Neutral ph Surgical Instrument Cleaners Avoid Surgical Instrument Corrosion. Virtually all manufacturers of surgical instruments and surgical instrument containers recommend against using a neutral ph surgical instrument cleaning detergent. Yellow-brown to dark-brown stains or spots on surgical stainless steel instruments are frequently mistaken for rust. These residue deposits stains or spots arranged in groups or along edges or in crevices are usually the instrument being exposed to result of high chloride content. They will lead to pitting of the surgical instrument surface if not removed. Excessively hard water can contain high levels of salt sufficient to cause stains or spots that appear as rust. Boilers used to generate the steam for steam sterilizers, if not cleaned properly, will produce contaminated steam which can deposit minerals onto instruments during the sterilization process.
Generic Example of this recommendation: Do not use high acidic (pH <4) or high alkaline (pH >10) surgical instrument cleaning detergent products for disinfection or cleaning, since these can corrode metal, cause discoloration or stress fractures. Do not use abrasive pads or abrasive Cleaning Concentrates , which will scratch the surface allowing dirt and water deposits to collect. Abrasive cleaning will remove the protective passive layer. Do not use Cleaning Concentrate surgical instrument cleaning detergent with high concentrations of chlorine bleach to clean or disinfect stainless steel instruments, as pitting will occur. Never use bleach to clean any surgical instruments. The high pH of bleach causes surface deposits of brown stains and might even corrode the instrument. Even high quality stainless steel is not impervious to an acidic bleach solution. Sort instruments by similar metal for subsequent processing so that electrolytic deposition (galvanic corrosion) due to contact between dissimilar metals will not occur. Tap water can contain many minerals, which may discolor and stain surgical instruments. It is recommended that de-ionized water be used for the final rinsing to prevent spotting. all-in-one or "combination" cleaning concentrates can be effective in treating unacceptably hard source water and removing hard water encrustation from surgical instruments and equipment. If untreated tap water is used for final rinsing, then the instruments must be dried immediately to avoid staining. Surgical instrument cleaning detergent Prevent Surgical Instrument Corrosion. Clean instruments, or apply treatment to prevent the drying and encrustation of debris, as quickly as possible after use. Do not allow blood and debris to dry on the instruments. If cleaning must be delayed, place groups of instruments in a covered container with appropriate enzyme-detergent or apply a surgical instrument cleaning detergent foam spray to delay drying. The use of pre-soaking enzyme-detergent foam sprays have been shown to reduce the time expended for manual cleaning and render higher quality outcomes. After surgery, open all box locks and disassemble instruments with removable parts. This will limit blood drying on instruments that may cause them to corrode. Lubrication of Surgical Instruments with surgical instrument cleaning detergentsto maintain moving parts and protect instruments from staining and rusting during sterilization and storage, should be lubricated with a water-soluble, preserved lubricant after each cleaning. The lubricant should contain a chemical preservative to prevent bacterial growth in the lubricant bath. The bath solution should be made with de-mineralized water. A lubricant containing a rust inhibitor helps prevent electrolytic corrosion of points and edges. Immediately after cleaning, instruments should be immersed or rinsed for 30 seconds and allowed to drain off, not wiped off. A lubricant film will remain through the sterilization to protect surgery instruments during storage. Surgical Instrument Cleaners and Ultrasonic Surgical Instrument Cleaner Solution staining and spotting may result if residual chemicals are not completely rinsed from surgery instruments that are subjected to steam sterilization.