Q & A FROM THE ANSWER DESK **************************
Q. I buy slides that say “pre-cleaned” but they don’t seem to be. What’s the story?
A. We have discovered that slides can be very dirty, even if they are sold as pre-cleaned. We went to the largest mfg in the U.S. several years ago and complained mightily – to no avail. They sent us the best – but even at those pricy levels, the slides were still not that great.
We had been buying our slides from Germany for several years now. But even at that we still experience bad runs in some lots. We stopped getting frosted ends many years ago – we essentially want the least amount of activity to be done to any slide. If we need to write on them, we use a Sharpie fine tip pen that will write on glass.
TIP1: Have a hot coffee mug warmer near your microscope with a hot mug of deionized distilled water available. When you need a clean slide, take your slide out of the slide box and dip it in the hot water for a few seconds and wipe it with a fresh kimwipe or lint-free lens cleaning tissue.
You will now have as clean a slide as you are likely to get anywhere. (Note – you can get lab tissues from the Biomedx store – remember to always close the lid on your box of slides to keep stray dust out.)
TIP2: View blank slides. You should know what artifactual slide crystals look like. I see many pictures in training material with arrows pointing and calling things “uric acid crystals” – but it is really slide garbage/artifacts.
We do this exercise in all classes. It is amazing how many crystals or other artifacts are mistaken for things in the blood which are just forms appearing on a “pre-cleaned” blank slide.