Using Wash-Checks Ultrasonic Cleaning Verification Test
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s ST79: Verification of routine cleaning processes and equipment for soil removal should be performed.
It is recommended that an ultrasonic verification test be performed on a daily basis through a visual assessment or absence of a marker on a coupon. These tests provide verification of the ultrasonic cleaner’s effectiveness of cleaning externally and within lumens.
For cleaning verification of your ultrasonic cleaning system, Wash-Checks U is a simple and effective test that will provide a visual result to determine if your ultrasonic system if functioning properly. This test can be used in any ultrasonic system available on the market.
The test consists of a very thin aluminum strip (sometimes referred to as a coupon), which contains a blue sample-soil area on the strip and a special holder. To perform a test, insert the narrow end of the strip into the holder. The holder will only permit the test strip to be inserted the correct distance, allowing the blue soil to remain fully exposed.
Next, place the holder containing the test strip on the middle of the instrument tray with the blue soil facing up. If the sonic cleaner is equipped with tiered trays, place the holder on the highest tray. Do not clip the holder to the side of the tray. This test can be easily performed while cleaning surgical instruments in the tray, but do not cover or crowd the test device as this may produce inaccurate results.
The holder keeps the test strip weighted to the bottom of the tray and provides a good view of the strip to show the progress and final results.
To ensure proper and accurate test results, only use the original tray that was provided with the sonic cleaner or an approved tray, such as a wire mesh-style tray.
With the test strip in the sonic cleaner, select a wash cycle. A short or hospital wash cycle is all that is required to perform this test. Note, a short wash cycle can be performed on all machines except the Trtion Series for which an 8-minute wash cycle should be selected using a regular hospital tray.
If instruments are being cleaned during the test, as always, follow the IFU procedures for those instruments.
Upon completion of the wash cycle, verify the results of the test strip. The strip can show various levels of results. If the blue swatch has not been affected, then no ultrasonic activity has occurred and your system will need immediate attention. If there are some areas of blue test soil intermixed with clear areas, then you are getting some cavitation energy, but this still represents a failed test and your system must receive attention.
If only partial areas of blue soil sample are visible, there may be several contributing factors. This includes: water impurities, incorrect temperature, expired or damaged strips, incompatible materials – (cleaning instruments while performing a Wash-Checks U test with incompatible materials such as rubber and certain plastics can impede ultrasonic activity), incorrect dispensing, or nonsanctioned detergents.
A test strip resulting in removal of all the blue test soil indicates a successful test and your system is properly functioning.
Do not leave the strips exposed to open air or light as this will damage the strips, resulting in inconclusive test results. It is important to ensure the test strips are stored in a cool, dry location within the provided foil pouch.
To record a Wash-Check U monitor cleaning record, document the date the test was performed, the initials of the technician that conducted the test, the time the test was administered, and check the appropriate box that represents the test results.
All completed test strips can be easily stapled to a Wash-Check U monitor cleaning record for easy recall and by any audit inspection.
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