Surgical Instrument Cleaning Protocols, Cleaning of Surgical Instruments Prior to Sterilization, Cleaning Surgical Instruments Process, and Cleaning and Disinfecting Surgical Instruments. Enzyme Surgical Instrument Detergents can improve your decontamination process. Your first-line-of-defense against Preventing Corrosion is the passive oxide layer of Surgical Instruments. Stainless steel surgery instruments are made of corrosion resistant high-grade specialty steels.Corrosion resistant does not mean  corrosion proof. One of the special characteristics of these steels is that the manufacturer forms a passive oxide layer on the surface, which protects them against corrosion. This makes surgery instruments as corrosion resistant as possible.  It is imperative that you maintain the passive oxide layer to prevent corrosion and  maintain your surgery instruments in optimal condition. If this is not done the stainless steel will be more susceptible to corrosion, pitting and stains.This will reduce the life of the surgery instruments and/or  render it useless. Initially, all stainless steel surgical instruments have the same corrosion resistance. When strength and hardness requirements are important factors for instrument function, corrosion resistance is generally lower. Increasing the corrosion resistance would soften the stainless steel.

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Manufacturers of surgical instruments recommend the use of neutral pH enzyme detergent cleaners. Neutral pH all-in-one or combination enzyme surgical instrument cleaner detergent concentrates have  been shown to be effective in optimizing the efficacy of the passive oxide layer. This will provide a longer life for stainless steel surgery instruments. Cleaning concentrates with a high or low pH have been shown to erode the passive layer. The most common of these cleaning concentrates utilize an alkaline detergent with an acid neutralizer. Virtually all manufacturers of surgical instruments and surgical instrument containers recommend against using these and recommend using a neutral ph detergent. Virtually all manufacturers of surgical instruments, rigid scopes, flexible scopes, and instrument containers recommend the use of neutral pH Cleaning Concentrates. Studies regarding the passive oxide layer of Surgical Instruments. Guidelines on metals and alloys in contact with food; Council of Europe; published 11.10.2000. Systemic nickel: the contribution made by stainless steel cooking  utensils; Contact Dermatitis, Volume 32:2, 1994 of the stainless steel passive layer to prevent corrosion have revealed a reduction in corrosion prevention with the use of cleaning concentrates that are not neutral pH. The use of cleaning concentrates that deliver an acid rinse will release nickel from the stainless steel and decrease the efficacy of  the passive layer. This is most critical on initial reprocessing events of stainless steel surgical instruments. Measurable levels of nickel have been detected. It was also  shown that, as the number of subsequent uses increased, the level of nickel release diminished and reached a steady state (measured in the order of μg/l). These  observations reflect the changes that occur in the passive oxide layer on first immersion of stainless steels in aqueous media.