Help Has Arrived: Coverslip Removal

There are a lot of places you can go to find troubleshooting help in the lab. The Block, NSH’s member community, which has a very active discussion forum, is one of those places, another is NSH’s new podcast series, HistoHelp!

HistoHelp is a new podcast series dedicated to sharing solutions to common… and uncommon… problems. For example, what do you do when you need to remove a coverslip? Have you ever seen a new tech get impatient and try to pry the coverslip off? One of our HistoHelp episodes breaks down what to do to remove a coverslip, how long to wait, and how to know when it is ready to come off.

In that episode, NSH member Michelle Hart, shares her advice that she gives to her students. Take a moment to understand what kind of coverslip you are trying to remove. Is it a glass coverslip or a film coverslip? What was the sample coverslipped with? Was it a water bearing/aqueous solution, xylene, or a xylene substitute? Once you know what you are working with you will know what procedures to use to remove the coverslip.

If it is a glass coverslip, coverslipped with xylene, put it back in xylene for a few minutes to an hour. The longer the coverslip has been on the slide, the longer it is going to take to remove it. If it has been months or years, the removal process could take days, or even weeks. Patience is key. Check back on the sample regularly. When the coverslip is ready to come off it will come off with no resistance. If it is not coming off easily, don’t force it!

Listen to Michelle’s podcast episode to learn the coverslip removal procedure for other types of coverslip scenarios. Check out more HistoHelp episodes, including episodes on static in the lab, ergonomics, and cutting thin paraffin sections, on Podbean.

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