How to wash glass ware for cell culture?

Bob Steinberg rsteinbe at
Fri Oct 31 17:59:16 EST 1997

Thomas Weimbs wrote:
> Hello,
> Can someone please tell me a good method for washing glass ware (esp.
> pipettes) for cell culture? Are detergents allowed at all? Do I have to rinse
> with pyrogen-free water?
> We have several automatic dishwashers but nobody seems to know what to do with
> cell culture glass ware.
> Thank you very much!
> Thomas
> ____________________________________________
> Dr. Thomas Weimbs
> Department of Biochemistry
> Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, OE 4310
> D-30623 Hannover, Germany
> Phone +49-511-532-2840   Fax +49-511-532-2827
> E-mail: weimbs at
> URL:
We wash very large or very small glassware by hand using "7X"
detergent-- other glassware is washed in a dishwasher using a standard
dishwashing detergent (e.g., Alconox). Before putting glassware in the
wash, any "crud" (e.g., residue from tape or from flaming the mouths of
medium bottles) is removed using razor blades, brushes, or steel wool
pads. (After washing we hand rinse everything at least 6X more with
distilled or deionized water. (Bottle caps are washed without detergent
and rinsed extensively with distilled or deionized water.)

Our procedure for pipets is as follows: pipets are drained and
transfered to an autoclavable tray containing dilute 7X detergent
(inspecting for any that require pre-rinsing) and autoclaved for 30 min.
The pipets are then loaded into a high pressure pipet-washing canister
and put through normal dishwasher wash and rinse cycles. (Alternatively,
the pipets can be washed in a siphon-type washer.) After washing, the
pipets are manually rinsed with high purity (e.g., Milli-Q) water,
inspected for any residual "dirt", and loaded into stainless-steel pipet
canisters. They are then baked overnight in a 165 oC oven. (If dirty
pipets are found, they are soaked overnight in a pan containing
dishwasher soap and added to another load for pre-wash autoclaving-- if
contamination persists, pipets can be soaked in sulfuring acid
containing "NoChromix" or 6 N hydrochloric acid.

I hope this helps.

Bob Steinberg

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