- Use instruments only for the purpose they were designed
- Handle instruments gently - avoid bouncing, dropping or overstraining
- Soak instruments in Haemosol etc. to loosen blood and soil from box locks, ratchets, hinges etc. Clean instruments immediately after use to prevent blood and other debris from drying onto the surface. Blood causes a stain which is difficult to remove, and saline solution is highly corrosive to stainless steel
- Rinse all cleaning residue thoroughly off the instrument
- Use distilled or demineralised water only for washing and rinsing as well as for sterilizing, along with a nylon brush, nylon pot scrubber and low-subsing, near-neutral detergent (pH7-a). Normal tap water will leave deposits on the instruments due to the high mineral content.
- Do not use steel wool, wire brushes, highly abrasive cleaners or detergents with a high pH(B-9) as this will damage the passive layer or skin of your instrument. The so-called passivation process during manufacturing forms a thin protective film on the surface of the stainless steel instrument. Through constant use and repeated processing an instrument will actually passivate itself. Older instruments are well protected by a tough layer of passivation as a result of hundreds of washings, dryings and sterilizations.
- Keep box locks and ratchets open when cleaning and sterilizing instruments. Disassemble all instruments with removable parts.
- Immediately after cleaning dip instruments in a water-soluble lubricant such as Instrument Milk, Preplube etc. Do not rinse or wipe off - the protection film of the lubricant should remain on the instrument through sterilization and storage. If ultrasonic cleaning methods are used it is essential to lubricate with Instrument Milk.
- Keep box locks, ratchets, hinges and serrations free of any debris. If substances are allowed to build up in the box lock the instrument will become stiff and be subject to misalignment and cracking
- Thoroughly dry the instruments before wrapping them. Any remaining moisture, particularly in the box locks, hinges and crevices may result in corrosion.
- Make sure your reusable instrument wrappers are rinsed thoroughly to remove all residue of the detergents used for laundering, otherwise staining or corrosion might occur during steam sterilization.
- Never mix stainless steel instruments and plated instrument together in the ultrasonic cleaners chipped or peeled an electrolytic action will carry particles from the exposed metal on to the surface of the stainless steel instruments.
- Avoid contact corrosion. Always keep stained or corroded instruments away from impeccable steel instruments.
A few words on Tungsten Carbide tipped Instruments
Make sure all detergents and lubricants are pH neutral. Tungsten Carbide tips and inserts can deteriorate prematurely. Strong ALKALINE Solutions (over pH7) will attack and actually break down the tungsten particles. If your solutions turn out to be strongly ACID (over pH &) you have found the cause for breaking down the cobalt binder which holds the tungsten and the carbon particles in position - the insert is losing its hardness.