Scrubbing Bubbles, take me away!

Not the way we want our floors to look!

Students in the Thursday 11 AM BIO230 lab last week may have noticed a couple of “OOPS” events from the earlier lab sections. My dire warnings about the tendency of dyes to end up in unwanted locations were apparently disregarded, and consequently a number of locations throughout the lab were festively decorated with Malachite Green. Faced with the possibility of a permanently disfigured Microbiology lab, I pulled out the box of cleaning supplies stowed away for our lab on microbial control.

Fortunately, the cleaning supply cabinet is well-stocked and gave me the opportunity to find just the right reagent. Here is a summary of my results:

  • soapunsuccessful
  • Fantasticunsuccessful
  • an orange oil based cleaner–unsuccessful, however the lab smelled delicious
  • Gram’s alcoholunsuccessful, although it did appear to eat away at the floor a bit
  • Dow Scrubbing Bubbles–SUCCESS!!!!!!

Scrubbing Bubbles (not actual size)

The trained scientist in me was pleased with the results, however the lazy person in me should have done just a bit of sleuthing before randomly trying out toxic chemicals. A brief Google search (documented below) indicated that this is the sort of lab mishap that happens regularly. Amazingly enough, it turned up over 82,000 results that could potentially be of help. The best advice appears to apply a dilute solution (0.3%) of hydrogen peroxide, which as we have learned in class recently is a strong oxidizing agent for which aerobic organisms have powerful defensive protections against. Malachite green however has no catalase, and so quickly succumbs to the power of reactive oxygen! Bonus points this week in lab for anyone who can spill additional malachite green, allowing me to test this amazing reagent.


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on September 19, 2012, in Lab, The more you know and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Haha that’s interesting. I’ll be sure to spill plenty tomorrow morning!

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