Ensuring your instrument washer is cleaning effectively

Washer monitoring is an essential consideration in ensuring that a washer offers consistent and effective cleaning. Many washes fail to remove all debris, and if debris is not removed during the washing process, it will typically remain throughout the sterilization process.

It looks clean... but is visual examination enough?

Ensuring your instrument washer is cleaning effectively

Image Credit: Duraline BioSystems, Inc.

Sometimes not...

Ensuring your instrument washer is cleaning effectively

Image Credit: Duraline BioSystems, Inc.

When working with biological samples, such as blood, this is especially important. The cost of treating infections can be as much as $60,000 per patient infection.

Blood represents a challenge to washer cleaning, as blood poses a safety issue for employees due to its potential to carry blood-borne pathogens and cross-infection in patients.

Blood begins as a liquid then coagulates, flowing into crevices and hard-to-reach areas. Blood is also partially water-insoluble and is sensitive to denaturing.

Chemicals and water can mitigate many of the issues caused by blood during the cleaning processes.

They work by rehydrating dried blood, attacking and dissolving blood or via direct impingement. These substances can also provide a medium that allows the dissolved blood to be carried away.

A range of advisory bodies recommends routinely modifying washing and disinfecting processes to add new and improved safeguards.

One of the main methods to demonstrate a robust commitment to ongoing improvement lies in using process verification systems designed to highlight any potential weaknesses in a process and identify opportunities to improve or address such issues.

Leveraging the power of a wash monitor

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008) states that:

“Validation of the cleaning processes in a laboratory-testing program is possible by microorganism detection, chemical detection for organic contaminants, radionuclide tagging, and chemical detection for specific ions.”

“During the past few years, data have been published describing use of an artificial soil, protein, endotoxin, X-ray contrast medium, or blood to verify the manual or automated cleaning process and adenosine triphosphate bioluminescence and microbiologic sampling to evaluate the effectiveness of environmental surface cleaning.”

“At a minimum, all instruments should be individually inspected and be visibly clean.”

The WashChecks Washer Monitor

The WashChecks Washer Monitor monitors cycle efficiency via a red protein soil and a specifically designed holder. If the red protein soil is entirely washed away during a test cycle, the test can be considered a pass and the washer’s disinfectors are safe to use.

If traces of the red protein soil remain after a test cycle, then the test has failed, highlighting faulty equipment, an issue with the detergent or a failure to use instruments appropriately.

Failures may also occur from clogged dried chemicals or debris, or a loose, broken or blocked spray arm. Under these circumstances, it is necessary to repair or unclog the spray arms and redo the wash cycle.

An example Pass/Fail chart is displayed here.

Ensuring your instrument washer is cleaning effectively

Image Credit: Duraline BioSystems, Inc.

Benefits of a WashCheck Holder

The WashCheck Holder is designed to secure the WashCheck monitor throughout the wash process.

The holder is designed to cover half of the protein soil area while exposing the other half. This helps simulate the joint of a surgical instrument and facilitates testing of the washer disinfector’s indirect impingement.

Usage and frequency

Both the WashCheck Holder and Monitor should be fitted inside the basket. The red protein spot should be facing up and towards the spray arms’ outside perimeter.

It is advisable to insert a WashCheck monitor on each shelf of the cart to thoroughly test the full cycle of the washer at every level.

It is also prudent to employ WashCheck Monitors on a daily basis to test Washer Disinfectors or Instrument Washers. Any issues should be addressed as soon as they are detected.

WashChecks have been evaluated and tested against a range of other products, demonstrating an 85% higher detection rate versus other monitors.

Ensuring your instrument washer is cleaning effectively

Image Credit: Duraline BioSystems, Inc.

Video Credit: Duraline BioSystems, Inc.

About Duraline BioSystems, Inc.

Duraline Systems is a 3rd generation family-owned and operated company; a Trusted Source for medical, dental and laboratory sales and service of sterilization equipment. We offer same day shipping, same day service, rentals and financing! We buy back your old/broken sterilizer at top dollar! This makes upgrading very affordable.

/ads/abmc.aspx?b=7218Duraline BioSystems, Inc. is proud to be part of a huge global effort to keep the world safer; the sterilization market is to reach $17 billion by 2024, growing at 8% each year!. This is the result of increased knowledge and awareness of the general public and health-care providers recognizing the importance of correct reprocessing of instruments - and the devastating results of improper use or methods of sterilization!

Our team understands how important it is to have your sterilizer performing accurately and effectively. We understand when a sterilizer is down this causes your practice to not only lose money, but can cause chaos and embarrassment in cancelling patients! We understand what a failed spore test result can do to your office! We also understand that – when a sterilizer fails, the customer needs a working sterilizer immediately – which is why we keep over 30 new sterilizers and over 40 refurbished sterilizers on the shelves at all times!


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Last updated: May 20, 2022 at 8:40 AM

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