How to Clean an Analytical Balance
Knowing how to clean an analytical balance correctly is one of the best ways to ensure both analytical balance accuracy and the longevity of your instrument.
In this guide, we’ll be highlighting why regular care and maintenance of a weighing balance is crucial to a productive lab, what the correct cleaning procedure is and what other methods you can apply to your workplace to ensure your balance is kept clean and operational at all times.
Why is it extremely important to keep an analytical balance clean?
Every lab should know how to avoid analytical balance weighing errors, and keeping a clean weighing scale is right up there with the best thing you can do. Regular cleaning and maintenance of an analytical balance is easy and doesn’t need to cost a lot, but it’s importance to your lab work is imperative. Let’s take a look:
Analytical balances are some of the most precise pieces of weighing equipment you can find, so it’s crucial they are kept clean at all times to ensure accurate results. Debris, such as dirt, dust, moisture or hairs can all affect the accuracy of your weighing, even when you might struggle to see them with the naked eye. It’s important to make sure these unwanted subjects aren’t interfering with your lab weighing, as inaccurate results can lead to retesting and even product recalls, which not only costs time and money, but also leads us on to our next point:
Analytical balances can be used to weigh hazardous and dangerous subjects, so a thorough cleaning process is crucial to ensuring the safety of users and customers alike. In biological industries, experiments could consist of using microorganisms that could cause infection and illness if not delt with correctly. Chemical industries often use hazardous chemicals which if ingested, inhaled or transferred to skin could cause serious health risks. It’s important to consider that the mixing of certain chemicals could also result in potentially harmful solutions being produced, so keeping a clean analytical balance helps to keep on top of cross contamination.
In these industries it’s paramount that safety precautions are put in place and regular cleaning of the analytical balance and any tools or weighing equipment is carried out.
Cross contamination can mean different things for different industries, but it is never something that is desired. In chemistry, cross contamination can completely change an experiment and lead to unsafe practises and ultimately render the results useless. In medical practises, cross contamination can alter pharmaceuticals production, medical test results and more so its especially important to ensure it doesn’t happen.
In short, cross contamination can cost time, money, and pose potential safety risks depending on what’s being weighed.
Your balance lasts longer
Regular care and maintenance of a weighing balance is a great way of making sure it lasts longer. The two best ways you can do this is by regular cleaning and calibration.
How do you clean an analytical balance?
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that users should always follow the operating instructions to find the proper care and maintenance of an analytical balance and this is just a general guide. Also always begin by putting on the necessary safety equipment such as rubber gloves, goggles and a lab coat before the cleaning process.
Make sure you balance is switched off and remove any power supply cables if using them. Carefully remove the draught shields by unlocking them and clean them using a soft, non-abrasive microfiber cloth and some hot water and a mild cleaning solution. Some draught shields can also be put into a dishwasher although you should check the user manual first.
Next, remove the weighing pan and clean in the same way. If using a detergent, ensure that it is mild and will not cause any harm to the surface. Taking the weighing pan and draught shields off for cleaning is imperative as simply spraying with cleaning solution whilst they are attached could result in moisture getting into the internals of your analytical balance and cause damage.
For cleaning powders or dust its recommended to use a tissue to wipe. It is not recommended that you blow the powder away, as this may cause it to go inside the internal mechanisms of your balance and potentially cause clogging and damage.
Finish by putting the pieces back together when they are thoroughly dried, taking care not to apply too much pressure as you fit the weighing pan back on. Turn the analytical balance on, calibrate and test.
How often should I clean my analytical balance?
You know how to clean an analytical balance, but how often should you do it? The frequency of your cleaning is completely dependent on what you’re weighing and frequency of use. One idea could be to do regular small scale cleaning throughout the day using a soft wiping cloth, and then initiate a deep clean at the end of the day. It is firmly recommended to clean the balance if the sample is changed, or carry out more regular, thorough cleaning when dealing with substances that could be toxic, corrosive or generally hazardous.
Users will expect to have a clean balance when they begin weighing, so it’s up to the last user to make sure it’s left unsoiled. Even still, it’s a good idea to carry out a careful assessment before use. It’s also highly recommended to keep a detailed cleaning log accessible to all lab users to ensure that staff know how and when an analytical balance was cleaned.
How else can I keep my analytical balance clean?
Other than regular cleaning, there are some other things lab users can do to keep their analytical balance clean and tidy. Dust covers are great for keeping you balance clean when you’re not using it. Not only do these protect from any dust, hairs or moisture that may be in the air, it also provides safe protection from any unwanted spillages.
In-use covers are also a great idea for protecting your balance from liquids or powders, and can really help to reduce costly maintenance and prolong the life of the balance despite their affordable price. These protective layers are easy to fit and remove when necessary, and do not interfere with your balance’s useability.
For more information on how to clean an analytical balance, please Get In Touch with us or use the web chat function and we will be happy to provide detailed information. Click here to see our full range of analytical balances, or here to see all of our laboratory balances.