How long should surgical instruments soak in a cleaning solution?
Recommended procedures for manual cleaning are to first soak the instrument in a tepid or lukewarm water or enzyme detergent bath for at least 10 minutes, preferably until all soil on the instrument is softened, properly hydrated. Prescribing a time for soaking, without visually observing the condition of the medical devices, such as the volume of debris, stains, mineral encrustations, level of hydration, and content of bioburden (i.e. fats, blood, tissue) is not possible. Prescribing soaking times without a visual observation can lead to inadequate hydration and break down of debris, rendering inadequate decontamination when cleaning surgical instruments prior to sterilization.
Proper cleaning is the prerequisite for sterilization.
Studies demonstrate that surgical instrument washers with the proper sequence of washer cycle treatments and use an all-in-ONEcleaner surgical instrument cleaner with lubricating conditioners, can deliver: the "complete removal of all pathogens" from surgical instruments and “surgical instruments sterile at the completion of the process". The "Proper Sequence of Washer Treatments" include a combination of mechanical and chemical treatments. After being cleaned in a Surgical Instrument Decontamination Washers that include Ultrasonic Surgical Instrument cleaner using a combination enzyme detergent Surgical Instrument Cleaner: "evaluation of Washer Decontaminators Washer Disinfectors confirmed that the efficacy of disinfection was 100%". "All surgical instruments and utensils tested were sterile at the completion of the process."
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Mechanical treatments for soaking and cleaning surgical instruments include: tepid water soaking and pre-wash to flush gross debris and prevent baking on of proteinaceous bioburden, ultrasonic cleaning with enzyme detergent cleaner solution, detergent wash with elevated temperature with all-in-ONE enzyme detergent lubricating cleaner, purified water rinses with increasingly elevated temperatures and final rinse for bonding surface lubricant, and hot air drying elevated to disinfection times and temperatures.
The ONEcleaner formulation for soaking and cleaning medical devices includes a combination of four enzyme cleaners (protease, amylase, lipase, and carbohydrase), detergents that are functional in the elevated washing temperatures, surfactant surface cleaners, stain removers, water conditioners to hard water, ingredients that dissolve mineral incrustation, and surgical instrument lubricant for moving parts.