fluid. If the glass is not cleaned after each use, you may get inaccurate results during your lab work.


Gather Supplies

Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves and safety goggles. Collect the necessary cleaning supplies, such as a sink or basin, detergent solution, brushes (bottle brush, test tube brush), lint-free cloths or paper towels, and distilled water.


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Prepare Cleaning Solution

Fill a sink or basin with warm water. Add a suitable laboratory detergent or cleaning solution as per manufacturer recommendations. Follow the instructions for the appropriate dilution and ensure the water is mixed thoroughly.

Submerge Glassware

Immerse the glassware in the cleaning solution, ensuring all items are fully submerged. If the glassware is too large or delicate to fully submerge, use a wash bottle to direct the cleaning solution to the interior.

Brush Interior and Exterior

Use a suitable brush, such as a bottle brush or test tube brush, to clean the interior of glassware. Pay special attention to hard-to-reach areas, including the bottom and the neck of the glassware. Gently scrub the exterior surfaces to remove any stains or residues.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the glassware with copious amounts of distilled water to remove the cleaning solution and any remaining contaminants. Ensure that all soap or detergent residues are thoroughly removed, as they can interfere with subsequent experiments.

Check for Residues

Inspect the glassware for any remaining residues or particles. If stubborn residues are present, repeat the cleaning process or use specialized solvents or cleaning agents as necessary. Note that certain residues may require specific cleaning procedures based on the nature of the substances involved.

Dry the Glassware

Allow the glassware to air dry in a clean and dust-free area. Alternatively, use lint-free cloths or paper towels to carefully dry the glassware, ensuring no fibers or lint are left behind. Do not use cloth towels that may leave fibers or lint on the glassware.

Store Properly

Once the glassware is completely dry, store it in a clean and designated area. Keep glassware protected from dust, contaminants, and potential damage.


Greasy residue on lab glassware can be challenging to remove, but following these steps will help effectively clean and remove the grease:


Safety Precautions

Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves and safety goggles, to protect yourself during the cleaning process.


Start by rinsing the glassware with warm water to remove any loose debris or substances on the surface. Use a gentle stream of water to thoroughly rinse the glassware, ensuring all visible particles are removed.

Prepare a Degreasing Solution

Fill a sink or basin with warm water. Add a suitable degreasing agent, such as a laboratory-grade detergent or a specialized grease-removing cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate amount of cleaning agent to use.

Soak the Glassware

Submerge the greasy glassware in the degreasing solution, ensuring that all items are fully covered. Allow the glassware to soak for a sufficient amount of time as specified by the cleaning agent instructions. This soaking period helps loosen and break down the greasy residue.

Scrub the Glassware

After the soaking period, take a soft-bristle brush or sponge and gently scrub the glassware. Focus on areas with visible greasy residue, such as the interior or any specific spots. Use circular motions and apply moderate pressure to remove the grease effectively.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the glassware with copious amounts of warm water to remove the degreasing solution and any remaining residue. Ensure that all cleaning agents are thoroughly rinsed off, as they can interfere with subsequent experiments.

Check for Residues

Inspect the glassware for any remaining greasy residues or particles. If any residues are still present, repeat the scrubbing process or try a stronger degreasing agent as necessary. Pay attention to difficult-to-reach areas and use brushes or swabs specifically designed for glassware cleaning if needed.

Final Rinse with Distilled Water

Perform a final rinse with distilled water to ensure a thorough removal of all cleaning agents and residues. Distilled water helps minimize the risk of introducing impurities or contaminants to the glassware.

Dry the Glassware

Allow the glassware to air dry in a clean and dust-free area. Alternatively, use a lint-free cloth or paper towel to gently dry the glassware, ensuring no fibers or lint are left behind.

Verify Cleanliness

Inspect the glassware to ensure all greasy residues have been effectively removed. If necessary, repeat the cleaning process or consider using specialized solvents or cleaning agents for specific types of grease.


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Gather Supplies

Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves and safety goggles. Collect the necessary cleaning supplies, such as warm water, mild detergent or stainless steel cleaner, soft cloth or sponge, non-abrasive scrubbing pad, and microfiber cloth or towel


Begin by rinsing the stainless steel equipment with warm water to remove loose dirt, debris, or residues. Use a gentle stream of water or a hose to thoroughly rinse the surface.

Prepare Cleaning Solution

Fill a bucket or sink with warm water. Add a mild detergent or stainless steel cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Mix the solution well to ensure proper dilution.

Apply Cleaning Solution

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and wring out any excess liquid. Gently wipe the stainless steel surface with the damp cloth, ensuring complete coverage. Pay extra attention to areas with visible stains, fingerprints, or grime.

Scrub if Necessary

For stubborn stains or residue, use a non-abrasive scrubbing pad. Apply light pressure and scrub the affected areas in a circular motion. Avoid using steel wool or abrasive cleaners that can scratch or damage the stainless steel surface.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the equipment with clean warm water to remove the cleaning solution and any loosened dirt or residue. Ensure that all soap or detergent residues are thoroughly rinsed off.

Dry the Equipment

Use a clean microfiber cloth or towel to dry the stainless steel equipment. Wipe the surface in the direction of the grain to prevent streaking. Pay attention to crevices or areas where water can accumulate and remove any moisture.

Polish (Optional)

If desired, use a stainless steel polish specifically designed for stainless steel surfaces. Apply the polish according to the product instructions and buff the surface with a clean microfiber cloth. This step can help restore shine and remove any remaining smudges or fingerprints.

Inspect and Maintain

Inspect the cleaned stainless steel equipment for any remaining stains, marks, or damage. Address any issues promptly to prevent further deterioration. Regularly maintain and clean the equipment to avoid buildup or stubborn stains.


Maintaining clean lab equipment is a safety requirement when working with chemicals and hazardous substances. Dirty lab glassware and utensils can interfere with your experiment and create health risks. Residue from previous experiments may lead to dangerous chemical processes and weaken your equipment. Always try to rinse and clean glassware as soon as possible. Allow the glassware to air dry while you clean up loose items in your work area.  Clean and disinfect stainless steel equipment before wiping down yourlab surfaces and bench. Keeping up with this cleaning routine ensures that your lab equipment is always ready for use.

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