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Helpful Tips on How to Prevent Lab Contamination

Nov 7th 2019

Helpful Tips on How to Prevent Lab Contamination

Regardless of the type of lab you work in, it’s always important to avoid lab contamination. Lab contamination refers to when lab samples become impure due to the introduction of a foreign substance. Contamination can ruin countless hours of work, and samples may become potentially hazardous. Fortunately, such contamination is often avoidable by following proper procedures. To learn how to prevent lab contamination in your laboratory, continue reading.

Follow basic personal sanitation practices

Practicing basic personal sanitation techniques can go a long way to reducing lab contamination. Such techniques include washing your hands and arms regularly, wearing clean lab coats, tying back long hair, properly covering cuts, and frequently changing gloves. Doing so will help maintain the purity of your samples as well as improve the safety of your lab.

Take extra caution when transporting samples

Samples are especially vulnerable to contamination when personnel transfers them to a different location. To safely transport your samples, make sure to use a secondary container with a secure lid. Doing so will prevent exposing your sample to foreign substances.

Wipe down surfaces

Sterilizing work surfaces and equipment is essential for preventing contamination. In addition to wiping down counters and equipment, it’s important not to forget about other easily-overlooked areas, such as the corners and undersides of equipment. To ensure you properly sanitize your lab, consider performing a periodic wipe test that can help monitor potential sources of contamination.

Frequently clean containers

A contaminated sample container is a frequent cause of skewed findings. To avoid such error, clean all containers involved in an experiment with suitable cleansers and detergents. You should complete this cleansing process before every experiment to eliminate potential contaminants

Stay organized

An unorganized workroom greatly increases the risk of lab contamination. To maintain an orderly space, it’s important to label everything—including solutions, supplies, and cultures—with essential information, such as safety precautions. When you complete an experiment, make sure to document everything, promptly put equipment back where it belongs, and dispose of unwanted materials. Taking these organization steps will help avoid accidental misuse of materials that could lead to contamination.

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