The care and maintenance of your pipettes is arguably one of the most important routines for working in the lab. A well-cared for pipette will last longer, provide more accurate results, be calibrated more precisely, and reduce the risk of cross-contamination. The following is a comprehensive guide to properly maintaining your robot, cleaning your robot, and cleaning your pipettes.
Maintaining the Robot
We test our products to 3 years of standard use without the need for tightening screws, oiling bearings, belt tensioning or anything of the sort. No adjustments to this should be needed unless there is some noticeable issue. A user can re-perform deck calibration every ~6-12 months to ensure the alignment of the system remains successful, should they desire. This deck calibration should compensate for any changes in belt tension, shifts of the machine over time, etc. This is not a mandatory activity, but is optional if you want to ensure everything is still in tip-top-shape.
Note: for heavy users this time frame may be accelerated depending on their daily usage
Cleaning the Robot
Sterility: The best way to keep your robot sterile is by washing it with 70% isopropyl alcohol, the same way you would for your lab bench. The clear panels on your robot are made of acrylic.
DO NOT use ethanol or bleach to clean them - as it may cause the acrylic to crack.
Cleaning the Pipettes
Exterior Cleaning: Most pipettes can be cleaned externally with typical household or laboratory cleaning agents, soaps, or alcohol. By spraying or wiping the exterior of the instrument, the outside of the pipette can be easily cleaned. To ensure full sterilization, let the cleaning solution sit on the pipette for 10-12 minutes before wiping it off.
Contamination Cleaning: If your pipette becomes contaminated with a known substance, there are specific cleaning steps that must be taken depending on the type of substance. Taking the routine cleaning and maintenance steps outlined above will not be sufficient if your pipette is cross-contaminated.
For aqueous solutions, rinse the contaminated parts with distilled water or 70 percent ethanol and air dry at 60°F.
For organic solvents, allow the substance to evaporate on its own or immerse the part in a detergent and then air dry.
For radioactive substances, place the pipette in a solution like Decon and then rinse and air dry.
For proteins, rinse the contaminated parts with a detergent, rinse, and air dry. DO NOT use alcohol as it will set the proteins.
For nucleic acids, rinse the contaminated parts in glycine/HCI buffer (pH 2) for 10 minutes, rinse with distilled water, and air dry.