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Autoclave Procedure for Pipette Tips

The autoclave procedure for pipette tips is a little more involved than other red bag waste.


Because pipette tips are pokey: They like to poke through bags and into people.  Even if your pipette tips themselves aren’t contaminated, they are a super-duper good vector for dangerous pathogens.  They’re also great at making sure goop from inside your red bags makes it out into your autoclave chamber, where they can gum up the plumbing.  And, if that wasn’t enough, the tips themselves are pretty adept at jamming drains and vents.

Proper Pipette Tip Autoclave Procedure

  1. Line any old cardboard box with a red waste bag (PRO TIP: Use a box that’s held together with glue or strips of autoclave tape; packing tape usually comes apart in a steam autoclave)
  2. Toss used tips into the bag-lined box
  3. When full, place the ENTIRE box into a fresh red waste bag
  4. Twist and seal the inner red bag (leave the outer bag untied)
  5. Label and date the outside of the outer bag with autoclave tape
  6. Slap an integrator strip on the outer bag
  7. Place this bagged waste into a pan (as in the standard red-bag waste autoclave procedure) and run it through a standard waste cycle (NOTE: This varies by lab and application)
  8. When the load is done, check the strip; if it says ACCEPT, carry on—if not, then run that load again
  9. Let the load cool, then twist and tie off the outer red-bag, place the whole mess in a secondary cardboard box, and dispose of that according to your lab’s procedure

Small-Lab Pipette Tip Autoclave Procedure

If you don’t have a ton of pipette tips to destroy, consider this “lean” pipette-tip autoclave procedure:

  1. Place pipettes in a standard pipette reservoir (aka a “pipette boat”) or biohazard pipette keeper box
  2. Tape it shut with autoclave tape
  3. Bag it in a red bag
  4. Twist it, tape it, label and date it
  5. Place in bin or tray
  6. Slap an integrator strip on it
  7. Run it!