Within a clinical laboratory, every day, all kinds of samples are handled. They contain infectious agents to chemical residues that can alter the results of a sample or an experimental test. For this reason, as part of the work routine, the reusable labware must be cleaned, disinfected, and sterilized. Now, How to clean and disinfect laboratory equipment so that it can be used later without any problem?
How to clean and disinfect laboratory equipment?
Although in most laboratories, there is specific personnel for the cleaning and sterilization area. It never hurts to know the mechanisms, especially for students who enter the school’s laboratory where they go and carry out experiments and later have to clean the material they used. For this reason, today, we will tell you how to clean and disinfect instruments.
At present, we know the importance of cleaning and disinfection of the hands of the surgeon and medical personnel and all the instruments, extrusion dies, accessories, and laboratory material since it is necessary to control the microorganisms that can cause diseases. These standards accompany medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, the food and beverage industry, the chemical industry. Among others, including the educational sector since young people from secondary education begin to know the mechanisms of action of various chemicals and know more thoroughly the human body and other living organisms and must keep laboratories clean.
It consists of removing materials adhered to objects, such as blood, chemicals, mucous samples, etc. This cleaning is done with water, mild detergents and some additional products if necessary and is the first step in hygiene since if you do not work with clean instruments, disinfection and sterilization will not be effective because microorganisms will continue to exist.
Process in which the microbial and bacterial population is reduced using cleaning agents, such as chlorine.
It is the process to eradicate all microorganisms that cause infections in an active or latent state. Once sterilized, the material must be kept in this state until it is used again.
It is the method of preventing infections by destroying pollutants; For this method, an antiseptic or substance is used in living beings that control, reduces, and prevents microorganisms’ growth or action, preventing their growth and activity.
At the end of the process, formal validation is required, with the data demonstrate the cleanliness and sterility of the laboratory material or instruments to be used. On some occasions, the contaminated material, which was in contact with organic waste such as blood or inorganic waste such as urine, must undergo another treatment such as immersing or spraying the materials with enzymatic detergents pre-wash. These agents must be surfactants or emulsifiers so that the contaminants remain suspended in the water and the surface remains clean. You can even apply a different temperature for each material. For example, cold water is used to clean protein and glucose residues, while hot water is used to eliminate fat and mineral residues.
All laboratory materials found to be dirty are considered hazardous, especially when used to collect body samples, as they can transmit infections, so appropriate measures must also be taken to handle and dispose of waste. Safely to avoid contamination. For this reason, the laboratory areas include shredders, special garbage disposal units, deep sinks, machines for washing and sterilizing glassware, drying ovens and sterilizing ovens, as well as stainless steel tables.
Usually, the materials arrive at the laboratory in containers with the data added to know what they contain and what type of treatment should be followed both for the analysis of the sample and for its subsequent disposal to know what method will be applied for pre-washing, disinfection and sterilization.
The residues or analyzed samples can be extracted or poured to manually or mechanically wash the laboratory material that can be tubes, bottles, etc. That can be used to wash a liquid or powder detergent, depending on the substance in the material.
Many laboratories cannot have automatic washing mechanisms, which can speed up the work but are not entirely essential since a laboratory can do without this type of mechanism due to the type of waste they handle. However, the use of double sinks is recommended to wash and rinse the containers. It is essential to wash containers and metal or plastic stoppers separately, and for this, polypropylene strainers or sieves can be used, which prevent small materials from escaping.
On many occasions, materials that contain highly contaminating waste require spending at least a whole night, already clean and with a disinfectant agent so that it acts thoroughly and can proceed to the next stage of sterilization. In these cases, plastic or latex gloves are recommended to avoid contamination of the skin.
In the case of new materials, it is necessary to neutralize and sterilize them before using them. However, they do not have microorganisms or residual contamination since they have not harboured contaminating samples. However, their prior sterilization is essential anyway. The most used disinfection and sterilization methods are:
Moist Heat or Autoclave
It is a device used in laboratories to sterilize the materials used at temperatures of more than 100 ° C in an exposure time of around 15 minutes to eliminate microorganisms, including fungi.
The oven is one of the most widely used disinfection and sterilization methods to kill microorganisms without leaving toxic residues.
Chemical methods such as antiseptics such as chlorine and alcohol.
Once the laboratory materials have been washed, disinfected and sterilized, they must be adequately protected to prevent exposure to the environment or other factors, such as dust, from re-fouling the material. Instruments and materials may lose their sterility if any type of rupture occurs in them, if the packaging material becomes damp or breaks (even if it is very little) or if the storage area is attacked by excess temperature or humidity. To ensure that the protected material maintains its sterility, it is essential to keep it clean, dry, free of dust, dirt or insects, and control the temperature and humidity, using the appropriate utensils for this medium.
Sterile material can retain this condition if it is adequately protected. However, it is recommended to constantly rotate the materials to always have those that are close to expiration on hand and keep the recently sterilized at the back. Labels can be used for this. With disinfection and sterilization dates, it will help keep better control.
We know how important it is to have good quality laboratory material for a doctor’s office, hospital, chemical laboratory or clinical analysis. For this reason, we put at your disposal a wide variety of materials ranging from the most used and small, such as pipettes, containers, test tubes, bags to protect sampling, sample takers, even laboratory equipment for measurement, refrigeration, centrifugation and many other products.