Anyone who has worked in a busy decontamination room in Sterile Processing knows that the cleaning delays for instruments are not over once they enter the decontamination doors.
In many cases, instruments may sit in “queue” inside decontamination for up to an hour during the busiest processing times. Even if items were appropriately pre-cleaned after the procedure, workload backups in Sterile Processing can cause delays and allow soils to dry.
Sterile Processing technicians need to be aware of their workload backup and reapply pre-cleaning product to any instruments that they cannot immediately begin to terminally clean.
During the cleaning process, it is important to rinse and remove any pre-treatment spray from the instruments. Gels may dry as a hard or slimy substance; this needs to be thoroughly removed before putting the instruments into any mechanical washer (ultrasonic or automated).
When rinsing instruments, use cool water (below 110 F) to prevent proteins from denaturing and becoming difficult to remove from the instrument.