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The Five Step Guide to Cleaning Your Luminometer, and Why It Matters

One of the key components of any analytical method is the detector. In the case of ATP testing, that detector is a photomultiplier tube located inside the LuminUltra PhotonMaster luminometer. The luminometer measures the amount of light produced from the reaction between the chemical marker adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and the Luminase enzyme.

Despite being built to withstand harsh conditions, the luminometer is still a light detector. If your unit isn’t clean, it won’t provide an accurate reading.

How often should I clean my luminometer?

We recommend routine cleanings at least four times annually.

You should also clean your machine if you experience any of the following:

  • A spill in the chamber
  • Any dirt, debris or residue is visible or suspected in the chamber
  • High background levels
  • Cuvette does not readily eject or accept into the chamber​
  • The testing tube was left in chamber and transported​

We recommend more frequent cleaning if the instrument is routinely used outside of a laboratory. This includes dusty or dirty environments, rain or snow, or corrosive environments.

What do I use to clean a luminometer?

Always use the foam swabs and water-based cleaning solution provided by LuminUltra. Do not use an alcohol-based solution or cotton swabs. Alcohol-based solutions can damage the unit; cotton swabs leave behind small fibers that build up in the chamber.

How to clean a luminometer in 5 easy steps

Following these simple steps will ensure your LuminUltra PhotonMaster luminometer will be cleaned safely, reducing the risk of damage to the photomultiplier tube. It also ensures that light will not leak when running analyses.

Note: If fluids have spilled into the chamber, first allow the unit to sit upside down in a clean location away from direct sunlight.

Step 1

Remove the rubber gasket from the chamber.

Step 2

Lay the unit on its side with the lid open.

Step 3

Using the Luminometer Cleaning Kit, apply 6-8 drops of solution to the foam swab and allow it to absorb.

Step 4

Insert the swab slowly into the chamber. Applying pressure, use the swab to scrub the walls of the chamber. Ensure the entire length of the chamber is clean.

Luminase is extremely sticky and may require several cleanings to remove completely if it’s spilled in the chamber.

Step 5

Use a new swab to dry the chamber. Do a visual inspection to ensure all debris has been removed.


Order a cleaning kit

Preventative maintenance

Luminometer Cleaning Kit

  • This kit contains all the components to clean the optical chamber up to 5 times.

Equipment performance

Luminiometer Standardization Kit Complete, 5 curves

  • This kit contains all the components to check linearity and performance of PhotonMaster Luminometer Equipment

Contact our customer experience team to place your order.


How are luminometers affected by infrequent cleaning?

When you open the lid of the LuminUltra PhotonMaster luminometer, you’ll see the small chamber where the assay tube sits. Below that is the photomultiplier tube, in another chamber. The photomultiplier measures the light output that emits from the solution in the assay tube. When the lid closes, the assay tube pushes down into that chamber. The unit then seals to prevent light leakage from the environment.

Several things can affect these seals, both under the lid and in the bottom chamber, such as:

  • the assay tubes were left inside during transportation
  • samples could have spilled into the chamber
  • dust and particulate may have settled in if the lid was left open on a windy day

This can result in potential light leakage and damage to the photomultiplier tube.


LuminUltra Team

Founded in 1995, LuminUltra is a global leader in applied molecular biology diagnostics, with solutions and services that deliver accurate and actionable feedback in bioprocessing, biofouling, and biosecurity applications. With operations in six countries, LuminUltra serves dozens of Fortune 500 customers across more than 100 countries. At the same time, LuminUltra fosters a culture of innovation and agility, working tirelessly to deliver more value to customers. In recent years it has been on an accelerated growth path, acquiring multiple companies after forming a partnership with XPV Water Partners.  

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