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Cleaning And Drying Glassware

Good lab practices require the use of clean glassware.  Glass must be both physically and chemically clean; even sterile for many cases.  Most of the glassware accidents take place during cleaning.  Following are some important reminders to wash and dry glassware:

  • Personal protective equipments, especially eye protection  goggles and chemically resistant gloves should be worn during washing.  
  • After using, glassware should be washed as quickly as possible.  As the glassware left unwashed longer, it takes long time to clean.  If necessary, use harder cleaning apparatus and keep and leave glassware in soapy water.  
  • Do not overload sinks, dishwashers, or soaking bins.  
  • Keep glassware clear of the sides of the sink. 
  • Do not use worn out brushes as they may scratch the glass.
  • In case if you need to use caustic for cleaning purposes, it is advised to ask help from an experienced lab user in the safe usage of caustic cleaning agents, especially prior to using aqua-regia, chromic acid or other reactive solutions.
  • Leave glassware drying on towels, lined basket, or slip-resistant pads.  Place glassware away from the edge of the bench.  Large containers may be hung on pegs to dry.
  • Pipettes and tips may be cleaned in a cylinder or tall jar of water with appropriate disinfectant (e.g. for biologically contaminated tips).  To prevent tips from breakage, you may put a cotton pad or glass wool at the bottom. 
  • To remove any residue or loose particles, new glassware should be washed prior to use.

References and sources for information from the relevant websites and documentation of different universities, NGOs and government agencies used in the preparation of this website are provided at references.