R Medical Supply

Stainless Steel Instrument Care

Soak instruments 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 that is difficult to remove. Saline solution is highly corrosive to stainless steel.

Thoroughly rinse all cleaning residue from the instrument, using only distilled or de-mineralized water. Normal tap water contains minerals that will leave deposits or stains.

Use a nylon brush, nylon pot scrubber and low-sudsing, near-neutral detergent. Do not use steel wool, wire brushes, highly abrasive cleaners or detergents with a high pH--this will damage the passive layer or skin of your instrument. Passivation forms a thin protective film on the surface of the stainless steel instrument.

Keep box locks and ratchets open when cleaning and sterilizing instruments. Disassemble all instruments with removable parts.

After cleaning, immediately dip instruments in a water-soluble lubricant. Do not rinse or wipe off the protection film of the lubricant--this should remain on the instrument throughout sterilization and storage.

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 subjected 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. Do not autoclave instruments unwrapped. Protect instrument from contact with other instruments during sterilization. Do not exceed 275o F and otherwise follow all instructions as provided for your autoclave.

Never mix stainless steel instruments with instruments of dissimilar material (carbon steel, copper, brass, aluminum). If a plated instrument is chipped or peeled, an electrolytic action will carry particles from the exposed metal on to the surface of the stainless steel instrument.

Avoid contact corrosion. Always keep stained or corroded instruments away from impeccable stainless steel instruments.