Glassware Cleaning and Sterilization

Location: Weintraub Building, AD-131
Contact phone: (206) 667-5429
Contact e-mail:

Hours: 6:00AM-3:30PM, Monday through Friday

Clean glassware generally has a 24 hour turn around time, though exceptions may occur due to high volumes.

Services routinely available to all center laboratories are washing, drying, sterilizing, foil wrapping, pipette plugging and autoclaving of liquids. Steam and dry heat sterilization methods are offered.


  • All glassware must be labeled with the laboratory room number and P.I.'s initials. Glassware can be labelled with marking pens or "Tough Tag Labels". Contact glassware for further information. As time permits, glassware personnel will provide assistance in labeling bulk purchases.
  • It is recommended that each lab have at least two carts; one to accommodate glassware processing needs and a second for collecting dirty glassware in your lab. To minimize chances for breakage in transport, carts should not be overfilled and large cylinders should not be placed on the top shelf of the cart.
  • Dirty glassware should be rinsed out and soaking in mild detergent or bleach. (NOTE: detergent and bleach can be obtained from the glassware facility. Additional information regarding soaking agents is provided at the end of this section.) Agar and cellular pellets should be rinsed out of the glassware before placing it on the soiled glassware cart.
  • Place the soiled glassware cart outside your room for pick-up (if possible, by 8:30 A.M. or deliver to AD-131 as early as possible to ensure next day return.) If you need immediate attention, please have your lab personnel deliver your cart to AD-131 with a special request form (forms are available outside the door of each glassware room). NOTE: Exceptions to next day return may occur due to high volumes of either glassware or pipettes.
  • Do not over stack the glassware carts and tubs of glassware. Often glass in the bottom of the tub is broken by the time it reaches the wash room. Please place glassware in tubs on the lower shelves if the cart does not have rails.
  • Tape and all labels must be removed from glassware prior to delivery to Glassware.
  • Special requests are handled as time permits. Complete the designated request form outlining procedures required that are extraordinary to normal processing for your lab and submit to lead personnel.

Soaking Agents

  • 7x: Use for hand washing of items; if left sitting, the water comes thick, syrupy. Not recommended for general soaking. (Provided by Glassware)
  • RBS: Mild disinfectant, use as wetting agent. Rinses free, no residue. Doesn't etch glassware; does not react with most chemicals utilized in biochem work. Follow instructions on container for concentrations. All items should be totally submersed, otherwise residues will collect in air pockets (special attention needs to be paid to volumetric flasks). Change water in container as necessary; items can be rinsed and then placed on cart for shipment to Glassware.
  • Alkaline Detergent: Especially useful for items which are extremely dirty; lifts off caramelized agar (1-5 dilution). (Provided by Glassware)
  • Bleach: Disinfectant (low concentrations can be used). If pipettes contain blood - containers must be filled to point which covers pipettes completely. (Provided by Glassware)
  • Not Recommended: Wescodyne, Hemasol, Alkanox, Spearhead. Hemasol - extremely soapy, leaves residue, utilized by hospitals for items requiring 'gentle' care; good for handwashing of items. Alkanox - not as sudsy as Hemasol; if used as a soaking agent, requires hand washing immediately then processing through machine.


  • All pipettes should have some kind of identifiable marks on them. If you are purchasing new pipettes, a number of vendors will include personalization (investigator initials or name) on the pipettes at no charge. Old pipettes can be marked using an electric pencil (available for check out from the Glassware Resource).
  • Please do not force or drop pipettes into holding cylinders. All pipettes should be soaked in a disinfectant prior to sending to glassware. Rinse out agar from all pipettes before it solidified.
  • Pipettes should not be double stacked if using the cylinder type containers. To avoid breakage of tips, Nalgene Tubs (Nalgene 71200) are recommended for the soaking of pipettes.
  • Pipettes are processed on a first come first served basis and are a priority item within the resource.

Autoclaving Liquids

  • Liquids are done as an extra service by the resource and are worked around the schedule for processing glassware. If you will have a large run of liquids (over 20 bottles or 10 liters), or if you will require same day return, contact the lead glassware technician within your designated room so that they can plan to fit your run into their schedule.
  • Liquids should be delivered in an autoclavable tub. If liquids require special attention, e.g. immediate processing or required hot to pour plates, place a note on the media to be autoclaved. The note should include room number, phone number and contact person.
  • If you prefer to do it yourself, autoclaves are available in the following locations: A1-198, A2-128, A3-169, B2-123, C2-136 and C3-128. Operating instructions are posted adjacent to each autoclave. If you have any problems, contact glassware at the number posted.

Doing Business with Glassware Services

Weintraub Building, AD-131
(206) 667-5429

More About Glassware Services