What are the recommended sterilization procedures for the various types of plastic labware?

General cleaning

It is recommended that a non-alkaline detergent be used for cleaning basic labware, especially those made of polycarbonate.

Soak labware in the detergent for up to 3 hours, and then gently wash with a sponge or cloth. Rinse with tap water and then distilled water.

-Do not use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads on any plastic labware.

-Periodically disassemble and clean spigots and threads on bottles and closure to prevent salt build-up, which may cause leakage.

-Most plastics, particularly the polyolefins (LDPE, HDPE, PP, and PMP) have non-wetting surfaces that resist attack and are easy to clean.

 

Laboratory washing machines can be used with all resins except for LDPE, acrylic, and PS due to temperature limitations.

In addition, the strength of polycarbonate (PC) will be weakened by repeated exposure to washers. PC labware utilized in high stress situations should be washed by hand to ensure effective performance.

 

When using a laboratory washing machine keep the cycle times to a minimum using the plastic cycle and setting the water temperature at 135°F (57°C) or lower. Avoid excessive abrasion by covering metal spindles with soft material such as plastic tubing. Plastic labware should be weighted down and held in place with accessory racks.

 

 

Sterilization

Resin

Autoclaving*

Gas*

Dry Heat*

Disinfectants*

Radiation

LDPE

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

HDPE

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

PP

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

PMP

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

PMMA

No

No

No

Some

Yes

PC

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

PVC

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

PS

No

Yes

No

Some

Yes

*Autoclaving (121°C, 15 psig for 20 minutes) - clean rinse items with distilled water before autoclaving.

 (Always completely disengage thread before autoclaving.) Certain chemicals which have no appreciable effect on resins at room temperature may cause deterioration at autoclaving temperatures unless removed with distilled water beforehand.

*Gas – Ethylene Oxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide

*Dry heat – 160°C, 120 minutes

*Disinfectants – benzalkonium chloride, formalin, ethanol, etc

*Radiation – gamma irradiation at 25 kGy (2.5 MRad) with unstabilized plastic

Article Title:
What are the recommended sterilization procedures for the various types of plastic labware?
Article Summary:
General Cleaning and Sterilization recommnedations
Article Date:
8/23/2011
Article ID:
923
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