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Why Storage Matters for Your Reagents

Why Storage Matters for Your Reagents

We get a lot of technical calls and e-mails here at Taylor. And the clear majority of those technical questions revolve around reagent freshness or “shelf life.”

All reagents have a shelf life, whether liquids, powders, crystals, tablets, or test-strip pads. Different reagents have different shelf lives. For example, powders and crystals are very stable if kept dry and are not exposed to humidity. Blended reagents (e.g., indicator solutions) have good shelf lives IF a little common sense is used when storing them.

Common sense storage conditions play a MAJOR role in shelf life.

For example:

  • Store reagents at a consistent temperature range of 36°F–85°F (2°C–29°C); extreme temperature fluctuations, like from a refrigerator to a hot car/truck, may cause reagents to quickly deteriorate.
  • Keep reagents out of prolonged direct sunlight. (Note: Brown bottles indicate light-sensitive reagents.)
  • Storing your test kit in the bed of your truck (picture below) is not a good practice.
  • Store reagents and test kits AWAY from treatment chemicals.
  • Replace and tighten caps immediately after use.
  • Avoid switching bottle caps, placing bottle caps on soiled surfaces, repouring reagents into contaminated containers, or touching test strip pads.

Taylor formulates its reagents to remain effective for at least one year, with only very few exceptions. The expiration date is printed next to the lot number of each reagent we produce; however, expiration dates alone do not guarantee freshness if you don’t use a bit of common sense when it comes to storage!