Care and Maintenance of Laboratory Plasticware

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The following guidelines are provided to ensure your plastic laboratory-ware is maintained in the best possible condition.

General Precautions

Chemicals can adversely affect the performance of laboratory plasticware resulting in cracking, loss of strength and flexibility etc.

If in any doubt, note the type of polymer the product is manufactured from, the chemical that is to be used, then confirm compatibility by checking against our chemical resistance chart. Can’t find the chemical you’re looking for? Contact our plastic technical experts.


Never place plasticware in direct contact with a flame or onto a hotplate surface. Most plastics allow the transmission of microwaves. However, as with any microwave vessel, be sure it holds a microwave absorbing material, such as water, before placing in the oven.

Washing and cleaning

Most laboratory plasticware is readily cleaned in warm water with a suitable detergent and a soft cloth or sponge. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads which can result in surfaces becoming scratched. A low or non-alkaline detergent is suitable for cleaning most plasticware, however, polystyrene and polycarbonate products are susceptible to attack by alkalis and a neutral detergent is recommended.

If using an automatic laboratory washing machine to wash plastic volumetric ware, such as measuring cylinders, employ a wash temperature below 60°C as high temperatures can affect volumetric accuracy. Ultrasonic baths may be used for cleaning plasticware but do take care that the products do not directly touch the transducer membrane.


In general, if a product is made from polypropylene or PMP, it is suitable for autoclaving. We define an autoclave cycle as 121°C at 15 psi (1bar) for 20 minutes.

When autoclaving plastic bottles, care must be taken to ensure that the cap is completely loosened to prevent deformation of the bottle. Reattaching the cap before the bottle has sufficiently cooled will also cause deformation. To be extra sure we recommend completely removing the cap before autoclaving and attaching the cap to the side of the bottles with autoclave tape to keep track of the components.

If you’re unsure, items that are autoclavable can be identified with a red “A” symbol in our catalogues and on our website.


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