Cleanliness of the Lab and Misdiagnosis

researchWhen it comes to running tests and experiments it is important to have an orderly and clean lab. We all know how important this is back in school, with the smallest contaminant the result of an experiment can be very different to what the results should be. Although there are parts of the world, especially in make shift laboratories when doing tests in the field. But there are measures you can do to get the same level, or at least a level close to, of sterility in a fully functional research lab back home.

When in the field or in a developing country, if a lab is not yet available to you, you will definitely need to build one yourself. While doing so you need to take account proper ventilation and air filtration, along with proper lighting and cleaning equipment. The construction must be supervised by you or another qualified individual who knows the requirements for a properly sterile lab. While some are not strictly following the specifications of a proper lab, it is your professional duty to do so.

Porous materials for building are not really good for labs, as they are hard to clean and might become an area for several contaminants to grow. Fans are not desirable as they collect and spread dust around, if cooling the room is essential, you might need to spend extra for air conditioning, a regular one would do, but if you could get one where you can precisely control the humidity and temperature, that would be the best option for you.

You will also need to have an assortment of cleaning materials, though saline and bleach are the main cleaning solutions used in laboratories, there are new formulations which inhibits bacterial and fungal growth in the area for comparably longer periods of time. Though if this is not available, stick with the first two, as they have been used since the very beginning of lab sanitation.

When in the lab, prepare clothing and footwear only for the area, I clean labhave seen many laboratories not do this and it makes me cringe. Though I have been called a perfectionist with OCD, so I guess this is more of a “me” kind of thing, rather than actual standard operating procedures.

Upon the completion of the labs construction, do a thorough cleaning of the area and tools, making sure that everything is completely sterile. After this you can relax and clean as needed, with a daily maintenance of the area.

The consequences of a laboratory that lacks cleanliness could be minor or could cost a life, it is essential to keep environmental factors from tainting an experiment or test. These mistakes can result to misdiagnosis due to erroneous test results, leaving a sick patient untreated or a healthy patient treated for something he or she doesn’t even have.

The bottom line is to make sure that, laboratories medical or not must always be maintained to the highest level. 


World Health Organization : phases of standardized regular cleaning of the laboratory