How To Clean Lab Equipment At Home Or In School | Comprehensive Guide 2021

how to clean lab equipment at home or in school -gomprehensive guide 2021

Without proper cleaning, your lab equipment may

become contaminated. Contaminants in the

beakers and flasks may impact the results of

future experiments and increase the risk of safety

hazards. The following guide covers the steps

needed to thoroughly clean laboratory equipment

at home or school.

how to clean lab equipment at home or in school -comprehensive guide 2021 (pinterest pin)
How To Clean Lab Equipment At Home Or In School -Comprehensive Guide 2021 (Pinterest Pin)

How Do You Clean A Lab?

scientists in protective coverall's use computers and microscopes, doing pharmaceutics
a scientist in sterile coverall gown using cleaning tool to clean laboratory
A scientist in sterile coverall gown using Cleaning tool to clean laboratory

The first step is to disassemble the lab

equipment. Lab equipment needs to be

cleaned one piece at a time so that you can

ensure that  each surface has been scrubbed and

thoroughly cleaned. Lab equipment needs to be

cleaned in a chemical or detergent solution so

that all of the lab equipment is sanitized. Rinse

each piece under running water and dry it with

paper towels to ensure that no residue remains.

Why Should You Clean A Lab?

modern interior science lab or factory background with lighting in monotone

There are multiple reasons why lab equipment

needs to be cleaned. Lab equipment can collect

dirt, dust and grime over time that is difficult to

remove when the lab equipment is in use. This

debris may impact future experiments by

contaminating them or becoming a breeding

ground for bacteria which could lead to

contamination of your experiment with viruses or

other contaminants. Lab equipment that is not

kept clean can also become more difficult to use.

scientific lab concept
Scientific lab concept

Lab equipment that becomes dirty or dusty will require additional steps to ensure the accuracy of your

experiment which could make it harder for you to complete experiments. Lab equipment needs to be

cleaned properly so that you do not contaminate future experiments by spreading viruses or bacteria

through any residue on lab equipment.

Benefits From Having A Clean Lab

science or chemistry laboratory
Modern laboratory washing, cleaning and sterilizing machinery

A lab that is kept clean will have many benefits to

the owner. First, you will be able to complete

experiments easier with lab equipment that has

been properly cleaned and maintained because it

does not become contaminated or dusty which

could impact results of your experiment. Lab

equipment needs to be cleaned for its own sake

as well so you do not spread viruses between

lab equipment that could lead to contaminate

experiments and your lab. If lab equipment is not

properly cleaned, the lab can become unsanitary which will impact future lab work by making it difficult for

students to complete their work in a healthy environment. Cleaning Lab equipment provides multiple

benefits such as:

  • Cleaner lab space
  • More accurate results
  • Lab equipment that lasts longer

How to Clean Lab Equipment?

Cleaning lab equipment is easier when you follow

a routine. A routine can become a habit with

enough repetition, decreasing the risk of

forgetting a step. Here is the typical routine

involved in keeping a lab clean and ready for the

next experiment:

Cleaning laboratory glass wear, beaker with surfactant in sink

  • Wear protective gear
  • Remove loose items
  • Clean glassware
  • Clean and disinfect utensils
  • Disinfect lab surfaces
person hands in gloves cleaning and washing glass flasks with water in science lab
Person hands in gloves cleaning and washing glass flasks with water in Science Lab

Why Should You Clean Lab Equipment?

shadow of scientist and glass flask and cylinder
Some Laboratory Flask

Lab equipment should be cleaned to remove

contaminants. Lab equipment that is not properly

cleaned can ruin an experiment and lead to

incorrect results. For example, if you are

conducting a chemical reaction

Lab equipment should be cleaned to remove

contaminants. Lab equipment that is not properly

cleaned can ruin an experiment and lead to

incorrect results. For example, if you are

conducting a chemical reaction in the lab,

contamination may influence the outcome of your experiment or even prevent it from occurring at all.

Contamination could also cause health risks for people working with the lab equipment. Lab work is not

dangerous if you clean your lab regularly and follow a routine when it comes to cleaning the laboratory.

Benefits From Having Clean Lab Equipment

There are multiple benefits to clean lab equipment, including:

  • Increased safety of Lab space: Clean Lab equipment reduces the risk for people working in the lab space which makes it safer by reducing accidents and increasing productivity.
  • Accurate results from experiments conducted with Lab Equipment: If your Lab equipment has not been cleaned properly or if there are contaminants present, the Lab Equipment could provide inaccurate results. This will make it difficult to complete experiments or even cause them to fail all together if Lab equipment has not been cleaned.
  • Longer lab equipment life: If lab equipment is not properly cleaned, it can become dirty and dusty which will reduce the lifespan of lab equipment.

Lab equipment needs to be cleaned and maintained for its own sake so lab work is completed in a timely manner and the lab remains safe.

Lab Cleaning Supplies

view of a purple water cleaning spray plastic bottle and bright purple cleaning gloves

If you are wondering what lab cleaning supplies are required, there are several items necessary for how to

clean Lab equipment at home or in school. Lab cleaning supplies include:

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 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: 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 Protection: 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.

More Lab Protection: 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 Stations: 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 Worksations: 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.

Laboratory Cleaning Process

team of research scientists in sterile suits working with computers, microscopes and modern industrial machinery in the lab
decontamination of a room after an accident
Decontamination of a room after an accident

The first step in how to clean lab equipment

involves wearing protective gear, such as gloves

and goggles or safety glasses. You should also

wear long sleeves, pants, closed-toe shoes, and a

lab coat. Lab coats should be washed after each

use, as these are the most exposed to

contaminants in the lab. Remove loose items from

your work areas such as paper notes or books

before starting cleaning up. Lab equipment that is

not kept clean may become contaminated for

extended periods of time and recontaminate other areas where it is moved. Lab equipment should be

washed in hot, soapy water and rinsed with clean tap water after each use to avoid contamination.

Glassware is best cleaned by hand washing it under running tap water with soap or detergent before

leaving the lab for the day. If you are using glassware that may have been contaminated with chemicals,

you may want to soak the glassware overnight in a detergent solution. Lab equipment that is made of

plastic should be washed with warm water and soap or diluted dishwashing liquid before each use as well.

Some types of lab equipment can break easily, such as flasks. If you are cleaning delicate instruments

like these, it is important not to clean them in the sink. Lab equipment like these should be cleaned by

hand using a scrub brush and detergent solution before rinsing with clean tap water. You may also want to

use a rag or paper towels to wipe down any sinks, windowsills, countertops, doorknobs/handles,

faucets/taps, and light switches. Lab surfaces should be disinfected regularly with a disinfectant solution

or bleach water to prevent the spread of microorganisms and viruses that may cause illnesses such as the

flu, food poisoning, pneumonia, and pink eye/conjunctivitis (pink eye).

Wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Lab

ppe required set symbols
PPE Required Set Symbols

Employees who handle hazardous chemicals or

work in areas where there may be an increased

risk of exposure to harmful pathogens require

personal protection equipment. Lab protective

gear includes:

Lab Clothing: lab coat, apron, gloves made from non-latex material (i.e.: nitrile), and shoe covers for

personal protection. Lab coats and aprons can be purchased from the University bookstore or

departmental stores. Lab coats can be purchased for less than $100, while lab aprons are around the same

price range. Lab gloves come in different thicknesses/durometers and should be used based on what type

of chemicals you will be working with to prevent skin irritation. Gloves also have a limited life span and

should be disposed of once they are worn out or start to break down. Lab shoe covers are disposable, while

the other types of PPE can be washed and reused repeatedly until they become too dirty/stained

Safety goggles: eye protection. Lab goggles should have a splash guard that protects your eyes from

chemicals in case any spills occur on the table or floor. Safety goggles also come in different shapes to fit

your face and should be purchased based on the size of your face – not by age, as this can result in a poor

seal around the eyes that reduces protection from chemicals splashing into them during use. Lab safety

glasses are much cheaper than lab goggles ($0-$20) and can be purchased online or at your local hardware

store.

Lab Aprons: Lab aprons are also disposable and can be purchased from the university bookstore or

departmental stores. Lab aprons come in different sizes to fit your body shape, but should not be worn for

extended periods of time as they have been known to cause skin irritation due to prolonged contact with

latex lab gloves.

Having Proper Airflow In Your Lab

ventilation ducts system of industrial building
Ventilation ducts system of industrial buiding

Lab equipment may be covered in residue after it

has been used to stir, mix, or heat chemical

compounds. This can result in hazardous gases

being released into the air and away from the

point of origin if there is not proper airflow

throughout the lab space. Lab ventilation systems

should always be operating at full capacity when

chemicals are mixed as part of the lab process.

Lab ventilation systems should also be working

when heat is applied to chemical compounds or

biological specimens, as this can result in dangerous off-gassing if proper precautions are not taken.

The best way to prevent harmful chemicals from entering your airways at home or school is by properly

ventilating instruments after they have been used for lab work. Lab ventilation systems should always be

working at full capacity when chemicals are mixed together as part of the lab process, and also when heat

is applied to chemical compounds or biological specimens.

Cleaning Lab Surfaces

person in labcoat cleaning and disinfecting surface of wooden table with disinfecting spray
Person in labcoat cleaning and disinfecting surface of wooden table with disinfecting spray

Lab surfaces should be disinfected regularly with

a disinfectant solution or bleach water to prevent

the spread of microorganisms and viruses that

may cause illnesses. There are several ways to

clean Lab surfaces, including:

Bleach solution: Lab equipment that is made of plastic or metal can be cleaned with a bleach and water

solution. You should use one part bleach and nine parts water in the mixture. Lab worktops and benches

should be wiped down with this mixture at least once per day even if lab equipment is cleaned before each

use. Lab surfaces should be left to air-dry after the bleach solution has been applied and allowed to sit

for at least 30 seconds.

Disinfectant solutions: Lab equipment that is made of glass, plastic, or metal can also be cleaned with

disinfectants such as ethanol (ethyl alcohol), iodine tincture (povidone-iodine), or hydrogen peroxide. Lab

surfaces should be cleaned with these solutions at least once per week to prevent the spread of germs

and viruses that cause illnesses such as the flu, food poisoning, pneumonia, and pink eye/conjunctivitis

(pink eye).

Wet wipes: Lab equipment that is made of plastic or glass can also be wiped down with wet wipes. Lab

surfaces should not have excess water running off the surface, so it would only take a single wipe to clean

them completely. Wet wipes are typically used when cleaning up after experiments in which chemicals may

have been spilled on lab worktops and benches. Lab surfaces should be left to air-dry after wet wipes

have been applied. Lab equipment that is made of metal should not be cleaned with wet wipes as these

can damage the surface.

Disinfect Lab Surfaces

worker from decontamination services wearing ppe including suit, face shield and mask. He uses disinfectant to spray and clean scientist lab
Worker from decontamination services wearing ppe including suit, face shield and mask. He uses disinfectant to spray and clean scientist lab

Disinfecting lab surfaces is an important part of

keeping a clean laboratory. Lab surfaces should

be cleaned first to remove loose material,

followed by disinfection with either alcohol wipes

or bleach solution on work areas and countertops 

after leaving the lab for the day. You may also

want to use paper towels dipped in diluted

dishwashing liquid mixed with water (a 0.25%

solution of dishwashing liquid) to wipe down work

surfaces and door handles/handles before leaving

the lab for the day.

Cleaning Lab Equipment

laboratory glassware cleaning process
Laboratory glassware cleaning process

Equipment should be cleaned with soapy water or

a disinfectant solution after each use. Lab

surfaces that are made of plastic, glass, or metal

can also be wiped down with bleach-water

(a mixture of one part chlorine bleach and nine

parts tap water) to prevent the spread of germs

and viruses that cause illnesses such as the flu,

food poisoning, pneumonia, and

pink eye/conjunctivitis (pink eye).

Disinfect Lab Equipment

Procedure to cleaning medical equipment with UltraSonic machine

Glassware and Lab equipment made of metal

should be washed with hot water and soap before

disinfection. Lab equipment like these items will

need to soak for at least one hour in a bleach

solution or alcohol wipes after they have been

cleaned. After this, make sure all surfaces of the lab instrument are dry before using it again. Lab

instruments that cannot be immersed in a bleach solution or alcohol wipes can be disinfected with an

ultraviolet (UV) lamp. Lab equipment like centrifuges should never come into contact with bleach because it

will damage the rotor and other internal components of the machine.

Steps for Cleaning Laboratory Glassware

portrait of team of doctors in protective uniforms and masks looking at camera while working during coronavirus pandemic

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

Person wearing in gloves cleaning and washing glass flasks with water in laboratory

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.

Use the following steps to thoroughly clean laboratory glassware:

1. Remove residue

2. Clean with a cleaning solution

3. Rinse with deionized water

4. Allow glassware to dry

You can use these steps to clean most types of lab glassware, including beakers, flasks, test tubes,

graduated cylinders, and pipettes. If your project involves culture media, petri dishes, or other

contaminated glass, you should sterilize the equipment before cleaning. Sterilize equipment in a pot of

boiling water containing 1% dish soap. Boil for 30 minutes and rinse with tap water before cleaning using

the following steps.

1. Use Acetone or Ethanol to Remove Residues

Remove the residue before cleaning the

glassware. You may need to use a brush to get rid

of sticky or hard residue on the glass. Use

acetone or ethanol to rinse the glassware and

wash away the residue. Remove the residue

before cleaning the glassware. You may need to

use a brush to get rid of sticky or hard residue on

the glass. Use acetone or ethanol to rinse the

glassware and wash away the residue. Acetone is

a common choice due to its effectiveness at

acetone - premium acs grade, 12oz - the curated chemical brand
Acetone - Premium ACS Grade, 12oz - The Curated Chemical Brand

removing water-soluble material from surfaces, including paint. While acetone is not a volatile organic

compound (VOC), you should still wear gloves when removing the residue before cleaning the glassware.

You may need to use a brush to get rid of sticky or hard residue on the glass. Use acetone or ethanol to

rinse the glassware and wash away the residue. Acetone is a common choice due to its effectiveness

at removing water-soluble material from surfaces, including paint. While acetone is not a volatile

organic compound (VOC), you should still wear gloves and eye protection when using it to clean

glassware. Ethanol is also suitable for eliminating residue from glassware. It does not contain any

minerals and evaporates quickly without leaving any additional residue. If you do not have acetone or

ethanol, thoroughly rinse the glassware under running tap water. Fill the glassware, shake it, and empty it

at least half a dozen times. You may not need to use acetone or ethanol to clean every piece of glassware.

You can typically clean pipettes, burets, stirring rods, and other small items with just soapy water and tap

water.

2. Wash or Scrub Glassware with a Solution

After removing residue, wash the glassware with

a cleaning solution or soapy water. A commercial

cleaning solution includes compounds that can

neutralize a wide range of of contaminants.

Household dish soaps and cleaning powders

designed for Use brushes designed for cleaning

bottles and glassware. Consider getting a set of

food-grade bottle brushes. Having a set of

brushes of varying sizes and lengths ensures that

you can find the right brush for each flask or

kleenite kleen machine glassware cleaner, dishwasher detergent, 16 oz. (83272008165) , white
Kleenite Kleen Machine Glassware Cleaner, Dishwasher Detergent, 16 oz. (83272008165) , White

pipette. Do not use severely worn brushes. The spine of the brush may scratch the interior of the glass.

Scratches decrease the strength of the glass, increasing the risk of it breaking during cleaning or an

experiment. Use warm tap water and a small amount of the cleaning solution or soap that you choose.

Brush the inside of the glassware. Thoroughly scrub around the bottom, neck, and lip of the glass, as the

residue is more likely to collect around the curves. If you notice residue that you cannot reach with the

brush, you may need to soak the glassware. Soak one piece at a time to avoid cracking the glass. Place the

glass in a tub with a solvent, such as acetone. Allow the glassware to sit for at least 30 minutes before

attempting to rinse clean with warm water.

3. Use Deionized Water to Rinse Glassware

After washing with a cleaning solution or soapy

water, rinse the glassware under tap water.

Rinse most of the soapsuds away before rinsing

with deionized water. Deionized water helps

eliminate water stains or buildup from hard

water. Rinsing with deionized water also

allows you to determine whether the glassware is

thoroughly clean. When you pour deionized water

on clean glass, the water should run evenly down

the side in a smooth sheet. Small breaks in the

sheet indicate that the glassware still contains

residue or debris. Repeat the previous steps and

try rinsing with deionized water again.

havenlab deionized water - demineralized-1 gallon purification softener for washing & cleaning, automotive battery cooling, laboratory equipment
HAVENLAB Deionized Water - Demineralized-1 Gallon Purification Softener for Washing & Cleaning, Automotive Battery Cooling, Laboratory Equipment

4. Allow Glassware to Dry

Drying glassware with paper towels or cloth

towels introduces impurities, such as dust and

fibers from the towel. Either allow the glassware

to air dry or use a small amount of acetone to

speed the drying process. Pour several millimeters

of acetone into the glassware, swirl, and dump.

Set clean glassware on a shelf to dry before

storing it in an enclosed space.

simpli-magc cotton set, towels, 24x46, white, 6 count
SIMPLI-MAGIC Cotton Set, Towels, 24x46, White, 6 Count

How to Remove Greasy Residue from Lab Glassware

A scientist with a pipette analyzes a colored liquid to extract the DNA and molecules in the test tubes
Person waering gloves cleaning and washing glass flasks with water in Science Lab

If your experiment leaves a greasy residue on the

glassware, attempt to remove it in an acetone

solution. Soak the glassware in a bin with acetone

and hot water. After soaking the glassware, clean

it with soapy water and a brush. Rinse with

acetone and deionized water. If the deionized

water does not run smoothly along the surface of

the glass, try soaking in acetone a second time.

You can also remove grease by soaking the

glassware in a weak solution of water and sodium

carbonate. Bring the solution to a boil and add the glassware. Allow the water to boil for 5 to 10 minutes

before removing the glass. Rinse the glass under warm water until you can safely handle it. Rinse it with 

water and a brush. Rinse with acetone and deionized water. If the deionized water does not run

smoothly along the surface of the glass, try soaking in acetone a second time. You can also remove grease

by soaking the glassware in a weak solution of water and sodium carbonate. Bring the solution to a boil

and add the glassware. Allow the water to boil for 5 to 10 minutes before removing the glass. Rinse the

glass under warm water until you can safely handle it. Rinse it with acetone and allow it to dry.

Steps for Cleaning Stainless Steel Lab Equipment

hand in protective glove with rag cleaning stainless steel surface

While most of your lab equipment may include various types of glassware, you also likely have stainless

steel equipment. Cleaning stainless steel involves slightly different steps:

1. Rinse equipment with tap water

2. Clean with soapy water and a brush

3. Rinse equipment with distilled water

4. Rinse with acetone and ethanol

If you need to clean glass and stainless steel equipment, clean the glass first. Cleaning stuck-on residue

from glass is more difficult compared to removing debris from stainless-steel equipment. You could also

place the stainless steel utensils in a bin with soapy water to soak while you clean the glassware.

1. Rinse Equipment with Tap Water

Rinse stainless steel equipment with hot tap

water to remove debris and residue from your lab

projects. Use caution when handling sharp

instruments.

person wearing gloves cleaning and washing glass flasks with water in laboratory 2
Person wearing gloves cleaning and washing glass flasks with water in laboratory 2

2. Clean with Soapy Water and a Brush

Clean your equipment with soapy water. You can

use regular dish soap. To avoid wasting water,

you can fill a sink or bin with hot water and add

dish soap. Place the utensils in the water. Remove

the items one at a time and scrub with a brush.

Use a soft bristle brush to avoid scratching

the stainless steel.

cleaning a test tube with a brush
Cleaning a test tube with a brush

3. Rinse Equipment with Distilled Water

Clean your equipment with soapy water. You can

use regular dish soap. To avoid wasting water,

you can fill a sink or bin with hot water and add

dish soap. Place the utensils in the water. Remove

the items one at a time and scrub with a brush.

Use a soft bristle brush to avoid scratching the

stainless steel.

Young student in smock cleaning test tube

4. Rinse with Acetone and Ethanol

Rinse the equipment with acetone. Pour a small

amount of acetone into a bin and add the

stainless-steel utensils and tools. Swish the water

around and dump it. The acetone helps remove

any remaining traces of  organic residue, including

soap residue.You can also rinse the equipment

with ethanol. Ethanol sterilizes the equipment

and kills bacteria.

A bottle of ethanol with its chemical structure on a lab bench

Conclusion

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 your lab surfaces and bench. Keeping up with this cleaning routine ensures that your lab

equipment is always ready for use.

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