The Essential Guide to Watch Glass in Laboratory: Uses, Benefits, and Best Practices

The Essential Guide to Watch Glass in Laboratory: Uses, Benefits, and Best Practices

If you've been in a laboratory, chances are you've encountered a watch glass or you may have been using it every day. Sometimes known as dish glass, this unassuming small, concave piece of glass might seem boring, but it's a staple in scientific research and experiments.

In this guide, we'll explore the world of dish glasses, their uses, benefits, and best practices for getting the most out of these essential tools. Whether you're a science expert or just starting in the lab, understanding its roles can definitely enhance your efficiency and safety.

What is a Watch or Glass Dish?

Primarily used in laboratories for a variety of tasks, a glass dish is a round, concave glass dish typically made from clear glass. They also come in different sizes to suit various needs. The name came from its resemblance to the glass covering your wristwatch. These simple yet versatile tools are indispensable in any lab setting.

So, what's this glassware good for? There are so many to mention. However, it's often used to evaporate liquids, hold small samples of solids, or act as a lid for beakers. Additionally, its design makes it easy to see what's happening with your samples without risking contamination. Plus, it's perfect for weighing substances and conducting small-scale experiments. Think of it as a multi-tool for your lab work.

What Are Its Uses In the Laboratory 

Watch or dish glass might not be the flashiest piece of lab equipment, but it's incredibly versatile. You can think of it as the Swiss Army knife of the laboratory world. Here are some common uses that showcase its utility:

Evaporating Liquids

One of the primary uses of this lab tool is for evaporating liquids. When you need to evaporate a solution to obtain the solute, a glass dish is your go-to tool. It provides a broad surface area, which is necessary to speed up the evaporation process. Plus, its shallow depth means you can easily observe the progress without interference.

Holding Solids

If you need a spot to place a small amount of solid substance, this is the perfect glassware for this task. It's especially handy when you're working with small amounts of chemicals to avoid contamination. Whether you're weighing out a sample or just need a temporary resting place, this glassware has you covered.

Covering Beakers

When experimenting, it's important to prevent contamination from the environment. A glass dish can be used to cover beakers or other containers, acting as a makeshift lid. This simple barrier helps keep dust and other particles out while allowing gasses to escape if necessary.

Observing Chemical Reactions

Having a transparent nature, these glasses make them ideal for observing small-scale chemical reactions. You can place reactants on the glass dish and watch as the reaction unfolds before your very eye. This is particularly useful for educational demonstrations where visual observation is key.

Benefits of Using Glass Dish

Now, let's see why this glassware is a favourite for scientists and lab technicians. Here are some benefits that make it invaluable in labs in Australia  and around the world:

Durability and Reusability

Glass dishes are made from strong glassware that can tolerate high temperatures and tough chemicals. It's not your ordinary disposable lab consumables. The item is reusable several times, which brings on the cost-efficiency that any laboratory can face.


The wide range of applications we mentioned above clearly shows its versatility. Their simple design allows many uses, eliminating the need for various other costly tools.

Ease of Cleaning

Cleaning in the laboratory is a task by itself, and it can be very time-consuming. But not with these glass dishes. Their smooth, curved surfaces have absolutely nowhere for residues to stick. It is for this reason that they can be thoroughly cleaned between uses easily.


Unlike your other laboratory equipment, the piece of glass is fairly cheap. This ensures educational institutions, research laboratories, and businesses get their money's worth by using this glass dish properly.

best practices in using watch glass in a laboratory

Best Practices In Laboratory

To get the most out of your glass dishes and ensure safe, effective use, here are some best practices to follow:

  • Handling with Care: While these glasses are quite durable, remember that they are still made of glass. They can break if not handled carefully. The best way to go about handling them is to use tongs or heat-resistant gloves, especially when transferring hot substances.
  • Proper Cleaning: After each use, clean these glass dishes thoroughly. Use the right cleaning agents depending on the substances it has come into contact with. For instance, while cleaning general reagents, warm soapy water can also be sufficient. Rinse well and dry it before use to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Safe Lifting: When lifting glass jars, bottles, or large glass dishes, always support them from the base and sides. This safe lifting can prevent breakage.
  • Stirring Solutions: Use soft, non-abrasive materials when stirring solutions in glass containers. Avoid stirring bars with sharp ends as they can scratch and weaken the glass.
  • Using Connectors: Many glassware products come with plastic screw-on tube connectors. So make sure that you remove the screw thread connector from the glassware before attaching the tube. Also, lubricate the tube and wear protective gloves to avoid accidents. Never force connections.
  • Surface Scratching: When the surface of your glass is scratched, it is a sign of a stress point. This means that with time, it's more likely to create a break under a lot more pressure. To prevent this from happening, use a protective cover that comes with your glass or buy one separately if it does not. Do not share them with anything that can create scratches on the surface.
  • Storing: Keep these glasswares in a place free from impacts or heavy objects. You may stack them up but do this carefully. Also, make sure they are clean and dry so that they don't stick together or break.
  • Disposal of Defective Glassware: Dispose of broken or defective glassware safely. Use a puncture-resistant waste container for glass disposal that has a clear label. Never dispose of Pyrex or borosilicate glass in domestic recycling streams because their high melting points make them incompatible with standard glass recycling.
  • Using the Right Size: These laboratory glasses come in various sizes so choose depending on what you need them for. For instance, a larger glass dish will be more useful in helping to evaporate a small amount of liquid. Another smaller one is better suited to hold tiny samples.

Types and Their Specific Uses

Not all glass dishes are created equal. Let's talk about the different types and when you would use one over another.

Concave Glass Dish

This is probably the most common type of glass dish. It's a little concave at the center and this shape is ideal for evaporating solutions and holding samples. It’s kind of holding the material in while keeping it from spilling out.

Flat Glass Dish

These are just flat glass dishes, you know, in case it wasn't obvious. They're most commonly used as beaker covers, but they're also used as a surface you weigh things on.

Large Glass Dish

With larger containers, you will need to use larger glass dishes. They are also great in giving more surface area to evaporate more. They are versatile to use, providing varieties of things that can be done, and could double up as something of a petri dish if necessary.

Small Glass Dish

Work that requires a high level of accuracy in handling minute quantities of chemicals will call for one of these. They are good for detailed work, as they are easy to manipulate with better control.

Elevate Your Experiments with Science Equip

In a nutshell, a watch or glass dish should be the first piece of equipment purchased for every laboratory. This versatile tool is quite indispensable to every scientific study, as it is used to evaporate liquids or in the testing of substances that may be in solid form. Most importantly, with this knowledge and best practices, the use of these glasswares becomes effective and safe in your experiments.

At Science Equip, we believe that mastering the use of basic lab tools can propel your research forward. That’s why we offer high-quality laboratory equipment to support your scientific endeavors. By partnering with us, you gain access to reliable tools that enhance your experiments and research.

Start making the most of your lab wares today and see the difference it makes in your experiments. For top-notch lab equipment and expert advice for your scientific discovery, contact us today!

Related aticles
Contact us for any queries

+61 410 185 743
Mon - Fri: 8:00 - 18:00