Did you know: How best to clean your workstation?

Laboratory Standard Shot DYK Blog



This is the 10th in our ‘Did you know’ series of articles introducing things you may not know about the Whitley range of products and services – read on and you may find out something about your workstation that could make your working life easier.

We regularly receive enquiries from customers with regard to which disinfectants can be safely used inside Whitley Workstations. Although it is not practicable to evaluate every available product, we have tested the materials compatibility of several sporicidal disinfectants and can now provide comprehensive advice on this topic.



How often should I clean my workstation?

DWS recommend that as part of the daily checks, users ensure that the workstation is free from spillage and cleaning carried out as necessary. Prior to having your workstation serviced, however, it may be necessary for it to be decontaminated.

Which disinfectants have DWS tested?

  • Spor-Klenz – peracetic acid (approx 0.1%) + hydrogen peroxide (approx 1.0%) – “ready to use” product, tested without further dilution.
  • Chemgene HLD4H – quaternary ammonium compounds (approx 1%) + chlorhexidine digluconate (approx 1%) – “ready to use” product, tested without further dilution.
  • Safe Hospital – hypochlorous acid – “ready to use” product, tested without further dilution.
  • Tristel Fuse – chlorine dioxide (approx 1%) – prepared from concentrated components according to manufacturer’s instructions.

For more information on these tests, please see the appendices of your Whitley Workstation user manual.


Which of the above products are OK for use in a Whitley Workstation?

Our tests demonstrated that each of these formulations is satisfactory for use in Whitley Workstations and will not cause any damage when used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.


What if I want to use a cleaning agent not on the above list?

Other disinfectants containing the active ingredients listed above, at similar concentrations to those shown, can also be safely used inside Whitley Workstations. If you wish to use a disinfectant containing active ingredients not listed here, please contact us for advice before proceeding.


Why should I contact DWS for advice – will any damage not be covered under my warranty?

Unfortunately, we cannot cover under the equipment’s warranty any damage caused to a Whitley Workstation as a result of exposure to products that have not been approved by us.


Can I use Virkon as my preferred sanitising solution?

After a thorough study lasting 20 weeks, we concluded that the presence of any uncovered containers of Virkon in anaerobic and variable atmosphere workstations leads to the degradation of stainless steel, brass and some other metal components. The effect is more considerable when oxygen is present in the selected gas mixture. These conclusions are supported by technical information available on the Virkon manufacturer’s website and independent observations by an Institute of Materials metallurgist. If Virkon is the preferred sanitising solution these adverse effects can be minimised by ensuring that Virkon within any workstation is always kept in a covered vessel when not in use.


OK, so what’s the best way to clean the acrylic parts of a Whitley Workstation?Labdet100 Blog

The transparent and/or white acrylic on the inside and outside of the Whitley Workstation System may be swabbed with a 2% solution of Labdet 100 (DWS – stock code D00003) in warm water and dried afterwards with a soft clean cloth. In the case of culture spillages then any of the disinfectants listed above solution should be applied to the spillage and left for 30 minutes. It should then be mopped.


Never use any solvent on the acrylic surfaces of the workstation. Use only water and a mild detergent solution (i.e. Labdet 100 2% solution) as a cleaning agent.


What if the spillage leaks underneath the floor of the workstation?

If spillage is not contained on the working surface then access underneath this area will be required in all Whitley Workstations except the DG250. Some workstations require the removal of retaining bolts before the floor can be lifted up or pivoted for cleaning underneath.

If liquid has been spilled upon the Anotox and catalyst sachets they should be removed, dried and/or replaced.


How can I deal with scratches on the acrylic plastic surface of my workstation?

Scratches may be removed by gently polishing the surface with ‘DURAGLIT WADDING’ followed by wiping with a soft clean cloth. Deep scratches may require the use of Wet and Dry abrasive paper used wet, followed by polishing with ‘DURAGLIT’ – seek advice from Don Whitley Scientific Limited or our authorised agents overseas.


How can I clean the sleeves on my workstation?Sleeve Kit-Components DYK Blog

The white sleeves used on all Whitley Workstations may require cleaning after periods of extended use. There are a number of options for cleaning and some recommendations listed below:

  • Wipe with a mild detergent
  • Wash or dry-clean with a detergent up to 75ºC
  • For disinfection use Sodium Hypochlorite (at no more than 1000ppm active Chlorine) or any of the disinfectants listed above
  • Do not use Biological or Phenolic based cleaners
  • Wash and dry completely before storage
  • Some surface wrinkling may occur.


If you have any remaining concerns about disinfectants for use in Whitley Workstations, please get in touch with our sales team:

Tel: 01274 595728


Email: sales@meintrup-dws.de


Overcoming Catalyst Myths

Whitley A35 Anaerobic Workstation

We have recently received reports that some of our customers are being told catalyst can be regenerated to last for several years. Advice being received by some customers is causing them to believe that drying out catalyst on a regular basis will increase its lifespan. This is not true and customers may be putting their samples at risk if following that advice.



DYK 3: Catalyst Life

Whitley A35 Anaerobic Workstation

This is the third in our ‘Did you know’ series of articles introducing things you may not know about the Whitley range of products – read on and you may find out something new about your workstation or spiral plater that could make your working life easier.

What is a catalyst used for?

All Don Whitley Scientific anaerobic workstations benefit from a unique atmospheric conditioning system. This consists of a carefully specified catalyst and an activated carbon compound, known by the registered trademark Anotox. One or more containers of each compound are positioned inside every workstation in locations that enable warm internal atmosphere to pass over them continuously.

Strict anaerobic growth conditions are maintained because a catalytic reaction takes place between any oxygen in the workstation atmosphere and hydrogen contained within the anaerobic gas mixture. Water is produced as the by-product of catalytic activity. A reasonable level of humidity in the workstation atmosphere is useful. The Whitley automatic dehumidifier removes water vapour surplus to requirements.


How do I prolong the life of the catalyst?

Independent evaluation has demonstrated that the use of Anotox prolongs the life of catalyst and reduces the quantity of volatile fatty acids in the workstation atmosphere. Volatile fatty acids are the products of metabolism of some anaerobes and will inhibit anaerobic growth if not removed.


What is Anotox?

Anotox is exclusive to Don Whitley Scientific. It is an especially impregnated activated carbon, designed to absorb the gaseous products of metabolism of anaerobic microorganisms. Each gram of Anotox has a surface area of approximately 1,000 square metres. Under anaerobic conditions Anotox will also absorb a wide range of volatile fatty acids and between 5‐10% of its own weight of hydrogen sulphide.

Hydrogen sulphide has two detrimental effects within an anaerobic workstation. It poisons the catalyst – inhibiting its ability to function properly and efficiently – and has an adverse effect on the growth of certain anaerobes.


Can I dry my catalyst to prolong its life?

Catalyst life depends upon many factors. If catalyst becomes wet it may become partially or totally inactive. Wet catalyst may be dried in a warm oven. The design of Whitley workstations is such that it is most unlikely that the atmospheric conditioning compounds will become damp during routine use, unlike some workstations produced by other manufacturers. Customers must not be not mislead into believing that simply placing catalyst in a warm oven will somehow extend catalyst life indefinitely. Placing catalyst in a warm oven will dry out the compound if it has become damp and may also provide some minor, short‐term revitalisation of catalyst performance by driving off any surface moisture, but this drying process cannot reverse poisoning of the catalyst over time.


What can I do about catalyst poisoning?

Irreversible catalyst poisoning occurs when catalyst is exposed to sulphur and chlorine compounds, oil, unsaturated hydrocarbons and the vapours of some organic solvents. Catalyst poisons also include the products of metabolism of many anaerobes. Poisoning and the subsequent failure of catalyst are almost invariably sudden and complete.

If your catalyst is poisoned, there is no alternative but to purchase a new supply. However, if you have a Don Whitley Scientific service and maintenance contract, your catalyst will be renewed free of charge once a year when the unit is serviced.


If I don’t have a service contract, how often should I change the catalyst and Anotox?

We recommend that the catalyst and Anotox are changed together once every 12 months.


Is this the best catalyst to use?

Working carefully and thoroughly with a number of suppliers, Don Whitley Scientific evaluated a number of types of catalyst. We have chosen a combination of a specific catalyst and a carrier substrate where tests confirmed the best possible performance.

Anotox is a registered trademark owned by Don Whitley Scientific Limited.