Care and Handling of Surgical Single Use Instruments

Single Use Instruments

After usage, immediately rinse Single Use Instruments under warm or cool running water to get rid of any remaining blood or body fluids. Dried dirt can harm the surface of the instrument and make cleaning quite challenging. Avoid using hot water as it will cause protein-containing compounds to coagulate.

Cleaning procedures

In the cleaning process, time, temperature, and agitation all play significant roles. Time Cleaning agents’ effectiveness is frequently time-dependent. Temperature  Cleaning solutions that are heated to a higher temperature do a better job. Agitation, whether manual or ultrasonic, is useful for removing the soil from the Single Use Instruments surface.

A. Ultrasonic Cleaning

The best cleaning technique is this one. Cavitation leads to ultrasonic cleaning. The solution contains microscopic bubbles caused by the vibrating sound waves, which continue to increase as the pressure changes. The bubbles explode when they reach a resonant size, providing a force that moves debris even in the smallest cracks. Contrary to plain water, using an ultrasonic detergent significantly increases the rate of cavitation.

  • Prepare mild alkaline detergent (Alconox – WPI part number 13740), enzymatic (Enzol – WPI part number 7363), or another neutral pH detergent as directed by the manufacturer.
  • If deionized water is accessible, use it.
  • To degas the solution and reach the proper temperature, run the ultrasonic cleaner for a few minutes.
  • Insert the Single Use Instruments into the ultrasonic cleaner in an open position. Do not let equipment that has blades touch each other. The entire instrumentation must be immersed.
  • Avoid putting different metals (such as chrome-plated, copper, stainless steel, etc.) in the same cleaning cycle.
  • The cleaner should process the instruments for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the instruments with water to get rid of any last-minute dirt and ultrasonic cleaning solution.
  • Use a fresh towel to completely dry the instruments. As a result, there is less chance of rusting and the development of water spots.
  • To optimize the performance of the instrument, spray the hinges with oil (WPI part number 500126).
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B. Sterilizers for automatic washers

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. During the final rinse cycle and before the sterilization cycle, lubricate the tools.

C. Manual Cleaning

  • Make use of sturdy plastic cleaning tools. Do not use steel wool or wire brushes.
  • Use only detergents with a neutral pH. Low-pH detergents may damage the stainless steel’s protective surface and result in black stains if they are not washed thoroughly. Detergents with a high pH can deposit dark stains on the instrument’s surface, which can impede its smooth operation.
  • Handle delicate Single Use Instruments with care and, if at all feasible, separate them from more robust ones.
  • Verify that all instrument surfaces are clean and free of tissue and stains. Check the quality and appropriate operation of each instrument. Scissor blades should glide easily, and they shouldn’t be loose when they’re closed. Verify that the forceps’ tips are correctly positioned. Hemostats and needle holders shouldn’t have visible light between the jaws, should be simple to lock and unlock, and shouldn’t have excessively loose joints. Look for wear in the needle holder’s jaws. Check the sharpness and condition of the blades on any knives and cutting equipment.
  • Thoroughly rinse all equipment with water. To make sure that the hinge portions of scissors, hemostats, needle holders, and other hinged tools are also cleaned, open and close them repeatedly while rinsing.
  • Use a fresh towel to completely dry the instruments. As a result, there is less chance of rusting and the development of water spots. To enhance the performance of the instrument, spray lubricant (WPI part number 500126) should be applied to the hinges.

D. Soaking

When traditional cleaning techniques are impractical, large, non-delicate equipment can be bathed in a corrosion-inhibiting detergent (Alconox – WPI component number 13740). Following soaking, it is advised to rinse and dry.



  • Lubricate any Single Use Instruments that come into contact with metal, including scissors, hemostats, needle holders, self-retaining retractors, etc. It is recommended to use surgical tool lubricants (WPI part number 500126). Use of WD-40 oil or other commercial lubricants is not advised.
  • Individual or group autoclaving of instruments is possible.
  • Each instrument should be packaged in disposable paper or plastic pouches. Utilize a bag that is broad enough (4 “or wider) to allow the instrument to be sterilized in an open (unlocked) position for items with ratchet locks, such as needle holders and hemostats.
  • Sterilize all instruments in an open position after unlocking them from their instrument sets. Put heavy equipment on the set’s bottom (when two layers are required).
  • A tool should never be locked while being autoclaved. By doing this, the steam won’t be able to sanitize the metal-to-metal surfaces. Moreover, during autoclaving, the thermal expansion might result in cracks in the hinge locations.
  • Avoid overloading the autoclave chamber as this could prevent steam from escaping.
  • Lay a cloth on the pan’s bottom to mop up extra moisture while it’s being autoclaved.
  • Unlock the autoclave door after the drying cycle (before the autoclave cycle) and only partially (about 3/4) open it “). Perform the dry cycle for the amount of time the autoclave’s manufacturer suggests. Before the drying cycle, if the autoclave door is fully opened, chilly room air will rush in and condense on the instruments. This will produce moist packs and water stains on the equipment.
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Cold Sterilization

To sterilize equipment, most cold sterilization solutions call for a 10-hour immersion, yet this protracted chemical activity may be more harmful to surgical Single Use Instruments than a 20-minute autoclave cycle. Cold sterilization is suitable if the equipment merely needs to be disinfected (essentially cleaned), as this will take only 10 minutes. Nevertheless, autoclaving is advised to make the tools sterile (with no living organisms remaining at all). Avoid using solutions containing benzyl ammonium chloride on tools that have tungsten carbide inserts, such as needle holders, scissors, and tissue forceps, as these solutions will corrode the inserts..

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