Everything you need to know about laboratory glassware

Organic-Chemistry kit

When it comes to laboratory glassware, we often get asked questions from customers such as: what is laboratory glassware? how to dispose of glassware in a lab?  what is a laboratory glassware used for?

So, we will attempt to answer some of the above questions and provide a detailed, but simple guide to help you understand everything you need to know about laboratory glassware.

what is laboratory glassware?

Laboratory glassware refers to a variety of equipment used in scientific work, and traditionally made of glass. Glass can be blown, bent, cut, molded, and formed into many sizes and shapes, and is therefore common in chemistry, biology, and analytical laboratories. Many laboratories have training programs to demonstrate how glassware is used and to alert first–time users to the safety hazards involved with using glassware.

what is laboratory glassware used for?

Glassware has long been a core component of the chemistry laboratory. Glass’s longstanding popularity has remained high because it is relatively inert, highly durable, easily customizable, and inexpensive. Because of these desirable traits, glass has been used to create a wide assortment of apparatuses. Being unfamiliar with this equipment could lead to confusion, misuse and disaster. Therefore, a solid understanding of glassware is necessary to ensure safety and success in the lab.

To learn more about the use of laboratory glassware, please read the article: More than 20 common laboratory apparatus their uses

why is glassware used in the lab

One of the main reasons glassware is used in laboratories is because of its durability and ability to withstand heat, cold and other rigorous activities during experiments. Some types of glass are more resistant to scientific experiments than others, such as Pyrex®, a heat resistant brand of glass that is popularly used by chemists. Another type is quartz glass, which is known for its purity and the high level of visibility that results from it. Glass is also transparent, which can make it simpler to observe whatever is being studies, and it is also relatively inert, so it has a low probability of reacting with chemicals.

Which Acid Is Used for Cleaning Glassware in the Laboratory?

Acid solutions including aqua regia (a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid), diluted sulfuric acid, chromic acid solution, piranha solution and fuming sulfuric acid are used to clean laboratory glassware, according to the University of Wisconsin Office of Chemical Safety.

These are potentially hazardous substances and should be used only by people who have been trained in their proper use and are fully equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). WUBO recommends heavy duty slip-resistant and chemically resistant gloves, eye protection, lab coats and aprons, and states that the work should be done in a fume hood when appropriate.

how to dispose of glassware in a lab?

Glassware must not be disposed of with normal trash. Building Services Personnel and others have been injured when carrying trash bags with broken glassware in them.

Several cuts or lacerations due to the improper disposal of laboratory glassware have recently been reported on the campus. In an effort to eliminate or minimize these injuries, certain procedures will be followed when discarding broken or unserviceable glassware.

Broken glassware should immediately be cleaned up. A laboratory should already have a small brush and dust pan available to clean up after small accidents. Forceps or duct tape can be used to pick up the smaller pieces of broken glass.

   What you need to know:

Discarded glassware must be placed in a small puncture proof, double-lined cardboard box or a container specifically designed for the disposal of glassware

The box must be securely sealed with tape.

Any cardboard box may be used, provided it is sturdy and of a size that will not weigh more than 40 pounds when full.

The container must be labeled as to the contents.


Never allow Custodial Services to handle broken glassware.

Never use laboratory glassware boxes for the disposal of

  •     Sharps
  •     Biohazardous materials
  •     Liquid wastes
  •     Chemically contaminated laboratory glassware/plastics or plastic-ware
  •     Chemical containers that can’t be disposed of as regular solid waste

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