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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.  It is located inside our luminometer. The luminometer measures the amount of light produced from the reaction between ATP and the Luminase enzyme – a critical task in ATP testing. Despite being built to withstand harsh conditions, the luminometer is still a light detector. Therefore, it’s important to keep the unit clean to ensure accurate readings and protect it against damage.


When you open the lid of the 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.

There are several things that can affect these seals, both under the lid and in the bottom chamber:

  • 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 if it happens often without regular cleanings.

How do you clean the PhotonMaster luminometer effectively without causing more damage?

It’s important not to use an alcohol-based solution or cotton swabs. Alcohol-based solutions can damage the unit and cotton swabs can leave behind small fibers. These small fibers build up in the chamber. Always use the foam swabs and water-based cleaning solution provided by LuminUltra. Never insert any sharp objects into the chamber. Perform routine cleanings at least once a year. Additionally, anytime reagent spills inside the chamber or an assay tube is left in the luminometer while it was being transported.

To clean your Luminometer, follow this Five-Step Guide:

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

First, remove the rubber gasket from around the chamber.

Then, lay the unit on its side with the lid open.

Next, apply 6-8 drops of the recommended cleaning solution to the foam swab and allow it to absorb.

After applying the cleaning solution, insert the swab slowly into the chamber until it stops and turn the swab 6X clockwise and 6X counterclockwise. Ensure the whole length of the chamber is clean.

And lastly, use a new swab to dry the chamber and then visually inspect to ensure all debris has been removed.

Note: Luminase is extremely sticky and may require several cleanings to remove completely if it’s spilled in the chamber. Remove the luminase by repeating this process.

By following these simple steps, your PhotonMaster luminometer will be cleaned safely to reduce the risk of damage to the Photomultiplier tube. It also ensures that light will not leak when you’re running your analyses. If you have any questions or would like more information, our Technical Support team is always happy to help.


LuminUltra Team

Founded in 1995, LuminUltra is a molecular biology diagnostic testing company headquartered in Canada with operations in 6 countries. It is widely recognized globally as a leader in developing tests and reagents for environmental, industrial, and diagnostic monitoring applications and was a key supplier of COVID-19 diagnostic testing reagents to the Government of Canada.

Dozens of Fortune 500 customers across more than 80 countries trust LuminUltra’s technology, production reliability and history of customer service excellence to deliver their essential services in a safe state.

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