Laboratory glassware is an essential part of clinical laboratories. No matter what experiment you perform, you need the glassware to experiment precisely. However, on the same side, it is equally essential to clean the glassware regularly to avoid contamination.
Some lab instructors think that the glassware they use in the lab can easily be cleaned with detergent. However, this is not the truth because the detergent is alkaline which may damage the glass. Thus, to clean the glassware properly, you need to follow the cleaning ways written in the manual given by the laboratory glassware manufacturers.
A good cleaning can only be achieved by using the following methods, which we’ll discuss here.
1. Cleaning With HNO3 Solution
Ideally, prefer to clean the glassware immediately after the experiment is done. If you do not clean it, then it will get contaminated. To start cleaning, immediately remove all the residues from the glassware. Today, the glassware is made slightly alkaline, so they should be washed by generally soaking in the HNO3 solution or 1% HCL solution before you start washing.
Also, make sure not to soak the glassware for a long time. Use a soft brush to avoid abrasions and rinse with water when it is done. Let it dry naturally.
2. Use Chromic Acid or Chromerge
Chromic acid is an excellent solution for cleaning glassware. It is also recommended by a lot of lab glass equipment manufacturers. But keep in mind to use gloves when you are using chromic acid for cleaning the glassware. It is highly corrosive, so make sure to use it in adequate quantity. Also, make sure to use the metal clamps removed.
Create the solution and fill it in a glass vessel; now dip all the glassware into the solution. Leave it in the solution for a short period. Once it is done, rinse the glassware immediately and follow by washing the glassware with detergent wash.
Occasionally, a stronger acid washer can also be recommended to clean the residues. However, it is a must to dilute the chemical before you use it, as acids are volatile and may cause harm to you.
3. Use Glass Cleaner
Glass cleaner can be used for cleaning the laboratory glassware. These glass cleaners are made with non-abrasive soap, which works well. It is also available in diluted form, so anyone can easily use it.
All you have to do is dip the glassware in the glass cleaner solution and leave it for a few minutes, then use a soft brush to remove all the dirt. Once it is done, give the final rinse. You can give an acid wash for cleaning the glassware properly. There are many glasses cleaners available which you can pick to clean the glassware.
4. Ultrasonic Cleaners
Ultrasonic cleaners are also preferable for cleaning glassware. However, the ultrasonic methods usually applied in the laboratories boast bigger glassware equipment. It typically cleans all kinds of glassware.
Last but not least, you can also prefer to autoclave the glassware made with borosilicate for 15-20 minutes at 100–121-degree Celcius. The steam deeply penetrates and cleans the glassware properly.
Most glassware is made with borosilicate glass which can be cleaned easily by using the above cleaning methods. However, the glass bottles are generally not made with borosilicate glass, so prefer to clean the glassware with a soda line. Also, remember not to automate such glassware that is not made with borosilicate.