Bad Benchtop Autoclave Installations

  Sometimes a bad benchtop autoclave installation is pretty straightforward: That drain valve looks pretty good—it’s taped, they’ve used a quality ball valve (which is much more reliable over the long term than a standard gate valve). But we sure hope no one left their car keys or phone in that drawer. Now, such SNAFUs … Continue reading “Bad Benchtop Autoclave Installations”

Lab Autoclave Procedure Best Practices: The Futility of Foil

There are many justifications for crimping foil loosely over the mouths of containers before autoclaving. The most common—and seemingly most reasonable—is that this common autoclave procedure keeps viable spores from drifting onto the sterilized items. That seems to make sense: If I want to keep dust off the the sofa stored in my garage, I … Continue reading “Lab Autoclave Procedure Best Practices: The Futility of Foil”

Autoclave Procedure: Four Rules for No-Mess Liquid Sterilization

As we’ve discussed before, the best autoclave procedure for running liquid loads is trickier than just loading up the autoclave and choosing the “liquid cycle.” Follow these four rules and you’ll largely avoid trashing your autoclave chamber, plumbing, and drain while losing your liquids to evaporation, boil over, or burst bottles: 1. Never fill the bottles … Continue reading “Autoclave Procedure: Four Rules for No-Mess Liquid Sterilization”

Autoclave Sterilization Tips: Abandon All Foil, Ye Who Pass This Way!

We need to talk about your autoclave sterilization rituals and aluminum foil. Specifically: Do not use aluminum foil when sterilizing empty beakers and flasks! Loosely crimping foil over the mouths of empty flasks prior to autoclaving them is a widespread practice in many research labs.  Justifications for this practice vary.  Some claim it keeps water … Continue reading “Autoclave Sterilization Tips: Abandon All Foil, Ye Who Pass This Way!”

Research Lab Autoclave Best Practices: The Liquid Cycle Won’t Save You

Every modern research lab autoclave has a “liquid cycle”—a cycle just for processing liquids, growth media, and so on.  Nonetheless, more often than not, if you fill a bunch of 1L bottles up to 900mL and process them on the “liquid cycle” they’re going to come out like this: The glass isn’t cracked; where did … Continue reading “Research Lab Autoclave Best Practices: The Liquid Cycle Won’t Save You”