Surgical instrument washers and washer disinfectors, that are properly designed, can deliver sterile medical devices at the completion of the washing cycles. The proper sequence of surgical Instrument washer disinfector cycles will deliver consistently clean medical devices that are safe to handle and have received the prerequisite for sterilization.
An example of proper cycle washing temperatures:
- cold water pre wash cycle: ambient to 95 F, 35 C
- wash enzymatic and detergent cycle: 131 to 137 F, 55 to 58 C
- elevated thermal rinse cycles with lubrication: 194 to 209 F, 90 to 98 C
- hot air dry cycle with disinfecting temperatures: 158 to 230 F, 70 to 110 C
In the United States manufacturers of surgical instrument washers are not approved by the FDA to market their products as "washer disinfectors", however, many of the surgical instrument washers are manufactured to produce the times and temperatures that can effectively deliver disinfected surgical instruments. If it is your preference to have cleaning reprocessing results of a washer disinfector, refer to the surgical instrument washer specifications for assurance that the times and temperatures available are those you consider to be appropriate for disinfecting surgical instruments. Automated surgical instrument washer decontaminator disinfectors can safely contain within their chambers the cleaning-decontamination-reprocessing functions, removal of debris, and contaminated aerosols. It has been demonstrated that a properly designed surgical instrument washer decontaminator and washer disinfector, that is used to the manufacturer’s specifications, will consistently and repeatedly remove all microorganisms from surgical instruments. Surgical instrument washers and medical washer disinfectors should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s direction for use, to secure the most consistent and efficacious results. Proper cleaning surgical instruments prior to sterilization is the prerequisite for disinfecting and/or sterilizing surgical instruments.