How to Unblock Bunsen Burners

Written by nicole fotheringham
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How to Unblock Bunsen Burners
Keep your Bunsen burner working at optimal levels with regular maintenance. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Bunsen burners are used as a heat source in scientific endeavours. Bunsen burners create a hot, clean, blue flame by mixing air with the fuel before combustion. After extended periods of use, Bunsen burners may become clogged with debris and will not function as effectively. Regular maintenance of a Bunsen burner must include cleaning blockages to ensure it stays in good working order.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Cotton swab
  • Non-corrosive solvent
  • Length of stiff wire
  • Test tube brush
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Clean water
  • Spanner or adjustable wrench

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  1. 1

    Check the Bunsen burner nozzle for dirt, fluff or other debris. Clean the nozzle with a cotton swab and a non-corrosive solvent.

  2. 2

    Check the air inlet holes. If there is any debris blocking the free-flow of air, clean with a cotton swan and non-corrosive solvent.

  3. 3

    Clear blocked jets by pushing a piece of stiff wire through the jet.

  4. 4

    Examine the mixing tube. If it is clogged with debris, remove it by twisting. If the mixing tube is jammed, use a spanner or adjustable wrench to work it loose. Clean the tube with warm, soapy water and a test tube brush. Ensure that the tube is completely free of residue by rinsing with clean water.

Tips and warnings

  • Tie back long hair and clothing that may accidentally come into contact with the flame when using a Bunsen burner.
  • Remove any flammable materials from the area before using a Bunsen Burner.
  • Handle the Bunsen burner only when it is cool.
  • Do not leave the flame on unattended.
  • Check for gas leaks regularly.
  • Using a pin or sharp object to clean the nozzle may cause damage.

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