The cleaning and sanitizing of medical instruments are two different methods, but both have vital significance. They are capable of eliminating bacteria, viruses, and other forms of microbial elements. Cleaning products are typically required to increase the efficacy of the process and sanitising machines like the autoclave to clean their medical instruments. This article will outline the importance of understanding the guidelines of cleaning and sanitizing of medical instruments. We will cover the different methods, products, and machines needed to satisfy the protocol. But before we start, we’ll define the meaning of cleaning and sanitizing first. This approach will lead us to a better understanding of the difference between cleaning and sanitizing.

The Cleaning Process of Medical Instruments

Cleaning of Medical InstrumentsThe cleaning process is the method of removing visible impurities like dirt and other substances on the medical instrument’s surface. Cleaning products like soap or detergents are typically used. The actual removal of these elements does not necessarily kill germs, but it effectively reduces the risks of spreading infection. Some cleaning materials are antibacterial and can kill off a high percentage of bacteria, viruses, and germs. It is generally required to clean the medical instrument after use before putting it inside an autoclave for sterilisation.


The Sanitizing Process of Medical Instruments

The sanitation process reduces the number of germs on objects that are frequently used. Products like alcohol, sanitisers, or other special substances are used on these objects’ surface to keep it on a safe level. The sanitation process involves cleaning and disinfecting objects.


The Disinfection Process of Medical Instruments

The disinfection process is focused on the elimination of bacteria, viruses, and germs. The method does not really clean the object, but it kills harmful elements. It can be done with applying chemicals on the objects’ surface to eliminate the possibility of spreading disease.


Cleaning and Disinfection Process Defined

The entire method of cleaning and disinfection of medical instruments is much like the cleaning of utensils. Using cleaning products like soap, detergent, or antibacterial products, are the most effective way to clean off dirt and other debris. Some methods require warm water upon rinsing the medical instruments to increase the elimination of germs, bacteria, viruses, and other hardened materials. Scrubbing is also applied to make sure that the surface is completely void of impurities.

Another part of the cleaning and disinfection process is the use of an autoclave. An autoclave is a machine used in the medical and scientific field for instruments that need to be sterilised. It produces steam that has the temperature high enough to kill bacteria, viruses, germs, and other harmful elements capable of spreading diseases and infection. It can be the size of a microwave, or a washing machine. Before putting the medical instruments inside the autoclave, please make sure that you:


  • Pre-wash the instruments
  • Use a safety glove while washing
  • Use an ample amount of cleaning product
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Use an automatic washer (recommended)
  • Dry thoroughly

Make sure that the instruments are free of soil and other debris before placing them inside the autoclave. Always make sure that they are also thoroughly dry. The sterilisation process uses hot steam, so if you put a wet instrument inside the autoclave, it will reduce the disinfection’s effectivity. Another key factor to remember is never to overcrowd the autoclave. It’s possible than an overcrowded space will compromise the sterilisation process. The steam may not reach some parts of the medical instruments’ surfaces, and bacteria, viruses, or other harmful elements may survive.

The next step is to make sure that the medical instruments are handled with extreme care. The person in charge of the cleaning should always use the proper attire to ensure that harmful elements have a minimal chance of contaminating the instruments. Face, masks, scrub suits, hair nets, and protective gloves are necessary to wear. Then the medical instruments should be placed in a sanitised cassette or container. This technique is to make sure that they are protected at all times. Lastly, they should be placed inside a medical cabinet for safety. The sanitation of the surfaces of these tools is vital. So, please make sure that sanitation is regularly employed.


The Benefits of Cleaning and Sanitising

cleaning medical equipmentThere are tons of benefits that you can achieve from the cleaning and sanitising of medical instruments. It can also be applied to other equipment that is openly exposed to multiple users. Keyboards, mouses, and desks should always be sanitised with a potent cleaning product. Keeping them clean and dust-free also helps. The most important tools to clean and sanitise are invasive instruments. Please make sure that it undergoes the process stated above to ensure the patient’s safety. Here’s a list of the benefits:

  • Kills bacteria, viruses, and germs
  • Reduces the risks of spreading infection
  • Keeps the patients and doctors safe
  • Prolongs the medical instruments’ working life


Final Word

The significance of cleaning and sanitising of medical instruments is tantamount. Not only does it keep our doctors and patients safe, but it also protects the investment. Another key factor is the control of transmissible diseases. By eliminating the source early, we can help reduce the spread of infectious diseases. This technique plays a crucial role, especially in today’s situation with the Covid-19 pandemic. We all have to be diligent in playing our parts to help contain the spread of the virus. The cleaning and sanitising method should always be observed in hospitals, dental clinics, and other health facilities. By practising the proper method, we can ensure the safety of all parties involved.

Remember the difference between cleaning and sanitising:

Cleaning: Means the removal of debris, soil, and stains on the surface of the medical instrument. It involves washing water with soap and scrubbing the surface to make sure that there are no visible traces of debris. It also requires thorough rinsing and drying of the tools.

Sanitising: Sanitising is applying chemicals to reduce the number of harmful elements like bacteria, viruses, and germs. The process includes using powerful disinfectants regularly.