Lab Glassware Care
Basic Tips for Safety & Savings
Glassware used in research and teaching laboratories is often designed for specific functions. However, the intricate and delicate designs can render glassware easily breakable, reducing durability. For this reason, it’s important that you handle glassware carefully, use it for its intended purpose and inspect glassware for flaws. To prolong the life of your glassware and ensure safety during use, it pays to be aware of three key factors: cleanliness, scratches, and temperature.
Keep it Clean — Good lab technique requires clean glassware.
Note: Be cognizant of leftover chemical residue in your glassware. Water-reactive substances must never come in contact with water.
- Make sure glassware is empty of chemical to its fullest extent and wash as quickly as possible after use. The sooner it is washed, the easier it is to clean. If dirty glassware is not cleaned promptly, built-up chemical residue may be impossible to clean later and may even pose a hazardous situation.
- If immediate cleaning is not possible, soak the glassware in water.
- Use a mild detergent and hot water.
- Grease is best removed in a weak (10% or less) solution of sodium carbonate. Acetone may be used, but take all precautions.
- Additional cleaning suggestions>>
No Scratching — Glass that is scratched is more likely to crack. Don’t use it!
- Metal or glass stirring rods may scratch glass, so use a rubber policeman on the end of your stirring rod or use a plastic stirring rod.
- Avoid using any worn brushes where metal can scratch the glass.
- Use coated or cushioned clamps.
Temperature Tactics — Improper heating and cooling stresses glass.
- Avoid placing hot glass on a cold surface or vice versa.
- When heating beakers with a burner, always use wire gauze with a ceramic center.
- Never heat a glass vessel to dryness over an open flame.
- Do not heat glassware directly on electrical heating elements. Use a hot water bath, oil bath, or heating mantel.
If you have any questions about how to care for laboratory glassware, please contact us. We’d be happy to help.