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The Number of Tools You Need to Effectively Clean

When instruments make their way from the operating room to the decontamination department, their manual cleaning journey is about to begin. If your facility does not stock 12-15 different size lumen/channel brushes and toothbrush style brushes, are you able to clean everything effectively? For the sterile processing department to be successful, it is important that there are a variety of tools available for techs to clean the various instruments that come through the decontamination department. AAMI ST79, section 7.6.2 states “when decontaminating devices with lumens...brush the lumen with a brush that is of the correct size (diameter and length) and bristle type and material for the lumen, then rinse it.” There are thousands of patterns of surgical instruments and hundreds of instrument cleaning brushes specifically designed to clean them. There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for the number of different brushes a facility should have on hand, but a good example is a multispecialty hospital with high procedure volume should have at least 12-15 different instrument cleaning brush sizes and styles, including toothbrush style brushes, and channel/lumen brushes. For success and efficiency, variety will be in your favor. Being unable to clean an instrument because the right size or style of brush isn’t available should never be an excuse and all too often front-line techs get asked to “make do with what you have.” Now is the time to abandon the “make do” attitude and ensure sterile processing techs have the tools they need to effectively clean every instrument, every time.


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