Cleaning and Care of Stainless Steel Spa Instruments
Despite its name, stainless steel is definitely not stainless. Even with careful handling, after time and use, instruments can lose their luster and develop stains and surface deposits from disinfecting solutions and other substances used for cleaning and washing. Other causes of staining and pitting on instruments are solutions such as dish soap, laundry soap, bleach and iodine based solutions. Residues such as blood, pus and other secretions contain chloride ions which can lead to corrosion, most often appearing as dark spots. Make sure these residues are not left on your instruments, as even though they are disinfected and clean, they can appear dirty or mimic rust, which is distasteful and unnerving to your clients.
Wash instruments with a PH neutral soap (7-8 PH). Using an instrument cleaning brush is recommended. The washing process should take place within 20 minutes after use, even if sterilization/disinfection takes place later. Using a wire brush or scouring pad will damage the surface finish of your instruments and cause corrosion. A nylon instrument cleaning brush is recommended.
Instrument Cleaning Protocol
- Cleanse instruments with a nylon instrument cleaning brush using a PH neutral soap.
- Disinfect instruments with an autoclave, ultrasonic cleanser or with a state approved compound for the recommended manufacturer’s time (10-20 minutes), do not leave your instruments in disinfecting solution for more than 20 minutes, this can cause damage.
- Rinse the instruments with tap water or distilled water.
- To remove stains and restore luster, dip a damp nylon instrument cleaning brush into a surgical instrument stain remover and scrub the instrument.
- Thoroughly towel dry the instruments and store in a closed container.
To minimize the chances of staining after disinfecting your instruments, make sure that they are completely dry before storing them. Allowing any type of moisture to ‘air dry’ on your instruments will cause damage over time. You can also use a surgical instrument stain remover, this is designed to remove stains and tarnish as well as restore luster. The general rule of thumb for a busy practice is to schedule maintenance quarterly. Performing maintenance will allow your instruments to last for many years.