Cleaning and Sterilizing Incubators

Tom Anderson via (by ucgatan from
Thu Nov 15 09:10:21 EST 2007

On Thu, 15 Nov 2007, Han wrote:

> "Tim Eggleston" <timegg113 from> wrote in
> news:mailman.606.1195065029.23109.methods from
> > I am looking for some new ideas with regards to cleaning cell culture
> > incubators.  I have used rocal followed by a thorough wash with 70%
> > ethanol in the past, but the lab I am currently working in does not
> > use rocal.  Will a washing with a regular non-caustic cleaner followed
> > by a wash with 70% ethanol be good enough to rid the incubator of
> > fungal and bacterial contaminations?  Thanks!
> Of course nothing should grow in an incubator other then what you want
> to grow in dishes, flasks, or whatever.  But I never thought that the
> insides of an incubator would be sterile (apart from what's inside the
> dishes, flasks, etc).  The room in which the incubator stands isn't
> sterile, and the air in it probably isn't either.  So why would you have
> to sterilize the walls and shelves of an incubator?

I think the goal isn't to keep the inside of the incubator sterile, it's
to stop it being colonised by fungi or bacteria. There's a difference
between a box full of nonsterile air, and a box full of spores -
particularly if it's a warm, humid box!


Tom Anderson, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, UCL, London WC1E 6BT
(t) +44 (20) 76797264   (f) +44 (20) 76797805   (e) thomas.anderson from

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