It’s important to do proper cleaning and maintenance to make your lab equipment last as long as possible and make the most out of your investment costs. Even if your lab tables and benches are made from the highest quality materials, regular care will ensure their longevity and possibly make them last a lifetime.
Using soap and water is a standard when it comes to sanitizing surfaces effectively. The CDC guidance states that cleaning surfaces with soap or detergent even just once a day is enough to maintain a healthy facility sufficiently. This is necessary to further reduce the risk of spreading infection, which is especially important during this period of COVID 19.
But disinfection and maintenance of custom lab benches requires more than just cleaning with soap and detergent. You need to consider several factors when it comes to the basics of cleaning the benches in your laboratory. There are tips for avoiding stains and other damages, choosing the right bench top material.
General Lab Bench Cleaning Procedures
Part of maintaining the integrity of a laboratory is protecting yourself during cleaning equipment, including lab tables and benches. If you’re handling flammable or hazardous materials in the lab regularly, you’re probably used to wearing protective gear especially during cleaning. Taking proper precautions is key when cleaning a lab workbench – you do this not just for yourself and your workmates at the lab, but also for the safety of the disinfected facility itself.
Start with ensuring that all the computers and workstations don’t have exposed wires and other electrical cords. Check if all electrical wirings are neatly tired and secured properly. Cleaning around messy cables and tangled cords and wires is never a good idea – not only are you going to compromise your safety, you will also not be able to clean it as well as if the cords and wiring are organized. While you’re at it, make sure that each workstation is organized and dusted regularly by the people assigned to them.
Another important step for safe cleaning practices in the lab is the removal of small laboratory equipment and tools. Remove test tubes, containers, pipettes, and other equipment from workbenches after use to avoid clutter and damage and then clean each piece separately.
Don’t forget to don your personal protective equipment before cleaning and disinfecting the lab. Wearing latex gloves, goggles, head/hair protection, and lab coats will protect you from harsh chemicals that can give you chemical burns and other problems brought about by contact or exposure to disinfectants and other harsh substances. Make sure to dispose of used protective gear properly after you clean and disinfect.
Epoxy Resin Countertops
Epoxy Resin is one of the most popular surface materials. It’s durable, long-lasting, and can greatly resist high heat and harsh chemicals. This is why you can see lots of epoxy resin countertops in pharmaceutical labs, educational labs, food testing labs, industrial testing facilities, and more.
How to Clean Epoxy Resin
Regular surface cleaning is easy for epoxy resin surfaces since it only needs effective common cleansers such as water, mild soaps, vinegar, and household cleaners. For tough spots and stains, it’s safe to use isopropyl alcohol or acetone. Remove marring using clean rags, soft cloth, or dampened non-abrasive sponges. For polishing, you can use WD-40 or mineral oil.
Avoid using abrasive materials such as rough sponges and harsh pads, liquids, and powders for cleaning. Avoid dragging heavy equipment and don’t use sharp objects to clean the surfaces. Ditch the wax or any polish containing wax. Spills should be wiped immediately to prevent the surface from staining, drying, and corroding.
Phenolic Resin Countertops
Phenolic Resin is slightly less chemical resistant than epoxy resin, but it’s still a super-durable material that can withstand moisture, high heat, and regular wear and tear. Phenolic resin countertops are commonly used in agricultural research labs, water treatment facilities, hematology labs, urology labs, and other healthcare lab applications.
How to Clean Phenolic Resin
Regular cleaning of phenolic resin surfaces is easy by just using non-abrasive household cleaning products such as soft cloths. You can effortlessly remove marring with water and soap solutions. Small amounts of acetone can be added if the marring is tougher. Since phenolic resin countertops are moisture resistant, you can also use steam cleaning as well.
Just like epoxy resin countertops, phenolic resin surfaces should not be cleaned with abrasives like steel wool, tile cleaners, bleach, and abrasive powders. You should not use wax or other polishes containing wax too. Again, avoid dragging heavy equipment and don’t use sharp objects to clean the surfaces.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Due to its non-porous surface, stainless steel has become a popular countertop material for lab benches and packing stations. It’s particularly resistant to scratching and bacterial growth. Stainless steel is strong, easy to clean, and can greatly tolerate high heat and constant temperature changes. You can usually find stainless steel workbenches, chemical labs, clean rooms, food testing, and pharmaceuticals.
How to Clean Stainless Steel
Use mild soaps, detergents, and hot water for regular cleaning and wipe the spill using a soft cloth, wiping in the direction of the steel “grain”. If you’re dealing with stains and caked-on residue, you can use liquid dish soap, vinegar, baking soda, and even toothpaste. To polish stainless steel safely, you can use lemon oil, commercial stainless steel polishes, or specialty stainless steel sprays.
Just like other surface materials, avoid using the abrasives mentioned above in cleaning stainless steel. Also, do not use chlorine-based cleaning products since chlorine and chlorine bleach can damage the material permanently. Make sure to clean using only clean and soft water since harsh or dirty water can stain or mark stainless steel surfaces.
You can see maple and other hardwood surfaces in commercial kitchens, office settings, and industrial applications. Not only is maple stain-resistant and extremely durable, the material also adds a natural, elegant element to your facility, although maple should be used only on settings that do not use harsh chemicals.
How to Clean Maple
Prevent bacterial growth and stains in maple surfaces by regularly disinfecting with hot water, soap, and bleach. Using mineral oil treatments can help maintain the surface’s water-resistance. For scratches, cuts, or pits, maple can be easily sanded and refinished to restore its smoothness.
Maple surfaces should not be exposed to water for too long. Also, avoid using synthetic finishes used in food preparation.
Get the Best Furniture Solutions For Your Laboratory
Lab Tech Supply Co is your best source for ready-made and custom benches and other laboratory furniture. Our expert installation team will make sure that your lab furniture is set up correctly and ready to use as soon as you receive them. We design, build, and install working tables for any application and all kinds of laboratories, putting you and your needs above all else. Call Lab Tech Supply Co now and request a quote today.