While all technologies present within the laboratory setting are vital, few are used as often or depended upon as much as magnetic stirring systems. In light of this fact, it is essential that you make sure your stirring systems are always working as intended.
Doing so will not only extend the lifespan of your stirring systems but will also preserve the integrity of your research.
As your lab prepares for spring, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some common best practices for cleaning your magnetic stirrers. Let’s explore why thorough cleanings are so important and then delve into proven cleaning procedures for stirring systems.
Why Magnetic Stirring Systems Must Be Cleaned Thoroughly
When conducting spring cleaning, your magnetic stirring systems should receive the utmost attention because:
It Improves Longevity
Depending on the size, style, and complexity of your magnetic stirring systems, these devices can be incredibly costly. With so many financial resources tied up in a product, it is important that you properly care for them. This approach will maximize the longevity of these devices and reduce the need for expensive repairs.
Magnetic Stir Bars Have “Memories”
While the magnetic stirring systems themselves should be thoroughly cleaned, it is essential that you do not neglect your stir bars either. According to some studies, magnetic stir bars “carry memory” due to previous uses in tubes and flasks.
During the study, researchers found that many magnetic stir bars retained high levels of surface contaminants that often survive standard cleaning protocols. As a result of this “memory,” magnetic stir bars can pass reactive trace materials from past experiments into current ones.
Routine Cleaning Preserves Research Integrity
Failing to clean magnetic stirrers and stir bars can compromise your research, especially if chemicals were affected by trace contaminants. Thorough cleaning with a substance such as isopropanol will eliminate this concern and enhance the integrity of experimental processes.
How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Stirring System
Despite the fact that 2mag magnetic stirring systems and stir bars are maintenance-free, they still should be thoroughly cleaned.
During routine cleanings of the magnetic stirring system, you should simply wipe down the surfaces of the device with a damp cloth. The cloth should be dampened with a mixture of water and a surfactant detergent.
Before you start the cleaning process, switch the magnetic stirrer into standby mode. Also, ensure that you have disconnected its secondary power cable.
If the device has been contaminated by a spill, then you may want to use a more powerful cleaning agent, such as isopropanol. After cleaning the equipment, make sure to wipe away any excess moisture.
Cleaning the magnetic stir bar is equally simple, as it can be carefully wiped down with a damp cloth that has been saturated with an approved cleaning solution. Given that the stirrer can “remember” trace contaminants, it should never be submerged in the cleaning solution or water.
By following these established best practices, you can keep your magnetic stirring systems working optimally all year round.