5 Tips for preventing cross-contamination in your lab


Is preventing cross-contamination an everyday challenge in your lab?

Then perhaps it’s time to do things a little differently. Here are 5 things you can do to avoid contaminating your samples:

Tip no 1

Designate clean and dirty areas

Make it easy for yourself to navigate by designating clean and dirty areas to place your equipment and instruments. Only put sterile things in your clean area. Instruments like microscopes could carry bacteria.

You should also keep as much distance between others as possible. This can be hard if you work in a small lab but try not to share workstations.

One way to create more space in a lab is by using a pipetting robot that fits on a desk and can be placed discreetly in a corner.

Tip no 2


Automating your pipetting routine is a great place to put an effort in.

A manual pipettor can easily be contaminated and infect a sample with other microorganisms.

The result? A failed experiment or inaccurate test results.

A liquid handling robot, on the other hand, can change pipette tips automatically in between moves. In fact, the tips never need to come into contact with anything before touching the sample.

That, in short, makes automation one of the best ways of preventing contamination.

Tip no 3: Use cleaning technologies

There are some different and easily accessible technologies that you can use to optimize disinfection and cleanliness, and thereby protect your samples.

HEPA filter

A HEPA filter provides effective air replacement throughout your lab processes and filters airborne dust, bacteria, viruses, and other particles from incoming airflow​.

This will lessen contamination and increase cleanliness – creating the ideal environment for your samples.

UV light

UV light is another simple way to keep your samples safe.

Using UV light for disinfecting your lab equipment in between runs ensures maximum cleanliness and will in turn lessen contamination, enabling you to work safely with sensitive material.

Look for liquid handling instruments with an incorporated HEPA filter and UV-C source to get the most efficient zero-contamination solution.

Tip no 4

Manual cleaning

If you don’t have UV light in your instruments, they should be disinfected manually. Make sure to clean them and your surfaces regularly throughout the day with chemical surface decontaminants such as ethanol.

The same goes for your hands – wash and disinfect them continuously throughout the day. You should also remember to change gloves and face mask regularly and never reuse them.

Tip no 5

Transport samples safely

Ideally you should use a secondary container with a secure lid to transport your samples. The container itself might pick up all sorts of airborne dust and bacteria in transit. It is also a good idea to have an extra pair of gloves in your pocket so you can change gloves when you arrive at the new location.

In general, you should limit your touches as much as possible as everything you touch can become a source of contamination.

How we can help

Our pipetting robot, flowbot® ONE, lessens the risk of contamination in your pipetting routine as the tips never come into contact with anything that might cause contamination.

It fits neatly on a table as a stand-alone unit or as an integrated part of a fully automated workflow. That saves you a lot of space in the lab and makes it easier to keep distance from other protocols.

The flowbot® ONE is available with both a HEPA filter and UV-C light as optional add-ons. Both features will maximize cleanliness in your work area and keep your samples safe from contamination. For maximum effect you can use both a HEPA and a UV light on the same robot.

The technology behind flowbot® ONE enables affordable lab automation of various pipetting tasks. The mission is clear: To make automation technology accessible to labs of all shapes and sizes by breaking down the technology barriers – always seeking solutions to improve your workflows.

With flowbot® ONE there is no need for advanced programming, extensive training, or a long implementation period. It is a flexible turn-key automation solution with user-friendly browser-based software.