Saluting Mass Spectrometry Award Winners at Upcoming Pittcon

Pittcon (the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy) happens in Philadelphia March 17–21. QuietBench will be there with information on our IonBenches, as will a number of luminaries in the fields of chromatography and mass Spectrometry. This is your chance to talk in person about our dedicated lab furniture.

The LCGC Lifetime Achievement in Chromatography Award

This year’s Pittcon will honor Milos Novotny of Indiana University with a lifetime achievement award. A major contributor to advancements in the field of chromatography, Novotny developed a world-class research program that trains the next generation of leaders. We’ve designed our moveable IonBench LC to support their efforts—and yours—with adjustable height ranges and the capacity to handle up to 500 kg of heavy weight, such as tandem processes, on a single piece of dedicated lab furniture.

The Pittcon Heritage Award

Dedicated lab furniture is not the only critical element that supports leaders such as Novotny. Without reliable, quality consumables, lab processes would grind to a halt and comparative analyses would falter. Over fifty years ago, Walter Supina and Nicholas Pelick founded Supelco to provide researchers with columns, standards, reagents, and accessories to keep their work moving forward. Pittcon will honor these pioneers who anticipated that, as chromatography grew, solving emerging analytical challenges required specific and dedicated tools.

Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award

This award will be presented to a retiring professor of chemistry at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. Yukihiro (Yuki) Ozaki focused four decades of applying various types of spectroscopy. We believe that dedicated lab furniture should support his work—and others like it—and we strive to make our lab benches last for as long as his tenure.

LCGC Emerging Leader in Chromatography Award

Finally, we know that fields such as chromatography always evolve, and this year, Pittcon leaders will present their Emerging Leader award to Ken Broeckhoven of Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Broeckhoven’s research optimizes separation performance, and his efforts have resulted in over sixty published papers and forty talks. His focus on the fundamentals of chromatography reminds us of the need for a strong foundation—such as the one you will find in every IonBench.

If you’re coming to Pittcon, look for us. We’ll be exhibiting, along with our sister company MS Noise, at booth 2158. Discover why our IonBenches are so strong under pressure and so innovative in the constantly changing fields of mass spectrometry and chromatography. To set up an appointment or if you can’t make the conference, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Why Everyday Noises Impact Lab Safety

We frequently point out the risks of a noisy lab environment. But workplace noise is only part of the exposure we all get daily. You see, we all encounter a variety of noise sources every day.

The total amount of noise you experience outside the lab on a given day will impact the amount your body can endure inside the lab. Thus, lab safety must take into account the bigger picture.

OSHA Guidelines and Lab Safety Parameters

As we’ve discussed before, OSHA recommends an exposure to noise safety levels of no more than 85 dBA during an eight-hour period. However, the recommended maximum exposure level limit drops exponentially as the noise volume increases. This means that lab safety parameters for a noise exposure level of 110 dBA would be only for a duration of one minute and 29 seconds. Obviously, noise exposure at such high levels, while rare in labs, cannot be a sustainable feature of any workplace.

Mounting dBA Exposure with Everyday Noises

To give you a sense of the scope of the issue, let’s consider what a morning routine for a worker might be like. They are awakened by an alarm clock (65-80 dBA), grind their morning coffee beans (70-80 dBA) and boil water in a whistling teakettle (80), then shower and blow-dry their hair (60-95) and/or use an electric razor (50-80). This means, before they’ve even left the house, they’ve been exposed to multiple minutes of noise that is near or above the OSHA recommendation.

When your employees leave the house, it just gets worse. Heavy traffic is rated at 85 dBA, while the subway is rated between 90-115. Encountering a jackhammer in road construction will expose them to 130 and the siren of a passing ambulance will add another 120. By the time they reach work, their ears, brain and heart have already been exposed to significant amounts of noise.

Here are some additional common noise levels that can impact employees in your lab:

Home
•       TV audio – 70
•       Garbage disposal – 70-95
•       Flush toilet – 75-85
•       Doorbell – 80
•       Food processor – 80-90
•       Blender – 80-90
•       Garbage disposal – 80-95
•       Baby crying – 110
Work
•       Quiet office, library – 40
•       Large office or lab – 50
•       power lawn mower–65-95
•       Manual tools – 80
•       Handsaw – 85
•       Jet plane (at ramp) – 120
•       Chainsaw – 125
•       Air raid siren – 130
Other
•       Noisy restaurant – 85
•       Shouted conversation – 90
•       Motorcycle – 95-100
•       Symphony concert – 110
•       Car horn – 110
•       Rock concert 110-120
•       Walkman/MP3 Player – 112
•       Football game – 117

Preventing Noise Level Overload in Your Lab

Obviously, with so much noise around us at all times, it’s critical for lab safety and employee health to minimize noise in your lab. This is why we have integrated multiple noise-reducing factors into our IonBench MS. Our vacuum pump enclosures guarantee a noise-reduction level of 15 dBA. Our dedicated lab furniture is vibration-free and our cooling fans are isolated and quiet.

If you’re ready to focus on lab safety and cut down on cumulative noise exposure, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233 to learn more about our dedicated lab furniture.

2018 Lab Design of the Year Winner Includes Many Innovations

The annual international Laboratory of the Year Awards recognize “excellence in research laboratory design, planning and construction.” In this post, we salute the facility that was awarded 2018 Laboratory of the Year and discuss how some elements of its design philosophy integrate seamlessly with our mission to provide the best in dedicated lab furniture that fits into any lab design.

And the Winner Is: CJ Blossom Park

The 2018 award was given to South Korea’s CJ Blossom Park. The architects, CannonDesign, created a three-tower flower-petal shape that represents and houses the three formerly separate and still distinct science divisions within CJ Corporation. This R&D headquarters allows for cross-operational collaboration, centralized administration, and the inclusion of a number of stress-lowering features for employees that are designed to prevent burnout.

A Lab Design Philosophy of Science without Stress

Key to many elements within this lab design is a recognition that stress is a constant factor in modern life. One of CJ Corporation’s goals is to attract and retain the next generation of young scientists. Created in collaboration with CannonDesign, the resulting lab design incorporates not just innovative laboratories and workspaces but almost 50 different types of amenities that take up 10% of the total square footage of the building complex. These facilities include a library, fitness rooms and a spa, sleeping pods, coffee shops, and a café.

The facilities include a variety of elements designed to bring nature into the building. There is an indoor “living forest” that can be viewed from inside the laboratories and a multistory, calming water garden on the bottom floors. The landscaped grounds sit adjacent to a park that provides glimpses of trees and a grassy hillside from many portions of the facility.

Incorporating the Best Dedicated Lab Furniture, Features, and Flexibility

All of this is nice, but would not be of much value if the working lab features weren’t also well-designed. The facility uses a universal lab bench design and size, which we have previously noted is an efficient and flexible solution to frequently changing processes and procedures. Each piece of its dedicated lab furniture is serviced from an overhead boom that provides power, data, and lab gasses.

The three petals/towers are designed to maximize available natural light for the lab segments as a whole. CannonDesign used advanced barometric monitoring to track the sun’s movement around the facility, then created a lab design that maximizes use of natural daylight. It saved energy and cost by separating ambient lighting from more focused, powerful (and expensive) task lighting, which can be moved in conjunction with the dedicated lab furniture when layouts need to be reconfigured.

Lab design innovations can provide valuable efficiencies to any modern lab. This is why we take note of awards such as Laboratory of the Year. We applaud the winning lab’s innovations and look forward to supporting other labs by sharing ideas on how to utilize our dedicated lab furniture in their lab design plans. For more information, contact Tim Hawkins today via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Tales from the Lab: Investing in Lab Safety with Specially Designed Refrigerators and Freezers

In our ongoing quest to make labs safer, there is a culprit that is found in some labs that has no business being used for anything. We’re referring to a standard refrigerator.

A typical refrigerator, while great for storing snacks, lunch and soda, is not designed to withstand lab storage needs. There are numerous documented cases of lab safety accidents that have occurred when flammable materials with a flash point below 100°F are stored in a common refrigerator. Often, in these incidents, vapors escape, a spark ignites them, high pressure builds quickly and dramatically, and an explosion occurs, causing up to thousands of dollars in damage and the potential for human injury or even death.

Typical Lab Safety Refrigerator and Freezer Accidents

A few examples will suffice to make our point. In the first, tubes of petroleum ether were stored in a household freezer. The tubes were not well sealed and enough petroleum ether evaporated to surpass the low explosive limit of about 1.0%. When an internal component let off a spark, causing the freezer to detonate, damage to the lab and equipment was well over $250,000.

In the second example, a university research lab explosion was caused when vapors escaping a container of flammable liquid found an ignition source inside of a household refrigerator. The fridge latch failed, the door blew across the room, windows were broken, and the contents of the refrigerator were scattered across the room, presumably causing damage to several ongoing projects.

In each case, no humans were hurt because no one was in the room at the time of the lab safety accident. This was fortunate, but certainly cannot be guaranteed.

The Hidden Danger of Common Refrigerators and Freezers

Standard household-rated refrigerators and freezers are never acceptable storage options for flammable materials. This goes without saying, but simply labeling household appliances as unfit for flammable storage has also not proven to be sufficient either.

Refrigerators and freezers can operate for 20 to 30 years, often being moved from one lab and lab supervisor to another. Promises made by the purchaser not to use the item for flammable storage can be forgotten, or lab techs in a hurry can decide to store those materials in the closest appliance “for just one night”—with potentially costly consequences. It’s, therefore, much smarter to avoid standard refrigerator and freezer use for any purpose (even snacks and lunch) in a laboratory.

The Importance of Investing in Dedicated Refrigerators and Freezers

Fortunately for lab safety, there are flammable-materials-storage refrigerators and freezers designed specifically for labs. With these appliances, all potential ignition sources for flammable vapors are located outside the cooling portion of the unit. These units are prominently labeled as being safe for flammable storage. (There are also explosion-proof refrigerators and freezers that isolate ignition sources from both outside and inside the unit. They are designed for labs where flammable gases or vapors are present in the labs themselves for extended periods of time.)

The Importance of Investing in Dedicated Lab Furniture

Certainly, investing in lab safety is a high priority for everyone. Dedicated cold storage is only one way to insure it. Dedicated lab furniture like the IonBench MS, which safely supports and transports heavy equipment and isolates vacuum pump noise below acceptable levels is another. Our IonBench LC also safely raises and lowers instruments for safe and easy access. To learn more about the lab safety features of our dedicated lab furniture, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

More Mass Spectrometry Making a Difference

We periodically acknowledge advances and discoveries made with mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography. We know that often good work builds on previous foundations, which is why we provide a strong foundation for all mass specs with our dedicated lab furniture. In this post, we look at three innovations making a difference around the world.

Mass Spectrometry Aids in Determining Olive and Olive-Oil Safety

One ongoing issue with mass spectrometry is the harmful presence of lipids in samples that complicates the analysis of fatty foods. Researchers in Spain developed a novel analytical process that uses aminopropyl as a sorbent material and a Florisil cleanup in the elution step. These researchers used mass spectrometry twice—first GC-MS in SIM mode and then LC-MS-MS in positive ionization mode—to collect usable recoveries, which efficiently tested pesticide and herbicide levels in olives and olive oil. The development of this key process met newer, more stringent regulations regarding maximum contaminant levels set for olives and olive oil by the European Union and the United Nation’s Codex Alimentarius Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Quantifying Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Another methodology developed in the European Union determined and quantified nineteen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Exposure to PAHs has been linked to multiple types of cancer; the EU prioritized fifteen of those nineteen PAHs for monitoring. A group of French researchers met the challenge and developed a process to determine PAHs in food and oil samples. The selective extraction of GC and tandem mass spectrometry, along with an isotope-dilution approach using 13C-labelled PAHs, provided greatly purified analytes. The methodology was quick and automated and provided high levels of sensitivity, selectivity, and interpretation.

Recording and Evaluating Mass Spectra in Their Native Environment

The ability to record mass spectra in ordinary samples in their native environment has been a holy grail for mass spectrometry. Researchers at Purdue University stepped toward this goal by developing ambient mass spectrometry. Using desorption electrospray ionization, they directed electrically charged droplets at the object of interest and then vacuumed up the released ions into the MS; rapid analysis took place on-site. Multiple uses for portable mass specs include explosives detection, natural-products discovery, and biological-tissue imaging.

Each of these examples demonstrate how researchers continue innovating applications of mass spectrometry that address real-world challenges. We celebrate these achievements and look forward to learning about more ways that mass spectrometry makes a difference.

Our IonBench dedicated lab furniture can be customized for each make and model of mass spec and HPLC so that researchers can focus on science and not on the inadequate support of their lab tables. To learn more about how our lab benches can be a firm foundation for your innovative work, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

What an Airline Can Teach You about Lab Design and Dedicated Lab Furniture

Sometimes a lesson learned in one industry can easily be applied to another. The recent passing of Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher brought much attention to his progressive thinking. We saw an older article about the airline that sparked some inspiring thought on our part, so we thought we’d share the idea.

It turns out that Southwest Airlines has a wise business philosophy that applies to lab design and the purchasing of dedicated lab furniture.

What Makes Southwest Airlines Special

So, what caught our attention in this article? We noticed that Southwest Airlines’ focus on a single type of airplane makes good business sense in a variety of ways.

By exclusively using Boeing 737s, Southwest only needs to train mechanics on inspecting and repairing, and pilots on flying, a single type of plane. They only need to order and keep a single set of spare parts on hand. They can swap out airplanes at any time, for any reason, without worrying that their crew in a certain city can’t handle the plane if something needs attention before it returns to home base.

How strong is their commitment to this business model? When Southwest purchased AirTran, they leased all AirTran’s other types and models of planes to other airlines, rather than expanding their own fleet. They then used those funds to keep their current business model thriving.

Why This Business Model Works

Think about it for a moment: if you only need to train users on a single type of machine, training takes less time and money. If one mechanic or pilot is out sick, another can easily step in, because they all have the same expertise. Mechanics are also more likely to notice problems because they’re used to seeing each part of each plane looking the same; if something is out of line, they’ll notice right away.

Southwest Airlines also saves big on that inventory of spare parts. Not only do they intentionally limit the types of parts they need to have on hand, they can also order in bulk and receive significant discounts as a result.

How Does This Apply to Lab Design and Dedicated Lab Furniture?

If you’re designing a new lab or renovating an existing facility, it’s best if everything can work well together too. If you purchase dedicated lab furniture from a number of manufacturers, they might not interface as cleanly. Different lab benches might have different heights or widths, hoses might not connect through the same part of the furniture, or the power supply might be located on different sides.

Consistency with design and operation also matters if you need a flexible lab design with lots of moving parts. With a single brand of dedicated lab furniture (and especially if it features industrial-strength caster wheels like IonBench), you can easily move people and processes around your lab without needing to instruct staff on how to use the different benches. Plus, if you buy an attractive line of benches (again, like IonBench), they just all look great in your lab.

Bulk purchasing can also work with dedicated lab furniture. If you’re outfitting a new lab design from scratch, ordering all your benches from one dedicated specialist can save you money in volume discounts, delivery, and time you would otherwise have spent negotiating with a variety of manufacturers.

So are you working up a new lab design? Is it time to upgrade your fleet of dedicated lab furniture? Reach out to Tim Hawkins today (at 1-888-669-1233 or via email) and he can help you see why choosing a single type of dedicated lab furniture is a sound investment.

Tales from the Lab: Lab Safety and Cleaning Your Dedicated Lab Furniture

Periodically, we post about lab accidents as part of our mission to promote lab safety and its connection to our line of dedicated lab furniture. Seldom, however, does a lab safety accident occur that dovetails with our previous posts in such a clear and compelling fashion as this one. In this case, a lab accident, which fortunately wasn’t disastrous, clearly illustrates the need to carefully and completely follow cleaning protocol.

What Happened?

This incident involved a researcher was preparing his lab for sterile work by wiping down his lab bench with a diluted mix of ethanol. We outline this process in this post about keeping your dedicated lab furniture sparkling clean. This researcher used the correct 70% ethanol mixture and a paper towel, as we outline in our instructions.

Unfortunately, he did not dispose of the paper towel properly when he was finished. Instead, he left it sitting on an adjacent desk. After letting the lab bench dry, he lit a Bunsen burner on the bench. The fumes from the paper towel were close enough that it caught fire when he lit the burner.

The researcher acted quickly, using a handy beaker and water to extinguish the flames. This, unfortunately, generated enough smoke to set off the fire alarm. He properly cleaned up the area and evacuated the lab, seeking out fire responders to let them know what had happened, and that the situation had been contained and resolved.

What Else This Lab Safety Accident Revealed

Naturally, there was an investigation of the incident and what could be learned from the mistakes that were made. The researcher used water, but smothering the flames is recommended. The researcher was wearing a plain white lab coat, not a flame-resistant lab coat. As a result, new lab safety procedures were put in place to require a flame-resistant coat when working with flammable materials and Bunsen burners. A fire safety drill was performed to remind all staff of appropriate protocol and procedures.

What Lessons Were Learned about Cleaning Dedicated Lab Furniture

Additional suggestions and precautions are revealed by this lab safety accident. If ethanol catches fire, it should be smothered with a dry cloth. Your dedicated lab furniture, as well as any other furniture in the vicinity, should be examined for flammable materials before lighting a Bunsen burner. After cleaning your lab bench, make certain all ethanol has evaporated before proceeding with any further tasks. Make certain all ethanol has evaporated from your gloves as well—or, better yet, properly dispose of the gloves and the paper towel used after you clean your lab bench. Only then should you proceed with handling any burners or flammable materials.

As we noted in our prior post, ethanol is both an effective and a cost-effective cleaner. However, it is only a good cleaner for your dedicated lab furniture when it is used properly. When you make lab safety is your primary objective, and focus clearly on the tasks at hand, you can maintain a safe work environment and avoid lab safety accidents like the one above.

We make lab safety our primary objective with many elements of our IonBench MS, including strong caster wheels for safe movement and accessibility, vacuum pump enclosures to reduce noise, and a rough pump overheat protection alarm. To learn more about the safety features of our IonBenches, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

More Lab Design Tips for a Functional Workspace

Every lab has its own unique set of specs and of challenges, but there are some principles at play that everyone can benefit from understanding. Here are five more tips to create functional lab workspaces.

1.    Synchronize Your Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical

No lab design is complete without making all the right connections. We mentioned last time the importance of ensuring proper ventilation. The same is true of the other building-wide systems that will interact with your lab. Coordinate with plumbing to make certain pipes don’t interfere with the placement of your dedicated lab furniture.

Place electrical outlets where needed, both for current configurations and possible future reorganizations of your equipment. Modern architectural programs even include clash-detection programs; use them to make certain you are designing the best possible layout for wired and connected equipment.

2.    Keep Your Lab Cool

All working machines produce heat, so another consideration in the lab design phase is where heat will be generated and whether there is sufficient cooling appropriately placed. If not, you run the risk of shortening the life of your instruments — or even outright damaging them — as well as making your lab an uncomfortable place to work.

3.    Plan Safe Storage into Your Lab Design

Avoid the dangerous possibility of lab techs using fume hoods as storage spots (we’ve all seen it!). Make certain you order sufficient dedicated lab furniture of the appropriate types for secure storage of hazardous chemicals and gases. Plan placement of your storage units to avoid the possibility of cross-contamination and for efficient workflow.

4.    Invest in Flexible Dedicated Lab Furniture

It can be frustrating to need to rearrange your lab — but it’s inevitable. Processes and priorities change, instruments are upgraded, and new protocols are put in place. Make this easier on yourself by investing in movable dedicated lab furniture whenever possible. Our IonBenches come with superior strength caster wheels, making moving easier even with heavy equipment. Purchasing a height-adjustable lab bench allows you to easily connect your HPLC with a new and differently configured mass spec.

5.    Check all Clearances

No, we’re not talking about security clearances here, though that might also need to be part of some lab design specs. Here we’re talking about the space you need to maneuver your dedicated lab furniture around your facility. Is there enough clearance to get a certain lab bench through a doorway, down a hallway, or around a corner? Review every possible pathway for your instruments and ancillary machinery, from an entry point to your building, all the way to each lab that might use that piece of equipment. This way, you will ensure that any instrument can be moved or removed as needed.

If you have questions or want more tips on how to set up the perfect lab with dedicated lab benches, contact Tim Hawkins now at 1-888-669-1233 or by email.

Lab Design Tips for a Functional Workspace: Part 1

We all know that a poorly designed engine will not perform efficiently. The same is true with lab design. Awkward layouts, incompatible pieces of dedicated lab furniture, and tight or wasted space can all affect the efficiency of your processes. Here are five lab design tips to create functional lab workspaces.

1.    Get Everyone on Board

No lab is going to function at its best if all stakeholders are not involved in its design. Begin with an all-hands-on-deck kickoff meeting, but don’t let it end there. Keep people at all levels of the organization involved throughout the lab design process. Encourage additional input. In fact, invite staff to think about processes as they work and talk with maintenance concerning what does and doesn’t work smoothly after lab techs have left for the day. Brainstorming new solutions to existing problems can ensure a more efficient work environment for the long haul.

2.    Start Your Lab Design with a Focus on Control Areas

One key component of a successful lab design is appropriate separation of hazardous and combustible materials. List all current chemicals used, but also brainstorm where research and trajectories are taking your lab processes, so that you can control chemical interactions in the future as well as with current projects. Include careful consideration of code and safety requirements as well. Be certain to design storage areas to meet your needs and be sure to purchase sufficient dedicated lab furniture for the safe storage of all types of hazardous chemicals.

3.    Size Your Space to Meet Present and Future Needs

If you’ve ever worked in an older lab, you know how frustrating it can be when the footprint of your equipment has grown, necessitating larger and more complex lab furniture. Often, the space becomes crowded and staff find it difficult to navigate safely through cramped work areas. When creating a new lab design, allow plenty of space for not just any lab furniture, but the latest, safest dedicated lab benches that can account for the maneuvering on heavy-duty caster wheels (such as our IonBenches) for an HPLC or other peripheral machines that are used episodically or need to be repositioned throughout the lab.

4.    Organize Your Space to Ensure Proper Ventilation

Modern HVAC systems can pull quite a bit of air through a space. This can be a boon for proper ventilation—or a nightmare if improperly installed. Make certain that lab pressurization will meet safety standards. Ensure that the location of fume hoods and live flames will not intersect with HVAC systems in such a way as to cause fumes to escape containment, and potentially spread throughout your building or the HVAC system, blowing out or suddenly expanding a live flame, which would result in a dangerous lab accident.

5.    Get a Complete and Comprehensive Equipment List

Another reason for involving all stakeholders in your lab design (see tip #1 above) is the need to get a comprehensive equipment list. Once you know all the equipment that must be place in your lab design, you can design a complete layout and work with a dedicated lab furniture vendor like us to install lab benches and ancillary furniture that will support each workstation in your new lab design.

This is why we encourage you to contact Tim Hawkins now via email or at 1-888-669-1233. He can discuss the importance of consistency provided by installing dedicated lab furniture from a single vendor that will integrate seamlessly to support lab processes.

Also, stay tuned for our next post, which will share five more tips for designing a functional lab workspace.

Keeping Dedicated Lab Furniture Sparkling Clean without Breaking the Bank

There are many ways that you can successfully extend the life of your lab benches. We have made recommendations before about how to properly care for your dedicated lab furniture and regularly clean the benches that hold your mass spectrometer and HPLC. This article focuses on an easy, cost-saving way to regularly clean without needing to purchase a handful of fancy products.

Clean Your Dedicated Lab Furniture Before Every Experiment and After Every Spill

We often hear people saying that time is of the essence — but that doesn’t mean you should skip cleaning your lab benches. Little can be more wasteful of time and money than a contaminated process or lab safety issue. This is why you should clean your dedicated lab furniture before every experiment or new process and after every spill or accident. In other words, as your mother might have taught you, clean early and often.

An Inexpensive Cleaning Solution for Your Dedicated Lab Furniture

While there are lots of specialized sanitizing solutions on the market, sometimes that’s not what’s required to keep your mass spectrometer lab bench properly clean. When it comes to sanitation, sometimes basic, familiar, relatively inexpensive products can do the job of expensive brand name cleaners. In this case, we recommend two diluted solutions: one of bleach, the other of ethanol.

To prepare the solutions, mix one-part bleach with nine-parts water in one container. In a second container, mix seven parts ethanol with three parts water. (You can safely store these solutions for later use, making cleanup a breeze.)

An Easy Process for Cleaning Your Mass Spectrometer and HPLC Benches

Once you have your solutions in place, the process for cleaning is straightforward.

First, if you have long hair, tie it back, out of the way. Also, secure or remove any dangling jewelry and ID lanyards. While these solutions might be simple, they are not necessarily kind to fine metals and plastics.

Second, put on latex gloves (or your non-allergenic alternative).

Third, remove all loose items from the mass spectrometer and HPLC benches. This includes pipettes, test tubes, beakers along with notes, pens, and anything else that has collected on your bench and shouldn’t be on the work surface anyway.

Fourth, take a paper towel, dip it in the diluted bleach solution, lightly squeeze it out, and use the paper towel to thoroughly wipe all surfaces of the bench.

Fifth, take a paper towel, dip it in the diluted ethanol solution, lightly squeeze it out, and use the paper towel to thoroughly wipe all surfaces of the bench.

Sixth, let the dedicated lab furniture dry thoroughly. While you wait, take the paper towel from the bleach solution and use it to wipe the bottoms (and, where appropriate, other surfaces) of those pipettes, test tubes, and beakers.

Seventh, finish the job correctly. Once the bench is dry, return your loose items to the clean lab bench. Close and store your bleach and ethanol solutions for use next time. Dispose of your gloves in a proper container.

Now you are ready to safely begin another process or experiment.

If you have any questions about cleaning your dedicated lab furniture, please contact lab bench expert Tim Hawkins at 1-888-669-1233 or by email.