You are visiting a website that is not intended for your region

The page or information you have requested is intended for an audience outside the United States. By continuing to browse you confirm that you are a non-US resident requesting access to this page or information.

Switch to the US site

Select Your Country or Region
The 4 Pillars of successful labware cleaning

The 4 Pillars of Successful Labware Cleaning


The 4 Pillars of Successful Labware Cleaning

Clean labware is a critical component in any laboratory because contaminated labware can lead to false test results and expensive re-testing.

Standard laboratory washing protocols are established by balancing the factors of the Sinner’s Circle to ensure quick, thorough and economical laboratory glassware cleaning. The Sinner’s Circle is essentially an equation that consists of four factors: mechanical action, chemical action, temperature and time.

1. Scrubbing Away Soil

The mechanical factor refers to the physical action of removing soil. In hand washing processes this factor is accomplished through scouring with sponges or brushes while automated washing operations achieve mechanical cleaning through injector jets, rotating spray arms and other types of manipulation devices.

2. Selecting the Detergent

Detergents, acid or base rinses and other cleaning solutions fall within the chemical factor. The type of chemical used depends on the type of soil and labware material composition. Some detergents require additional safety procedures for operators in manual processes. Automatic labware washers have accurate dispensing capabilities for safe, accurate washing cycles.

Though time and temperature factors are fairly straightforward by definition, both are widely variable depending on washing processes.

3. Selecting the Temperature

In manual processes within an approved SOP, it is more challenging to control the process because water temperature can vary based on personal preferences. Automatic labware washers can be programmed over a broad range of washing temperatures tailored to deliver effective, accurate and repeatable cleaning processes.. Many automated washing systems can also include a high temperature final rinse and drying, to assure uniform conditions required for decontamination. 

4. Determining Optimum Cycle Time

The length of time of the washing cycle depends on the amount of soiled material to be removed, the density of the material adhering to the labware, and the length of time required for chemical surfactants to penetrate soil so that mechanical impingement can be most effective. Compared to manual cleaning, automated washers improve throughput and simplify the process of standardizing washing cycles.

Balancing the Equation

All factors of the Sinner’s Circle equation must be balanced to achieve the ideal cleaning solution. Each factor is variable and can be combined in different ratios based on soil type and amount, the labware configuration and standard operating preferences.

Manual processes make balancing the equation more difficult since factors in the equation are subjective and harder to control and repeat. In automated washing processes, however, this equation becomes an inherent wash cycle standard. Unlike manual washing, which can be subject to human error, automatic labware washers deliver uniform, repeatable results by accurately balancing and maintaining factors which comprise the Sinner’s Circle.

Download the white paper here:

Learn more about balancing the Sinner’s Circle and why automated washing can ensure successful labware cleaning. Download our white paper “Manual vs. automated labware washing: Labware washing techniques and the Sinner’s Circle.”


Related articles

  • Research Laboratories

Best Practices for Multi-Use Bioreactor Sterilization

Regardless of whether the bioreactor is being prepared for a same-use application or an entirely different one, all bioreactor components, as well as liquid media, must be made ready through an effective and reproducible process.

Læs mere

  • Research Laboratories

5 Factors for Safe Material Transfer in BSL-3 and BSL-4 Facilities

BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories highlight the fact that if proper protocols are not followed, contamination can cause detrimental results.

Learn more

  • Research Laboratories

Top 3 Causes of Cross Contamination in Biosafety Facilities

Cross contamination in BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories represents a significant risk to personnel and the surrounding community due to the dangerous agents housed within these facilities. 

Learn more

  • Research Laboratories

Bioreactor preparation solutions

An automated, preprogrammed cleaning process employs best practices for cleaning the multi-use bioreactor. This allows you to validate your cleaning process and ensure that your bioreactor is ready for sterilization.

Læs mere

  • Research Laboratories

An automated bioreactor solution tailored for the next generation of science

At the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, professors and PhD students needed a new solution for evolutionary engineering – to improve the study of genetically engineered cells in the pursuit of replacing more petrochemicals with plant-based materials. This called for a robust, flexible, and automated bioreactor setup tailored to meet the specific challenges related to evolution studies.

Læs mere