McClean: Cleaning Floating Pin Replicators

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This is the procedure for cleaning the 96-format and 386-format floating pin replicators. You must perform this procedure between every pinning step when pinning strains from liquid culture to agar, from frozen stocks, etc.


  • Square liquid reserviors (kept in drawer with pinners or on pegs over the sink)
  • Reservoir 1: 100ml deionized water
  • Reservoir 2: 40mls of 10% bleach
  • Reservoir 3: 50mls of deionized water
  • Reservoir 4: 70mls of deionized water
  • Reservoir 5: 100mls of deionized water
  • Reservoir 6: 95% ethanol
  • Floating pinner
  • Flame source


  1. Fill the reservoirs as described in the Materials section above.
  2. Set the replicator into Reservoir 1 (water) and agitate by hand for 1 minute
  3. Set the replicator into Reservoir 2 (bleach) and agitate for 30 seconds
  4. Set the replicator into Reservoir 3 (water) and rinse briefly (~ 5 seconds)
  5. Set the replicator into Reservoir 4 (water) and rinse briefly (~ 5 seconds)
  6. Set the replicator into Reservoir 5 (water) and rinse briefly (~ 5 seconds)
  7. Set the replicator into Reservoir 6 (ethanol) and rinse briefly (~ 5 seconds).
  8. Remove the replicator from Reservoir 6 and allow the excess ethanol to drip off of the pins
  9. Flame the pins. Allow the pins to cool to room temperature before using the replicator.


Please feel free to post comments, questions, or improvements to this protocol. Happy to have your input!

  1. List troubleshooting tips here.
  2. You can also link to FAQs/tips provided by other sources such as the manufacturer or other websites.
  3. Anecdotal observations that might be of use to others can also be posted here.

*Megan N McClean 17:31, 24 February 2012 (EST): The water wash steps are actually important, don't skip them! The different volumes of water are at different heights in the reservoir so they climb further and further up the pin each step, pulling off junk.

*Megan N McClean 17:31, 24 February 2012 (EST): Be careful with ethanol and flame! If you accidentally set the ethanol bath on fire (which should not happen if you allow the pins to cool and follow all of the wash instructions) don't panic! Cover the container to exstinguish the flames.

*Megan N McClean 17:31, 24 February 2012 (EST): If you do not allow the replicator to cool before proceeding to pinning steps you will kill all of your cells. Let the replicator cool! To speed up the process we have two replicators, and you can use them both so that while you are replicating with one you are letting the other cool.

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or instead, discuss this protocol.