Keep Your Labware Safe With These Decontamination and Disinfection Methods

Decontaminating and disinfecting your plastic labware is essential to keeping your research safe

There are three common laboratory cleaning practices:

  1. Decontamination - Removal of harmful or dangerous microorganisms, radiation, or other substances
  2. Disinfection - Removal of specific harmful microorganisms
  3. Sterilization - Removal of all classes of microorganisms, including spores

Here are some tips and best practices for cleaning your lab space and Thermo Scientific™ Nalgene™ Labware, which will help ensure you are able to maintain a safe working environment.


Decontamination and Disinfection

1. Aqueous solution, buffers, Acid and alkalis:

Clean with distilled water and allow to dry.

Nalgene Wash bottles

2. Organic solvents and Proteins:

Wipe surface in a detergent solution, rinse several times with distilled water, allow to dry

Nalgene Buckets, pails and storage tubs. 

Nalgene Pans, Trays and Baskets

Nalgene Pipet Cleaning Equipment

Nalgene L900 Liquid Detergent

3. DNA and RNA:

-Wipe with at least 3%(w/v) sodium hypochlorite for 15min

-Treat the surface with Thermo Scientific DNA AWAY Surface Decontaminant

-Expose the surface to UV light for 30-60 min.

(No special treatment is required to remove RNA because it degrades rapidly and is sensitive to ubiquitous RNase)

DNA AWAY Surface Decontaminant

RNase AWAY Surface Decontaminant

Nalgene Autoclave Pans, Trays and Baskets

4. DNase and RNase:

-Clean with a detergent solution, then thoroughly rinse with water followed by 95% ethanol to speed drying.

-Spray surface with Thermo Scientific RNase AWAY Surface Decontaminant

-Autoclave for 15min at 121oC/ 250oF

DNA AWAY Surface Decontaminant

RNase AWAY Surface Decontaminant

Nalgene Autoclave Pans, Trays and Baskets

5. Viruses, Mycoplasma, Bacteria and Fungi:

-Expose surface to UV radiation to inactivate germs

-Use wipe formulated to kill microbes

( Remember to always properly dispose of biohazard waste)

Nalgene Biohazard Waste Container

Nalgene Large Waste Container with Cover

Nalgene Safety Waste Funnel Systems

Nalgene Safety Waste Funnel

6. Radioactive solutions:

-Use a strong detergent or cleaning solution, rinse several times with distilled water and allow to dry.

-All used cleaning materials are radioactive waste and must be disposed of according to regulations

Nalgene Acrylic Benchtop Beta Radiation Shield with/without Bottle

Nalgene Biohazard Waste Containers


Sterilizing your reusable plastic labware

Chemicals and other sterilization methods can affect the strength, flexibility, surface appearance, color, dimensions or weight of various plastics differently. These changes can include:

  1. Stress on the polymer chain, with resultant reduction in physical properties.
  2. Physical change, including absorption of solvents.
  3. Stress cracking from internal and external stresses such as pressure or heat.


Methods used for Sterilization:

  • Autoclaving -The autoclavability of NALGENE products should be confirmed prior to use. Recommended autoclave cycle is 121°C, 15 psig (1 bar) for 20 minutes. For best results, use a slow exhaust cycle.
  • Gas - Gas-sterilization is done using ethylene oxide, formaldehyde. We recommend allowing an appropriate aeration time suited to the particular application before reusing the item.
  • Dry Heat - Certain plastics can be sterilized using dry heat like FEP, PFA PSF

If you have questions you can immediately refer to this Resin Characteristic guide for method compatibility or contact your Thomas account manager for further assistance!

Remember that durability is part of keeping your labware clean!  High-quality Nalgene labware is durable and long-lasting under the rigors of typical lab conditions.  It was designed for re-use.  Keep in mind the quality of re-usable labware when making purchasing decisions for your lab.

CLICK HERE to shop Thermo Scientific Nalgene today!

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