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Vacuette Containers (phlebotomy tube )


Ian&Tracey
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I have acquired (with permission)from work a stack of expired vacuette tubes (think blood test). They have a gel in the bottom. Can anyone tell me how to clean this out so they can be used for geocache containers.

 

Thanks

 

Tracey

 

Good question - I assume a solvent like alcohol would remove it.

 

However, be prepared to receive "suggestions" in this thread as to why not to use these containers for caches. :drama:

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You can probably just soak them in hot water to get the agar or whatever to loosen up, but the residue will be similar to any food and will attract pests and promote mold growth.

 

Best practices call for clean, new containers that have never held food or anything scented. I realize the gel isn't food but it is something organic that should be considered food for geocaching purposes.

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I have acquired (with permission)from work a stack of expired vacuette tubes (think blood test). They have a gel in the bottom. Can anyone tell me how to clean this out so they can be used for geocache containers.

I guess they're like this (showing the gel in the bottom). Is there also a laboratory label?

 

4bc6039b-c013-4b69-bc6c-c7e25f2602d5.jpg

 

That looks like a somewhat more durable tube than the flip-cap centrifuge vials. Besides cleaning out the agar (good idea), see what you can do to make these things look not like a blood sample/syringe/virus laboratory medical device. I'm already a little leery of touching the prescription bottles of whatever those pills were, of which some cacher owners have thousands of empties. :ph34r:

 

You might find that the gel wipes right out with soap & water and a swab. But as mentioned, you must clean it well. That stuff is for growing microorganisms. Cache Owners are supposed to grow fungus & bacteria mainly on the log sheets and the soaking wet mass at the bottom of the container. :anibad:

Edited by kunarion
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It won't take long before someone doesn't put the cap back on properly, and they do require a decent force to seat them on - and it will be a soggy mess.

Micros/Nanos such as this may require a lot more maintenance than most Cache Owners realize. They think set-it-and-forget-it (a very common thought, don't be that guy), but as you say, it gets gross quickly, and logs almost never mention that it's starting to get wet, they wait to mention the soggy mess. The advantage of a whole bunch of free, clean tubes is, the CO can replace it on a schedule, or when inspected, upon it seeming to be getting gross.

 

In theory, even the duct-tape-wrapped ziplock bags would be fine if replaced every few finds by a diligent CO. But just like these tubes, for some reason they get replaced rarely or not at all, having failed many moons ago.

Edited by kunarion
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I have acquired (with permission)from work a stack of expired vacuette tubes (think blood test). They have a gel in the bottom. Can anyone tell me how to clean this out so they can be used for geocache containers.

I guess they're like this (showing the gel in the bottom). Is there also a laboratory label?

 

4bc6039b-c013-4b69-bc6c-c7e25f2602d5.jpg

 

That looks like a somewhat more durable tube than the flip-cap centrifuge vials. Besides cleaning out the agar (good idea), see what you can do to make these things look not like a blood sample/syringe/virus laboratory medical device. I'm already a little leery of touching the prescription bottles of whatever those pills were, of which some cacher owners have thousands of empties. :ph34r:

 

You might find that the gel wipes right out with soap & water and a swab. But as mentioned, you must clean it well. That stuff is for growing microorganisms. Cache Owners are supposed to grow fungus & bacteria mainly on the log sheets and the soaking wet mass at the bottom of the container. :anibad:

 

No, it is for forming an inert barrier between the plasma and the cellular components when the tube is centrifuged. It has a specific gravity between the two. It is not agar. The FDA lists it as an inert polymer but I cannot find specifics on the composition (likely proprietary)

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it is for forming an inert barrier between the plasma and the cellular components when the tube is centrifuged. It has a specific gravity between the two. It is not agar.

Would it require something like a solvent to clean out? I guess it's not water-based, or it would mix with the blood & guts or whatever fun stuff goes in that. If you try to wipe out that polymer, does it spread out and get slimy in its tube?

 

I have a bunch of 50ML centrifuge tubes, like a big version of the above. Somewhat more roomy than a match tube. I have a couple of caches with those tubes, and designed them so the tube can be changed without messing up the camo too much. But I don't like the marks on the tubes that would show how much fluid is inside. I'm trying to not present that "Hi, I'm a laboratory specimen bottle" thing. Even though these tubes are clean and new and were never actually in a lab, it still isn't something I want finders to be uncertain about. And I definitely don't want anymuggle to be tempted to... um... see if he can fill it up.

Edited by kunarion
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I have acquired (with permission)from work a stack of expired vacuette tubes (think blood test). They have a gel in the bottom. Can anyone tell me how to clean this out so they can be used for geocache containers.

I guess they're like this (showing the gel in the bottom). Is there also a laboratory label?

 

4bc6039b-c013-4b69-bc6c-c7e25f2602d5.jpg

 

That looks like a somewhat more durable tube than the flip-cap centrifuge vials. Besides cleaning out the agar (good idea), see what you can do to make these things look not like a blood sample/syringe/virus laboratory medical device. I'm already a little leery of touching the prescription bottles of whatever those pills were, of which some cacher owners have thousands of empties. :ph34r:

 

You might find that the gel wipes right out with soap & water and a swab. But as mentioned, you must clean it well. That stuff is for growing microorganisms. Cache Owners are supposed to grow fungus & bacteria mainly on the log sheets and the soaking wet mass at the bottom of the container. :anibad:

 

No, it is for forming an inert barrier between the plasma and the cellular components when the tube is centrifuged. It has a specific gravity between the two. It is not agar. The FDA lists it as an inert polymer but I cannot find specifics on the composition (likely proprietary)

 

Cool, didn't know that!

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I have acquired (with permission)from work a stack of expired vacuette tubes (think blood test). They have a gel in the bottom. Can anyone tell me how to clean this out so they can be used for geocache containers.

I guess they're like this (showing the gel in the bottom). Is there also a laboratory label?

 

4bc6039b-c013-4b69-bc6c-c7e25f2602d5.jpg

 

That looks like a somewhat more durable tube than the flip-cap centrifuge vials. Besides cleaning out the agar (good idea), see what you can do to make these things look not like a blood sample/syringe/virus laboratory medical device. I'm already a little leery of touching the prescription bottles of whatever those pills were, of which some cacher owners have thousands of empties. :ph34r:

 

You might find that the gel wipes right out with soap & water and a swab. But as mentioned, you must clean it well. That stuff is for growing microorganisms. Cache Owners are supposed to grow fungus & bacteria mainly on the log sheets and the soaking wet mass at the bottom of the container. :anibad:

 

No, it is for forming an inert barrier between the plasma and the cellular components when the tube is centrifuged. It has a specific gravity between the two. It is not agar. The FDA lists it as an inert polymer but I cannot find specifics on the composition (likely proprietary)

 

Cool, didn't know that!

To make a Nano cache, simply fill it with that polymer and water can't get in. :P

Edited by kunarion
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My guess is that the gel at the bottom will melt in a hot water bath, but not so hot that it melts or warps the tube. The stuff has kind of a waxy consistency so I'm not sure how much solvent you'd have to go through to get them entirely clean.

 

Another thought would be to seal the gel in the bottom of the tube with a layer of hot glue or something.

 

I think the caps would be the main problem with these things. The one in the photo is a twist type cap, with a rubber stopper at the top. It takes a fair amount of force to twist them off, and I'd be concerned that people wouldn't get them seated correctly to avoid having moisture getting inside.

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As was noted, the caps are sometimes *very* difficult to remove and fully recap. That's what makes them waterproof in the centrifuge. It also poses a problem in the field, where extreme conditions are present (heat, cold, dirt, etc.), and where finders are in a big hurry.

 

An effective scenario for any container is double protection, whether that's a container inside a container, or a placement that keeps most or all of the rain from reaching the outside of the cache container.

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