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How To Clean Mortar And Pestle In Laboratory

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Mortar and pestle are equipment used in the laboratory to grind specimens into granular sizes for whatever purpose deemed fit by the scientist, however, cleaning this important piece of the lab equipment has seemed to be a challenge. It’s been challenging because the mortar and pestle used in a lab are not cleaned like the regular ones used at home.

How To Clean Mortar And Pestle In Laboratory

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to clean mortar and pestle in the laboratory.

Step 1: Remove every particle in the mortar using a wire brush or a towel

There are chances that the particles remaining in the mortar might react with water, so I suggest you use a wire brush to remove every remaining particle in the mortar. You can use a thick towel in the absence of a brush to properly clean the mortar.

Step 2: Use hot soapy water

Once you are certain the debris is out, you can use hot soapy water to clean the surface of the mortar and pestle, but ensure the soap being used doesn’t leave behind any sort of fragrance.

Step 3: Allow the mortar and pestle to air dry

After washing and rinsing the mortar and pestle, allow the mortar and pestle to adequately air-dry before proceeding with the next step below.

Don’t try to cut corners by using a dry towel to achieve the said result, instead, look for a properly ventilated area in the lab and allow it to air-dry.

Step 4: Rinse the mortar and pestle with isopropyl alcohol

Once the mortar and pestle are dried, proceed to further rinse it with isopropyl alcohol. The reason for this is that isopropyl alcohol contains deionized water as well as alcohol which aids in removing dust and dirt, and also keeps the mortar and pestle in great shape for the next use.

What are mortar and pestle used for in a laboratory?

Mortar and pestle are used to grind chemicals in the solid-state into smaller sizes to be used to formulate reactants. It makes it simpler to make solvents (solid into solution). They are both different pieces with different functions.

 The mortar is in the form of a bowl where you put the item or ingredients you want to grind. While the pestle is like a thick wooden or ceramic stick used to pound the ingredients in the mortar. Technically, mortar and pestle are some of the tools used in a lab by scientists. 

To grind solid chemicals into small sizes in a laboratory, you need a mortar and pestle in a deeper form. The size is expected to range from 75ml to 850ml. With this size, you would get the adequate texture you need for your solution. 

What are the other uses of mortar and pestle in a laboratory?

Though the mortar and pestle are known to be kitchen tools, they can also be used in the lab. Below are what mortar and pestle can be used to do in the lab.

They are used to expand the reaction rate of a solute

While making a solution, the surface area has to be expanded. When the reaction rate is expanded, the solute will be easy to dissolve.

 You can only do this by crushing solid chemicals. All these are very important in making medical examinations in labs. 

They are used to break solid chemicals into smaller sizes 

Solid substances cannot be used in labs to make solutions. This is why crushing them with mortar and pestle was introduced. They are also used in the pharmacy for tests. 

Although mortar and pestle are old-fashioned, they still have a lot of uses. They will be used to grind them into powdery form. However, while using the mortar and pestle, you have to check the texture while you crush.

How can I disinfect mortar and pestle in a lab?

Mortar and pestle can be disinfected with the use of alcohol. The need to disinfect these tools is to kill the germs on them.

Germs cannot withstand the temperature from alcohol, so when you use alcohol on your mortar and pestle, they will disinfect. You just have to apply the alcohol on each tool and leave it for a few minutes. 

The way mortar and pestle are disinfected in a lab is different from how they are disinfected in a kitchen. However, the end product is to keep your mortar and pestle free from germs

What type of mortar and pestle should I purchase for a laboratory? 

There are different types of mortar and pestle, but not all can crush solid chemicals needed in a lab. So, I will recommend a few mortar and pestle you can purchase below. 

1. United Scientific™ JMD275 Porcelain Mortar & Pestle Set, 275mL

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This mortar and pestle is one of the best tools to purchase for your laboratory. It has a universal functionality, which means it can be used both in kitchens and labs. It is easy to use and the size was made to your convenience.

You can easily crush the solid chemicals with the pestle when holding it. The pestle is not too big to hold and control. Also, it is easy to clean this mortar and pestle after use. 

Pros 

  • Very easy to clean.
  • Comfortable sized pestle.
  • Easy to use.
  • Versatile function.
  • Good result after grinding.

Cons

  • Quite heavy. 

2. Gorilla Grip Heavy Duty, Unpolished, Granite Mortar and Pestle Set

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This is another must-have laboratory tool you should purchase. Also, it has different areas of functionality. This implies it can be used in the kitchen to crush herbs and spices.

 It can also be used to crush solid materials in the lab. Although it looks small, it is super strong enough to crush anything. The pestle is very comfortable and easy to hold. Plus, you will get the result you require at the end.

Pros

  • Super easy to use.
  • Pestle is comfortable to use.
  • Satisfactory result after crushing.
  • Versatile functionality. 
  • Easy To clean after use.

Cons 

  • Heavy to lift.

FAQs

Are stone mortar and pestle safe?

The safety of a stone/granite mortar and pestle depends. Stone mortar and pestle are safe, provided that they are well treated or seasoned before use.

So, before you use your stone mortar and pestle, ensure you clean them before your next use. However, this applies to all kinds of mortar and pestle you own. Wash them and sterilise them if need be. 

Can you use mortar and pestle to grind garlic?

Garlic can be easily grounded with mortar and pestle. It is faster to get crushed garlic with a mortar and pestle than a grater or a knife. Also, you can get a powdery result when you grind your garlic with mortar and pestle.

Mortar and pestle are mostly used in the kitchen to grind herbs and spices which makes garlic one of them. So, you just have to purchase your tool and get them into action. 

Who can use a mortar and pestle? 

Mortar and pestle is not a one-person tool, they can be used by people in various lines of business. Below are those who can use a mortar and pestle.

Scientists 

Scientists often use mortar and pestle to grind solid chemical materials into powdery form to get a well-dissolved solution. This often increases the surface area of the solvent and makes them get their result easily. 

Pharmacists

Pharmacists are similar to scientists, and they also make use of mortar and pestle. They grind solid meds to make medical tests. In this case, they have to ensure that the item is well ground to get the right result. 

Chef

While cooking, different ingredients are added to a meal to achieve a good taste and aroma. Some ingredients have to be ground before you use them in your meal such as herbs and spices that include nutmeg, garlic, ginger, and so on.

To grind them, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind them into powdery or paste form. Although using mortar and pestle is old fashioned, it is still effective and strong. 

How To Clean Mortar And Pestle In Laboratory – Conclusion

Mortar and pestle may be old fashioned, they are still used by most people. Lab workers mostly use these tools and without them, they can‘t grind their solid materials easily. You also need to purchase the right sized mortar and pestle to be used in a lab, and I have recommended a few.

 However, there is a need to disinfect and clean these tools to avoid germs from spreading through the solution, and also to preserve the integrity of the next solution to be grounded.

The method to disinfect and clean has been provided in this article, you just have to heed to them and get your result. I hope this article has answered all your questions. Kindly put down your comments in the comment section below. 

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