April 18, 2024
Medical Device Cleaning

Proper cleaning of medical devices is crucial to ensure patient safety and prevent the spread of infections in healthcare facilities. Medical devices, if not cleaned properly, can harbor various pathogens and put patients at risk. This article discusses the importance of medical device cleaning and highlights best practices that should be followed in cleaning different types of medical equipment.

Proper Cleaning Protocols

Health facilities must have documented cleaning protocols in place for all medical devices used in patient care. These protocols must lay down the appropriate steps and procedures for cleaning and disinfecting or sterilizing devices between each use. The protocols should specify the type of detergent or disinfecting agent to be used, concentration, contact time, and any special instructions. Staff must be thoroughly trained on these protocols and their compliance monitored regularly through audits. Having uniform and evidence-based protocols ensures consistency in cleaning standards across all devices and equipment.


Pre-cleaning is a crucial first step before high-level disinfection or sterilization of any reusable Medical Device Cleaning. This involves removing all visible contaminants like blood, body fluids, and debris from the device surface. For effective pre-cleaning, devices should be cleaned immediately after use while contaminants are still wet. Pre-cleaning helps remove organic matter that can interfere with the efficacy of subsequent disinfection/sterilization steps. Staff should wear appropriate PPE like gloves during pre-cleaning to prevent exposure to pathogens.

Cleaning Endoscopes

Endoscopes require meticulous cleaning due to their complex design with internal channels and crevices. Immediate pre-cleaning is followed by leak testing to ensure all channels are patent. Manual cleaning with detergent and brushes is done to scrub all accessible internal and external surfaces. Automated endoscope reprocessors using detergent, disinfection, and drying cycles help standardize the reprocessing. Adequate drying prevents contamination and equipment damage. Endoscopes are then checked for any residual soil before high-level disinfection or sterilization as per standards. Proper reprocessing helps eliminate patient infections associated with flexible endoscopes.

Surgical Instruments and Equipment

Surgical instruments, implants and other delicate devices require careful manual or automated washing after each use to remove all visible organic debris. Enzymatic detergents aid in breaking down proteins. Ultrasonic cleaners using detergent solution help dissolve any remaining soil. Thorough rinsing with purified water removes residual detergent. High-level disinfection with heat or chemical sterilization is then done depending on the Spaulding classification. Proper drying and packaging maintains the sterility until point of use. Regular quality control checks on sterilizers help achieve device sterilization.

Anesthesia Machines and Monitors

Anesthesia machines containing breathing circuits, vaporizers and monitors require cleaning between each patient use. All surfaces are first wiped clean of any spillages or contaminants. Breathing circuits and accessories are either discarded or thoroughly cleaned, disinfected/sterilized and dried before assembly. Reusable anesthetic equipment components are either washed in a washer-disinfector or manually cleaned and high-level disinfected/sterilized as per standard protocols. Regular maintenance and certification of anesthesia equipment ensure effective disinfection between patients.

Semi-critical Devices

Semi-critical devices like ultrasound probes, physiotherapy and dental equipment contacting intact mucous membranes require at minimum high-level disinfection after use. All accessories are first cleaned of any residue. Ultrasound probes are then soaked in appropriate hospital-approved disinfecting solution as per the defined contact time before rinsing and drying. Any residual moisture can damage the equipment or act as a medium for pathogen survival and transmission to subsequent patients. Proper drying maintains the disinfected state of these semi-critical devices.

Cleaning Environment and Supplies

The surface and fixtures of any cleaning area must also be properly cleaned and disinfected on a routine basis to prevent cross-contamination. Sink surfaces, work benches, equipment carts etc. acting as intermediary surfaces should be thoroughly decontaminated with an EPA-registered hospital grade disinfectant. Cleaning supplies including detergent solutions must be prepared, stored and handled carefully to prevent contamination. Single-use cleaning aids must be discarded after use while reusables are properly disinfected or sterilized according to protocols.

Quality Assurance

Regular monitoring through audits and staff competency assessments helps evaluate adherence to cleaning standards and protocols. Microbiological culturing of instruments post cleaning can gauge the effectiveness of decontamination procedures. Equipment like endoscope leak testers and biopsy channels help validate cleaning adequacy. Maintenance and certification of automated washers also ensures standardized cleaning performance. Addressing any non-conformities supports continuous quality improvement in patient safety. Proper record-keeping associated with each cleaning cycle aids in traceability if needed.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it