Tube Labeling Lab Hack – Stop Squinting at Destroyed Labels!

Centrifuge tubes go through a lot of abuse during extractions. Because of all of this handling, your careful labeling can be lost due to rubbing off in a shaker or centrifuge, or from solvent leakage from the top of the tube. Sometimes if you squint, you can tell what was written on the destroyed labels, but an easy way to save your nerves and eyesight is to label the tops of your extraction tubes instead of the sides. For the most part, no solvent gets on the tops of the vials, and nothing rubs on them. In the picture below, I have both the sides and tops of my vials labeled, but that’s because the tops of FEP centrifuge tubes are pretty small and I couldn’t fit a full description of the sample on the top. While FEP centrifuge tubes are a must when using aggressive solvents such as hexane/acetone (as we were during this extraction), there’s more real-estate for labels on the disposable polypropylene centrifuge tubes, and you can write directly on the tops because they’re disposable. However, if you do use lab tape for labeling your vials, it’s easily transferrable to evaporation tubes or other containers so you only have to write your label information once.

tube labels

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