University of Dundee

Central Technical Service - Glass Wash Up Facility

Green boxes are located throughout the labs for the collection of plasticware and glassware that has not been contaminated with microorganisms.

 Before putting items into the Green boxes,


How is glass and plastic ware cleaned?

... Using Laboratory Disinfectors

  •   Cold and hot washes remove soiling.
  •   Alkali and acid washes remove biofilms, proteins, nucleic acids and chemical residues.
  •   Multiple cold and hot rinses with demineralized water ensure the glass is free from minerals.
  •   The temperature of a typical wash is 85°C.

After disinfection, the items are dried with hot air (60-115°C).

Laboratory Disinfection vs. Sterilisation

During cleaning in a Laboratory Disinfector microorganisms are killed and biological/chemical residues are removed. STERILISATION DOES NOT MAKE ITEMS ANY MORE "CLEAN".

BE GREEN - Sterilisation uses large amounts of energy so only request sterilisation where needed.

When does glass and plastic ware need to be sterilised?

If you need to grow cells - all conical flasks of all sizes are routinely sterilised.

If you need to put a STERILE liquid in the bottle - consider using a Stericup to filter large volumes or a sterile Falcon tube to filter sterilise small volumes. Heat stable liquids can be sent for autoclaving in the bottle, or sterile solutions ordered from the Media Unit.

What if I do need a container to be sterile ?

CTS maintains a stock of spare glassware (flasks, bottles and beakers) on shelves outside the Media Unit - these items are sterilised.

Items can be sent for sterilisation via the blue "ITEMS FOR STERILISATION" box or the green washup box. Items must be clearly labelled with the group/floor to which it needs to be returned and, for liquids, the contents must be specified.

Please apply sterilisation tape appropriate to the sterilisation method (see below).

How is glass and plastic ware sterilised ?

  • Glass and metal  items are sterilized in an oven at >160°C for a minimum of 2 hours. (Dry Heat Sterilisation tape is used).
  • If items contain any plastic parts they are sterilized in an autoclave at 121°C for 15 minutes. (Steam Sterilisation "autoclave" tape is used).

N.B. With heat-up and cooling times sterilization takes approximately 4 hours from the time the equipment is full and the cycle started; sterilisation greatly increases the turn-round time to get items back to you.