Take extra measures during the pandemic
Whether you have been steadily working or re-opeing your busienss and lab, it’s critical to maintain your instruments. Restarting them will take some extra step to make sure you are safe, and cleaning is essential as you use or share your instruments.
Cleaning your test and measurement instruments, such as digital thermometers, hygrometers, anemometers, tachometers, multimeters, clamp meters, balances, pressure meters and electrical testers, during the COVID-19 pandemic can add another layer of protection for you and your co-workers. This is especially important if you are sharing your tools with co-workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting recommends regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects made from hard and non-porous materials like glass, metal, or plastic. Most of the instruments that Cole-Parmer offers would fall into this category, but we recommend you review the instrument’s instruction manual before cleaning.
Tips for keeping instruments clean:
- Refer to your instrument’s instruction manual for your instruments cleaning guidelines.
- Clean shared instruments after each person uses it.
- Clean your instruments daily. Use a cloth or an alcohol-based swab of 70% isopropyl alcohol or 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Clean and then thoroughly dry the surface. Many instruments can tolerate this amount of alcohol, but it’s best to read your instrument’s manual.
- Do not use 75% of higher isopropyl alcohol because this could damage the writing and print on the instruments.
- Do not use abrasive cleaners, as this may damage the instruments.
- Don’t immerse the product into water, this may create an electrical shock and damage to the inputs.
- Make sure you unplug all instruments or take out the batteries before cleaning.
- For deep cleaning, every 3 or 4 months, use an appropriate instrument cleaning wipe. But don’t use this repeatedly on the acrylic of your window, as this may damage the window.
- Waterproof and dustproof instruments rated IP67 can be washed as often as necessary per instructions in the instrument’s manual.
Cleaning your instruments on a daily basis removes germs and dirt and can lower the risk of spreading germs. Establishing this important measure can keep you and everyone in your workplace safer.
Restore analytical conditions
If your laboratory performs analytical testing, it will require an added level of diligence to restart the laboratory, restart its function and restore analytical conditions. The area around the instruments and the instruments themselves must be inspected for damage, dust or mold. Chemicals and gases linked or used by the instrument must be discarded and replaced. Consumables must be replaced and areas of maintenance and cleaning must be performed prior to operation.
Check list for instrument start up
- Check instruments for physical sign of problems
- Change fittings, seals and filters if prone to drying out or leakage
- Change consumable parts such as septum, lines, tubing, etc.
- Check instrument liquids and gases for expiration and prpoer connections
- Replace gases
- Replace and remake eluents, buffers, mobile phases, etc.
- Perform cleaning and maintenance or instrument systems. See list above.
- Open fresh standards or buffers; bring to room temperature
- Refill calibration or tuning solutions
- Refill rinse vials
- Tune or calibrate instruments and equipment—contact InnoCal for calibration or repairs. InnoCal, a division of Cole-Parmer, specializes in instrument calibration. The accredited metrology laboratory has helped thousands of customers meet ISO, FDA, USDA, EPA, GLPs/cGMPs and other quality standards.
Instrument data validation check list
- Prepare fresh internal standards
- Run LOD, LOQ studies
- Run blank studies
- Requalify instruments if needed
As you return to the workplace, along with referring to the check lists above, please make sure to check with your instruments’ manuals and refer to any information from your regional health organizations such as the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
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