Tips for Sterile Technique

Youssef Farhat, Written 2/20/12, Last updated 5/6/14

Download the PDF or Microsoft Word versions of these tips.


Sterile technique is crucial for preventing contamination of valuable cell samples.  Here are some tips for good sterile technique.

Tips for Sterile Technique

  • Before working under the culture hood, ensure that it has been on for at least 10 minutes to allow for proper air flow.
  • Spray all containers and the hood surface with 70% Ethanol (EtOH) before working and wipe them clean with a paper towel or KimWipe. Repeat this process for any new reagents brought under the hood.
  • Put on a fresh pair of gloves any time you touch an item outside of the hood.  Alternatively, spray your gloves with 70% EtOH and wipe them clean with a paper towel.
  • Loosen the lids of bottles and tubes prior to pipetting so that they can be removed easily.
  • If you only need to pipette once from a container, lift the lid with one hand, pipette with the other, and return the lid to the container immediately after removing the pipette.
  • If you need to pipette multiple times from the same container, you can rest the lid on a clean part of the hood surface.
  • Upon returning a lid to its container, put the lid on carefully so that the bottom of the lid (which often gets placed on the hood) does not touch the mouth of the container.
  • Discard any pipettes if they accidentally touched a non-sterile surface (such as the hood surfaces, the outside of containers, and so forth).

Citing These Tips

Farhat, Y. “Tips for Sterile Technique.” The Protocol Place. Feb 2012. Accessed on mm/dd/yyyy. <>

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