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Chemical Hide & Seek in Sterile Processing Departments
January 02, 2024

How do you verify that you have the correct chemical in your soak sink, sonic or cart washer?

This simple question creates challenges for many SPD (Sterile Processing Departments). Many technicians rely on the color of the solution to verify that the correct chemical is in use in sinks and sonic instrument cleaners. They may even rely on the color to decide if the dosing is correct.

Why should you not rely on color alone to verify correct chemicals in use?

• Dyes used in detergents may vary from lot to lot.

• The same color might be used for completely different chemicals even within the same manufacturer.

• Surveyors expect technicians to explain how they verify correct dosing.

• Some detergents are now manufactured with no added dyes to avoid residual material.

For those reasons and many others, avoid the temptation to verify chemical selection by color alone.

Chemicals used for automated cleaning equipment may be hard to access. With time and staff turnover, chemicals can end up in the wrong device or cycle.

How should you verify the correct chemicals are in use?

  1. Take a chemical inventory of all chemicals currently in use.
  2. Read labels to verify correct applications.
  3. Check the chemical safety data sheet section 9 for chemical pH (acid or alkaline), color and odor.
  4. Use color coded tubing and labels on drum holders to ensure correct chemical placement.
  5. Most important, train staff to know chemicals not just by color, but also by brand name and correct application.

MicroCare ProWash™ Multi-purpose Instrument Detergent and Cart Wash is an economical instrument detergent intended for cleaning medical and dental instruments and devices. It contains a mixture of chemical agents including surfactants to aid in the release of soil from surfaces and chelating agents to improve performance in hard water.