Thermoplastic Cleaning Protocol

This thermoplastic cleaning protocol will help you clean leftover thermoplastic ink from your metal syringes. It can be used for polycaprolactone (PCL), and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) bioinks.


This protocol involves the use of chloroform. Chloroform is classified as a health hazard, irritant, and as toxic.

Methods: Thermoplastic Cleaning

  1. Remove the metal syringe from the printer. Be sure to use insulated gloves if the syringe is still hot.
    • Note: To speed up the cleaning process, it is best to extrude as much thermoplastic as possible
  2. Prepare a bath of chloroform in a 500mL glass beaker under a fume hood. Use enough chloroform to cover the entire syringe
  3. Place the syringe in the chloroform under hood. Cover the beaker with aluminum foil and label it as a hazard
  4. The amount of remaining thermoplastic will determine how long it must soak
    • If there is a small amount, 30 min – 1 hour may suffice
    • If there is a large amount, you may need to soak overnight or do multiple baths
  5. Remove the syringe and place it in a cold ethanol bath. This will cause the thermoplastic to detach from the syringe so that it can be removed in one piece. Rinse the syringe in ethanol 2 more times (for a total of 3 times)
  6. Dry the syringe with Kimwipes. It is now clean and ready to be used again!
  7. Be sure to properly dispose of the used chloroform in accordance with your institution’s guidelines for waste disposal


Chloroform Safety Data Sheet (Fisher Scientific)

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