Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert

How to clean a pipette correctly?

Answer by Dr. Katja Baesler, Application Specialist Cell Handling at Eppendorf:
 

There are different ways do disinfect your manual pipette:

  1. Contamination caused by ingress of liquid must be removed. Therefore the lower part can easily be removed and disassembled (please have a look at the user manual). Afterwards the lower part can be rinsed with cleaning agent or decontamination agent or let it soak (Please refer to the manual chemical compatibility in terms of chemical resistance). Afterwards, thoroughly rinse the lower part with demineralized water. Let it dry. If necessary (when the grease has been removed due to the cleaning process) lubricate the piston or cylinder according to operating manual and reassemble the pipette.
     
  2. Cleaning the outside of your pipette: Before you start make sure your pipette can deal with the disinfectant of your choice (again, please refer to the manual chemical compatibility in terms of chemical resistance) Wipe the outer surface with decontamination reagent. After the exposure time of the decontaminating reagent, rinse thoroughly with demineralized water. This step is especially important if other substances are used than just alcohol or subsequent decontamination, e.g., with UV-light or autoclaving, should be performed).
     
  3. UV-disinfection of pipettes: The Eppendorf Pipettes may be temporarily subjected to UV light under a sterile bench (see the operating manual for pipettes of other manufacturers). We recommend the use of a Hg-lamp, 254 nm, 30 W. The distance between lamp and pipette should be approx. 60 cm. Note that UV disinfection only reaches the surface of the pipette. It does not decontaminate the lower part from the inside pipette.
     
  4. Autoclaving pipettes: The Eppendorf Research plus as well as Reference 2 pipettes are fully autoclavable and do not need to be disassembled bench (see the operating manual for pipettes of other manufacturers). The electronic version (the Eppendorf Xplorer pipette) can be easily disassembled and the lower part can be autoclaved.  Please make sure that the pipette is clean and that any residuals of the cleaning agent have been removed. Autoclave the pipette at 121°C and 1 bar overpressure for 20 minutes. Afterwards, cool the pipette to ambient temperature and let it dry. With Eppendorf pipettes it is not necessary to grease the piston after every autoclavation step.