5 Reasons NOT to use a home dishwasher to clean laboratory glassware

Have you ever wondered why a home dishwasher isn't sufficient for a science lab? Here's a list of the top five reasons:

1. Single pump

Home washers only employ a single pump, which means that the clean water and the dirty water pass through the same pump. In simple terms, the incoming clean water is traveling through the same space the dirty water just left, creating cross contamination.

You use a glassware washer so that you know the glassware is clean when the cycle is done, and from a laboratory standpoint, cross-contamination can be a costly issue to have.

2. Temperature capabilities

Home washers generally reach temperatures between 130º and 170ºF (55ºC-75ºC). Sure! That’s hot enough for cleaning your silverware, dishes and glasses. But is it hot enough for your laboratory glassware?

Let’s imagine a residential washer could reach a higher temperature. Would it be able to hold together, or would it melt many of its components?

Laboratory glassware washers can heat water up to 199ºF (93ºC). At that temperature, in conjunction with the right duration, glassware can be considered sanitized. Not only can lab washers heat the water to such high temperatures, but they are also constructed of more durable materials that can withstand the heat.

3. No spindle washing capability

Ever tried washing a bud vase in your dishwasher at home? How clean did it really get? Narrow-necked glassware is quite common in a laboratory: volumetric flasks, Erlenmeyer flasks, graduated cylinders, etc. Some laboratory washers may have the capability to directly inject water and/or detergent through the spindle into the glassware perched atop it. Certain glassware washers can even pump hot air through the same spindle during drying cycles to remove moisture from the inside of the glassware as well.

4. Inferior Materials of Construction

Residential washers are commonly made of plastics (although higher end models can be constructed of stainless steel alloys). These materials cannot stand up to the solvents and chemicals that are commonly used in a laboratory. A washer constructed of higher grades of Stainless Steel (304) will stand up to the harsh environments a laboratory will dish out.

5. No purified water rinse.

Residential washers only come with one inlet/water tap. That makes perfect sense for washing cups and saucers; however, laboratory glassware used for analytical methods requires a higher level of cleanliness. A purified water rinse ensures a better rinse of the glassware.

And here’s a bonus: Labconco washers come standard with a pump designated for incoming purified water.  This way your water doesn’t have to be pressurized, and that means that the purified water doesn’t mix with residual tap water in the fill pump.

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