Your first-line-of-defense against Preventing Corrosion is the passive oxide layer of your Surgical Instruments. Stainless steel surgery instruments are made of corrosion resistant high-grade specialty steels. The key word here is “resistant”. Corrosion resistant does not mean corrosion proof. One of the special characteristics of these steels is that the manufacturer forms a passive oxide layer on the surface, which protects them against corrosion. This makes surgery instruments as corrosion resistant as possible. It is imperative that you maintain the passive oxide layer to prevent corrosion and maintain your surgery instruments in optimal condition. If this is not done the stainless steel will be more susceptible to corrosion, pitting and stains.This will reduce the life of the surgery instruments and/or render it useless. Initially, all “stainless steel” surgical instruments have the same corrosion resistance. When strength and hardness requirements are important factors for instrument function, corrosion resistance is generally lower. Increasing the corrosion resistance would soften the stainless steel. Manufacturers of surgery instruments and surgical instrument containers recommend the use of neutral pH Surgical Instrument Cleaners. Newly developed neutral pH all-in-one or "combination detergent" Surgical Instrument Cleaners have been shown to be effective in optimizing the efficacy of the "passive oxide layer". This will provide a longer life for stainless steel surgery instruments. Surgical Instrument Cleaners with a high or low pH have been shown to erode the passive layer. The most common of these cleaning concentrates utilize an alkaline detergent with an acid neutralizer. Virtually all manufacturers of surgical instruments and surgical instrument containers recommend against using these detergents and recommend using a neutral ph Surgical Instrument Cleaner. More information and studies regarding the "passive oxide layer" of Surgical Instruments is below.
ONEcleaner Surgical Instrument Enzyme Detergent Lubricant Cleaner
Yellow-brown to dark-brown stains or spots on surgical stainless steel instruments are frequently mistaken for "rust". These residue deposits (stains or spots arranged in groups or along edges or in crevices) are usually the instrument being exposed to result of high chloride content. They will lead to pitting of the surgical instrument surface if not removed. (see Avoiding High Levels of Chloride below) Excessively hard water can contain high levels of salt sufficient to cause stains or spots that appear as rust. Boilers used to generate the steam for steam sterilizers, if not cleaned properly, will produce contaminated steam which can deposit minerals onto instruments during the sterilization process.
Avoiding High Levels of Chloride
Virtually all manufacturers of surgical instruments, rigid scopes, flexible scopes, and instrument containers recommend the use of neutral pH Surgical Instrument Cleaners. Generic Example of this recommendation: Do not use high acidic (pH <4) or high alkaline (pH >10) products for disinfection or cleaning, since these can corrode metal, cause discoloration or stress fractures. Do not use abrasive pads or abrasive Surgical Instrument Cleaners , which will scratch the surface allowing dirt and water deposits to collect. Abrasive cleaning will remove the protective passive layer. Do not use Surgical Instrument Cleaners with high concentrations of chlorine bleach to clean or disinfect stainless steel instruments, as pitting will occur. Never use bleach to clean any surgical instruments. The high pH of bleach causes surface deposits of brown stains and might even corrode the instrument. Even high quality stainless steel is not impervious to an acidic bleach solution.
Sort instruments by similar metal for subsequent processing so that electrolytic deposition (galvanic corrosion) due to contact between dissimilar metals will not occur.
Tap water can contain many minerals, which may discolor and stain surgical instruments. It is recommended that de-ionized water be used for the final rinsing to prevent spotting. all-in-one or "combination" Surgical Instrument Cleaners can be effective in treating unacceptably hard source water and removing hard water encrustation from surgical instruments and equipment. If untreated tap water is used for final rinsing, then the instruments must be dried immediately to avoid staining. Clean instruments, or apply treatment to prevent the drying and encrustation of debris, as quickly as possible after use. Do not allow blood and debris to dry on the instruments. If cleaning must be delayed, place groups of instruments in a covered container with appropriate enzyme-detergent Surgical Instrument Cleaners or apply an enzyme-detergent foam spray to delay drying. The use of pre-soaking enzyme-detergent Surgical Instrument Cleaners have been shown to reduce the time expended for manual cleaning and render higher quality outcomes. After surgery, open all box locks and disassemble instruments with removable parts. This will limit blood drying on instruments that may cause them to corrode. The "all-in-one" Surgical Instrument Cleaners and the enzyme-detergent Surgical Instrument Cleaners deliver a chemical complex to: maintain the hydration of bioburden, prevent corrosion, clean the surface, and condition the surface of instruments & scopes. This can significantly reduce manual cleaning and facilitate cleaning the surface of surgical instruments, scopes, and the lumens of cannulated instruments inside-and-one. If used properly, all-in-one enzyme detergent Surgical Instrument Cleaners and/or all-in-one "combination" Surgical Instrument Cleaners can render excellent outcomes and facilitate cleaning instruments and scopes inside-and-out. They effectively cleaning the surface while cleaning lumens and working channels. This can eliminate or reduce the manual labor expended, rendering lower reprocessing costs while improving turnaround.