6 reasons not to use a residential dishwasher to clean laboratory labware

Unloading a FlaskScrubber Vantage lab washer

Running and maintaining a lab can be extremely costly; however, deciding to move forward with a home dishwasher just to save initial upfront costs is a mistake. Here are six reasons why a home dishwasher is not sufficient for a science lab.

1. Increased risk for cross contamination

Generally, home dishwashers only use a single pump for circulating water. This means that clean and dirty water pass through the same pump. Simply put, the incoming clean water traveling through the pump could have residual contaminants from dirty wash water. A true laboratory quality glassware washer should employ separate wash and drain pumps, greatly reducing the potential for cross contamination.

2. Maximum heating temperature

Kitchen dishwashers are not calibrated for lab sanitization. The standard operating temperature for residential dishwasher is between 130° F and 170° F (55° C - 75° C). While that is hot, a higher temperature is needed to properly clean your labware. Laboratory glassware washers can reach a maximum internal temperature of 199° F (93° C). At that temperature, coupled with appropriately measured time, glassware can be considered sanitized. It’s also important to remember that when heating to higher internal temperature, laboratory glassware washers must be constructed of components that can accommodate higher temperatures.

3. No direct spindle injection washing/drying

Washing narrow neck labware can be a challenge. Having direct injection spindles for washing and drying are essential if you’re using any volume of Erlenmeyer, volumetric, or even distilling flasks. Having the ability to directly inject water and/or detergent through the spindle into the labware perched on top of the spindle allows for thorough and consistent washing, rinsing, and drying of labware. FlaskScrubber Glassware Washers are designed specifically for this type of application. 

4. Inferior materials of construction

A residential washer’s warranty may not even cover laboratory conditions at all, even for a single day. Comparatively speaking, they are less expensive than laboratory glassware washers. That’s because residential dishwashers do not have to meet the harsh demands to properly clean labware. Lower grade steel alloys and increased dependency on molded plastic parts might lower the cost, but those parts will not be able to withstand the common solvents and chemicals used in the laboratory. Laboratory glassware washers constructed of type 304 stainless steel will resist the rigors of a harsh laboratory environment, and stand the test of time. 

5. No purified water rinses

Residential washers only come with one inlet for the water source. When washing bowls and cups, that makes perfect sense; however, laboratory glassware used for analytical methods require a higher level of cleanliness. Applying multiple pure water rinses ensures labware is free of residual contaminants  remaining from the wash cycle.

6. Specialized features

Often a laboratory must meet unique requirements. These can range from HEPA filter forced air chamber drying, to conductivity monitoring, to extensive data collection and export. A residential dishwasher will most likely not come with these features, thus limiting your laboratory’s compliance to standard operating procedures. FlaskScrubber Vantage Glassware Washers include specialized features to accommodate these types of controlled conditions. 

Whether you’re looking to purchase a new laboratory glassware washer or replace an underpowered residential unit, ask our experts to help you make the right decision for your labware washing needs. 




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