Centrifuge Maintenance and Care

Centrifuge Maintenance and Care

Centrifuges are designed to separate liquid heterogeneous systems into components under the action of centrifugal forces as well as to separate suspended solid particles in solutions, reagents, suspensions, and emulsions. Proper and correct maintenance of this instrument is critical to the long-term performance of the centrifuge as well as to a safe environment for laboratory personnel.

The importance of regular maintenance


Sponsored ⓘ

Without due care, the centrifuge rotor becomes potentially dangerous. It can burst, damage the laboratory and/or injure people. Modern centrifuges require low maintenance. The best way to maintain a centrifuge is not only to follow the manufacturer's instructions but also to have a system that doesn't need any major maintenance at all.

Clean the equipment every time after use, or at least weekly. Clean the inside of the centrifuge, the rotor, and any surfaces with electronic components, such as the touch screen or keyboard.

Employees must be trained to use the equipment they work with properly. User error is often the root cause of most centrifuge problems.

Never use the device if it is hot, vibrates abnormally, makes noises, or does not accelerate to the specified speed. In this case, the equipment should be turned off immediately and sent for diagnostics.

Basic principles of centrifuge maintenance

  • Use a solution of neutral detergent suitable for materials in warm water.
  • Never use aggressive cleaning agents such as soapy water, phosphoric acid, bleach solution, or scouring powder.
  • Remove the rotor and clean the rotor chamber with a small amount of cleaning agent applied to a clean cloth.
  • Use a soft bristle-free brush to remove firmly fixed deposits.
  • Rinse with distilled water and remove deposits with absorbent wipes.
  • The pH value of the disinfectants used should be between 6 and 8.

Cleaning and disinfection of rotors

At least once a month, the centrifuge rotor must be dismantled. After that, the shaft on which the device was fixed must be cleaned and lubricated.

This will eliminate the accumulation of liquid between the rotor and the shaft that can lead to corrosion and create conditions for the development of microflora.

  • Regular care of the rotors is carried out using special wet wipes or soft rags with soapy water.
  • After using a soap solution, its residues are removed under running water (the device must be removed from the centrifuge) or using wet wipes.
  • At the end of any procedure, the rotor’s surfaces must be dry - if needed, use a clean dry cloth to remove residual moisture or dry the device in another suitable way.
  • If it is necessary to work in sterile conditions, the rotors must be decontaminated. Disinfection is also carried out if there is a possibility of a rotor's contamination with infectious material.
  • Devices can be processed using chemical solutions or autoclaving. The autoclaving parameters are specified in the product datasheet.

For chemical disinfection, use disinfectants that include ethyl alcohol, ethylene hexanol, anionic surfactants, n-propanol, corrosion inhibitors. Recommended disinfectants are indicated in the operating instructions for the rotor and centrifuge. If the antimicrobial agent contains other substances, contact your service representative to clarify the possibility of its use.

The choice of the best method and disinfectant depends on the material the rotor is made from.

Maintenance of rubber seals, polycarbonate covers, plastic sleeves

For the rubber seals of rotors, covers of centrifugal chambers, and other working modules of the centrifuge to retain their operating characteristics, they must be meticulously cleaned from mechanical contamination using a soap solution or special care products for rubber parts.
If such a tool is not available, rubbing in a small amount of medical talcum powder will prevent the O-ring from turning after cleaning.

The rubber seal must be replaced at the first signs of brittleness or cracking to ensure complete tightness.

The plastic liners in the rotor seats, like the devices themselves, can be processed by autoclaving or using suitable disinfectants.

Some types of rotors can be equipped with sealed polycarbonate covers. Their disinfection should be carried out strictly according to the instructions.

If a glass vessel breaks down during centrifugation, the rubber seals and plastic adapters must be disposed of, even if there are no defects in visual inspection.

Helpful hints

  • The equipment should stand only on a level surface.
  • A qualified technician should perform the initial calibration.
  • Create a schedule that tells you who last cleaned the equipment, and when. Hang the graph near the device.
  • Do not open the cover while the rotor is moving. Many modern devices have an automatic shutdown function when the lid is open.
  • It is recommended that the centrifuge is annually diagnosed by a qualified technician.

Question And Answer