Health Care

Phlebotomy Order of Draw and the Importance of It

The drawing of blood according to order

When phlebotomists collect blood, they must use collection tubes in a particular order for blood samples taken from patients when they perform venipuncture to prevent the blood from getting cross-contaminated by the additives between the tubes. This is called the order of draw.

For a phlebotomist who is under training or an entry-level phlebotomist might have some confusions to remember the order of draw correctly.

The table of that you can follow for drawing blood

Phlebotomy order of draw consists of different colors at the top of the collection tubes. Let’s check the colors.

Order of Blood Draw Color of Tube Additive                               Number of Inversions

1                                     Varies                        Blood Cultures                                                       8 – 10

2                                  Light Blue        Sodium Citrate                                 3 – 4

3                                  Red                  Clot Activator                                 4 – 5

4                                  Gold                   SST (Serum Separator Tube)         4 – 5

5                                  Light Green     Lithium Heparin                               8 – 10

6                                  Dark Green     Sodium Heparin                               8 – 10

7                                  Lavender         EDTA                                                8 – 10

8                                  Gray                 Sodium Fluoride / Potassium Oxalate 8 – 10

The importance of the drawing blood in order

There are a few reasons for implementation of the order of draw during venipuncture. The reasons are as follows:

  • Order of draw reduces the time for the procedure to take place.
  • Order of draw reduces the discomfort for the patient.
  • Order of draw avoids complications for the patient.
  • Order of draw prevents the patient from misdiagnosis.
  • Order of draw prevents the chances of cross-contamination within the collection of blood tubes with the additives.

If phlebotomist applies for proper order in their collection tubes, then they will provide safety and comfort to the patient. This should be the priority while drawing blood from a patient. Order of draw will ensure that you will get an accurate report about the blood, and therefore the diagnosis is going to be accurate, and so the treatment will be more successful.


Phlebotomist inverts the tubes carrying blood samples 180 degrees vertically. Let’s check which tube needs how many inversions:

Tube Color                 Name/Addictive                                Number of inversions

  1. Varies Blood Culture                                      8-10
  2. Light Blue Sodium Citrate                                    3-4
  3. Red Clot Activator                                      4-5
  4. Gold SST (Serum Separator Tube)               4-5
  5. Light Green Lithium Heparin                                  8-10
  6. Dark Green Sodium Heparin                                  8-10
  7. Lavender EDTA                                                   8-10
  8. Gray Sodium Fluoride/Potassium Oxalate  8-10

So, with inversions the blood gets mixed with the tube’s additives and ensures that no cross-contamination has taken place. If cross-contamination occurs with the additives, then there are huge chances the patient will be misdiagnosed and hence mistreated.

Easy Way to Remember

There is a common acronym used by phlebotomists to help out them to remember the pattern of the order of draw correctly easily at the time of performing venipuncture.

The acronym goes as “Boys Love Ravishing Girls Like Dieters Love Greek Yogurt.”

So, this acronym makes phlebotomists remember the color at the top of the tube, as given below:

Boys: Blood Culture

Love: Light Blue

Ravishing: Red

Girls: Gold

Like: Light Green

Dieters: Dark green

Love: Lavender

Greek: Gray

Yogurt: Yellow