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Parafilm : Frequently asked questions


Is PARAFILM free of latex?

PARAFILM®M is free from plasticizers and consists primarily of polyolefins and paraffin waxes. If PARAFILM®M comes into contact with food, the relevant regulations should be observed.

At what temperature can I use PARAFILM?

Temperature range (continuous use): -45 to +50°C,
melting point: 60°C, flash point: 301°C

How long can I store PARAFILM?

Parafilm® M can be stored at least 3 years, without quality impairment, under storing conditions between 7 °C and 32 °C at 50 % relative humidity.

Is there any information available about the chemical resistance of PARAFILM?
PARAFILM®M is resistant up to 48 hours against many polar substances, e.g. saline solutions, inorganic acids and alkaline solutions. After this period embrittlement may occur.
Effects of 48 hours exposure at 23°C:
 Acids: Hydrochloric acid 36.5%resistant
Sulphuric acid 98%resistant
 Nitric acid 95%resistant (brown discoloration)
 Alkaline solutions: Sodium hydroxide 22%resistant
 Ammonia 28%resistant
Saline solutions: Sodium chloride 20%resistant
 Potassium permanganate 5%resistant (brown discoloration)
 Iodine solution 0.1 mol/lresistant (brown discoloration)
Organic solvents: Methyl alcoholresistant
 Ethyl alcoholresistant
 Isopropyl alcoholresistant
 Diethyl ethernot resistant
 Chloroformnot resistant
 Carbon tetrachloridenot resistant
 Benzenenot resistant
 Toluenenot resistant
PARAFILM®M conforms to the general requirements of the FDA (Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. USA) if used below 55°C.

Is there any information about gas permability and water vapor permeability of PARAFILM.

Gas permeability in 24 hours at 23 °C and 50% relative humidity:
O2 (oxygen): ≤ 350cm³/m²
N2 (nitrogen): ≤ 105cm³/m²
CO2 (carbon dioxide): ≤ 1100cm³/m²

Water vapor permeability in 24 hours at 37 °C and 90% relative humidity: 0.8 g/m² (Vapor pressure from volatile substances may lift PARAFILM®M off the edge of the vessel.)

PARAFILM is available from Uk stock at Camlab

26 thoughts on “Parafilm : Frequently asked questions

      1. Our daughter’s band teacher recommended parafilm to be used to cover her braces on a sore spot while playing her clarinet. Is this safe to do so from a chemical/toxin standpoint?


        1. Hi
          I would not recommend parafilm for this purpose, its primary purpose is for laboratory use.

    1. Hi John,

      This would likely weaken the parafilm and then you may see tears or breaks – it is only meant for use up to +50°C at the most.

      – Camlab Team

  1. Hi, I recently started in a new lab and took over all materials and equipment from the previous person. When I used the parafilm, it tore more easy than I was used to. After incubation around my Agar plates it dissolved. But the temp was not higher than 40 degree. I have never encountered this before. Could it be too old or just a bad batch?

    1. Hi Tanja,

      Thanks for your question – sounds unusual! Parafilm is OK for use up to +50°C so as long as your incubator is accurate this should have been ok.
      It could just be age – can you see any dates on the box? Try a new pack and see if you encounter the same problem.

      Let us know if you need anything else

      Kind regards
      Camlab Support Team

  2. I sometimes read in sellers websites that it’s possible to “seal” the overlapping ends better by heating up the Parafilm slightly while pressing it together.
    Is that true or a false information?

    1. The recommended temperature range is -45 – +50 °C. The film becomes soft and sticky between 54-66°C so in theory its possible but would be very difficult to control in reality it really would be easier to just get a bigger sheet initially.

  3. does parafilm react with oil-based creams. I am using it to cover the surface of cream much like you would use plastic wrap to cover pudding in the fridge. I want to protect the cream from air exposure prior to use.

  4. I use Parafilm “M” by Bemis to seal up glassware that I send out into the field for my job. I imagine it approaches the maximum temperature of 50 degrees Celsius during the warmest summer months. The parafilm can not be removed easily in one piece as it breaks apart and can potentially contaminate my equipment. I am wondering if there is a parafilm that has a higher temperature range of use. Thanks.

    1. Hi Jon,

      No i’m afraid not, the recommended temperature range is -45 – +50 °C. The film becomes soft and sticky between 54-66°C.
      at about 54-66 °C.

      Camlab Tech Support

  5. can you talk about what parafilm is made of I ran a sample in the FT-IR from my class and could not get a good match from the data. is there TRIACONTANE in it or low density polyethylene??

    1. Hi Craig,

      Thank you for your comment on the Camblab Blog. Parafilm M is a thermoplastic.

      It is not advertised as a recyclable product.

      Kind regards,

      Camlab Tech Support

  6. Hello!
    Parafilm “m” is dissolved in the solvent carbon tetrachloride. When this occurs, does the parafilm contaminate the solvent and is it inappropriate for use or not? Has this occurred in the laboratory and would you like to know if I can use carbon tetrachloride normally or should I dispose of it?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Polly,
      Unfortunately I am not too familiar with the chemical carbon tetrachloride however if you have dissolved contaminants in any chemical I would think its best to dispose of.
      Kind regards
      Sarah, Tech Support.

  7. Hi,
    We use parafilm in our lab where the humidity its kept at an average of 62%.
    We’ve been having problems with the film ripping along the edges of the petri dishes.
    We also use a spray bottle with 50% isopropyl solution to disinfect the surfaces in lab.

    Do you think any of these could be a reason for the parafilm to be faulty or is it possible it could be a manufacturing issue?

    1. Parafilm is resistant to iso-propanol at 99%, so I don’t think that is the issue, it may be over-stretched or it may be catching on the edge of the petri dish.

  8. Hi,

    Is Parafilm suitable for long term storage of spirits? IE, If a bottle of whisky or rum had been opened and an inert ‘preserver’ gas (argon / nitrogen mix) had been sprayed in the bottle (to protect the contents from oxidisation) would there be any point in using Parafilm to seal the bottle? If not, Is there a more suitable product? Thanks.

    1. Hi Michael,

      As parafilm has permeability to air and water I would not think it to be best for this purpose.

      kind regards,
      Sarah, Tech Support

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