Instrument Reprocessing

Nothing is more distressing or potentially embarrassing than picking up a “sterile” instrument from the tray and observing dried soil! Thorough cleaning is also essential to allow full contact of steam sterilant on the surface of the instrument. Rust or corrosion is another problem that may be avoided by starting the cleaning process quickly. Do not allow blood soils to dry on instruments. Start the cleaning process with ProEZ foam readyto- use enzyme detergent spray. ProEZ foam is especially useful if several sets of instruments must be held until time is available for cleaning. ProEZ foam keeps instrument soils moist, reduces corrosion and has two enzymes that start the cleaning process with no scrubbing!

Stay safe during instrument reprocessing. Use methods that reduce touching and hand scrubbing contaminated instruments such as covered trays, cassettes and ultrasonic cleaning devices.

Use an effective cleaning detergent that is also safe for delicate instruments. Avoid use of household detergents such as alkaline dishwashing detergent. Such products will etch metals over time. For general dental procedures – use Good Vibrations™ concentrated general purpose ultrasonic cleaner with excellent anti-corrosives. Good Vibrations’ formula provides powerful cleaning of inorganic dental materials as well as blood and other body soils.

For surgical/periodontal procedures with primarily blood-based soils – use concentrated ProEZ 2 dual enzyme detergent. Liquid concentrate mixes quickly, so there is no undissolved powder residue in the bottom of the ultrasonic tank.

Product selection is only one step in the process. Certol quality detergents will provide the best results in your ultrasonic cleaning device with attention to a few simple steps:
1. Read product instructions carefully and use the correct dilution ratio.
2. “De-gas” the liquid in the ultrasonic by running it empty for several minutes first thing each day. This removes excess air trapped in solution that may interfere with cleaning effectiveness.
3. The liquid in the ultrasonic should cover all items; do not overload.
4. Change ultrasonic solutions daily, or more frequently if visibly soiled.
5. Test ultrasonic effectiveness periodically with aluminum foil test. Call us for specific directions: 1-800-843-3343 x293.
6. Reduce contaminated aerosols in the office: Keep cover on ultrasonic while running cleaning cycles.

Instruments should be thoroughly rinsed, dried and inspected prior to bagging for sterilization. If necessary, re-clean items with visible debris. Hinged or jointed instruments such as forceps, pliers, and hemostats are very susceptible to rust and corrosion and may require a simple preventive step in reprocessing. After cleaning, but before sterilization spray ProLube™ RTU on jointed areas of instruments to lubricate and protect. ProLube RTU replaces the traditional “milk bath” or lubricant dip. ProLube RTU is non-toxic, requires no shaking before use and is fully steam permeable so you do not need to rinse prior to sterilization.
- Peggy Spitzer, RDH, MA