Q&A: Cleaning instruments between patients

OSHA Healthcare Connection, January 5, 2010

Q: What is the optimal method for instrument cleaning between patients in our outpatient facility: steam, cold soaking, or switching to disposables?

A: Any reusable instrument that comes in contact with open tissue or blood must be sterilized between patient usages. Sterilization can be done many ways such as the ones you noted by use of steam sterilization (autoclave) or with a chemical soak. All of these methods are appropriate, and you need to find the method best for you situation.

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