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.