Incubator Cleaning

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About this protocol:' This protocol outlines the steps and materials involved cleaning the laboratory incubators.

Necessary Materials

1. 70% Ethanol Solution

2. Kimwipes

3. Sterile Autoclaved MilliQ Water

4. Anti-bacterial Soap


Important: The cleanliness of your incubators is very important! You must take care to ensure that every part of this protocol is done in a clean environment so that your incubator does not get contaminated.


1. Turn off the incubator.

2. While the incubator is cooling, prepare a pseudo-sterile environment on the table by laying down Kimwipes and spraying with 70% EtOH.

2. Clean the inside of the black CO2 meter cover with 70% EtOH

  • Make sure to let this dry thoroughly! If it is not dry the mesh on the CO2 meter is the perfect living place for bacteria.

3. Place the CO2 meter cover on the CO2 meter.

4. Remove the water container and place onto the pseudo-sterile surface.

5. Spray the entire inside of the incubator with 70% EtOH and close the door.

6. Empty the water tray into the sink. Rinse with autoclaved MilliQ water (approx 500-1000 mL).

7. Spray the entire surface of the water tray with 70% EtOH and let sit on the pseudo-sterile surface.

8. Open the incubator, spray all surfaces and subsequently dry with a Kimwipe.

  • Take care to not touch any surface with your skin!

9. After the inside of the incubator is cleaned with 70% EtOH, close the door and clean around the outside.

10. Thoroughly clean and dry the water tray and fill with 500-1000 mL of sterile MilliQ water.

11. Before replacing into the incubator put a few drops of anti-bacterial soap into the water.

12. Put the water tray back into the incubator.

13. Remove the CO2 sensor cover.

14. Turn on the incubator and let stabilize overnight before placing any new cultures in it.

Testing Contamination

If you are worried about contamination (or were cleaning the incubator due to suspected contamination) follow these steps:

1. Thaw media containing anti-biotics and anti-biotic free media.

2. Pipette into separate wells (at least 3 wells per media type) and place into the incubator.

3. Let the media sit over night in the incubator and inspect for contamination.

Cleaning up

1. All Kimwipes used can be thrown into the non-biological trash.