Laboratory Equipment Maintenance Guide

Author: Thomas Ewing


Download Guide Here


All equipment should have a preventative maintenance performed once a year.  Also as a general rule, it is best to keep the equipment clean by wiping it down with a disinfectant and 95% alcohol after each day of use. This is a guide only; interval frequency and procedures may vary based on the make and model of each instrument as well as laboratory protocols and usage/volumes.



This should be turned off and completely defrosted once or twice a year depending on how much frost has built up.  To do this turn unit off and leave the glass window open for at least five days, after the first day it helps to wipe out the water in the cabinet and rinse with 95% alcohol.   Before turning unit back, ensure that the cabinet and microtome are complete dry.  After turning on the unit, the microtome should be oiled by extending out the specimen head and putting a few drops of oil on the brass barrel, then retracting it, this should be done four times. (This should also be done weekly.)



Periodically (2-3 times a year) pour some bleach down the Stainer drain port and let sit for 10 minutes, then flush with water.  



Weekly, extend out the specimen head and put a few drops of oil on the brass barrel (if applicable), then retract it. Take apart clamp sections of the knife holder and clean between the plates. Clean the clamp points on the cassette holder.


Tissue processor 

Daily Maintenance: Replace fume control water, clean retort and gasket seal.  Weekly Maintenance: Reagents should be changed at least every five runs, unless a reagent management system is being used. A warm water flush should be done in the first five stations once a month.  Purge reagents should be changed after five runs or less.  (If xylene substitute is used it should be every three runs or less.) The carbon fume filter should be changed periodically, the change interval depends on the usage and manufacturer recommendations, but would generally be every one to three months.


Embedding Center 

Empty spill trays daily. Clean wax tank and wax screen filter as needed. Do not use metal objects to clean - use gauze or plastic scrapper.



Carefully clean (with cotton swabs - no brushes) all tracks and suction cups weekly with xylene and let air dry.  Empty and clean prime and waste station containers. Check mounting medium level and top-up if necessary the day before use to allow the air bubbles to settle overnight.  Clean the output racks on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.


Fume Hood

Replace carbon fume filter every six months or less depending on usage and manufacturer recommendations.



Clean the instrument thoroughly on a daily basis. Remove dust from the ventilation slots on the back of the instrument every six months, using a brush or a small vacuum cleaner. Ink Cartridges should be replaced at regular intervals based on manufacture recommendations, which is every three months or less depending on usage. Carefully clean glass dust from inside unit weekly, clean chutes and clamp assembles with alcohol daily.



This reference document is for educational purposes only and is presented as a service to health care professionals by Avantik. This document is not intended to be, and should not be construed as medical advice. Although every effort has been made to report faithfully the information, Avantik cannot be held responsible for the correctness. Avantik disclaims any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of devices, techniques or procedures described in this reference document.