Instruments must be visibly examined before cleaning, to ensure that they are completely free of dirt and debris. Improper cleaning may lead to spotting.
Instruments with spots, rust, cracks or surface corrosion should be withdrawn from circulation and should not come in contact with other instruments, otherwise they can cause corrosion during the cleaning or sterilization process.
Instruments with joints have to be cleaned in an open position. All instruments must be layed down on the sterilizing trays or drainage basket, so that there is access to all parts of the instrument during the cleaning process.
Instrument Cleaning Before Sterilization
It is important to remember that sterilizing is not cleaning. Subjecting an unclean contaminated instrument to high sterilization temperatures can result in foreigh material baked on it, or corrosion that will ruin the instrument's appearance and performance. These residues may appear as stains or rust. Instruments should therefore be cleaned and washed with a non-corrosive neautral ph detergent and rinsed with demineralized water before sterilization. Stubborn materials should be removed with a clean soft brush - never use steel wool or metal brushes that are abrasive.
If immediate cleaning will be delay, cleaning can be facilitated by placing the instruments in a holding solution until they are cleaned. The holding solution should be an enzymatic that will keep organic matter from encrusting on the instruments. The instruments must be kept covered in this solution until the cleaning process. The use of a holding solution will make cleaning easier but is not a substitute for cleaning.
Always wear gloves to protect the hands. All hinged instruments such as nail cutters should be opened to expose the hinged area. Instruments should rinsed under a hard stream of water to remove large debris. A detergent with neutral ph should be used during the cleaning process, as a detergent with a high or low ph may cuase staining when the instrument is sterilized. A high alkaline soap for example, may form a hard film withich protects bacteria.
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