4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Disinfectant for Equipment

03.13.14

Written by: Selective Micro Technologies 

medical equipmentDid you know that many sanitizers or disinfectants must be thoroughly rinsed from surfaces after application? It’s true, for example, for chlorine bleach and quaternary ammonium (quats) due to inherent chemical properties of these substances. Further, aside from a relatively long rinse when using such products, some products (quats, peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide) are weak at penetrating bio-slime layers, have weak half-life (ozone) or are corrosive and/or carcinogenic (chlorine bleach). In summary, while so many chemicals are grandfathered in as a standard use protocol, most end users are unaware of the issues presented with use of the aforementioned chemicals.

Further, surface disinfection is not the same as cleaning; disinfection should accompany or follow any cleaning protocol. It is important to first clean equipment or materials in order to remove soil and organic debris. After cleaning equipment, a surface disinfectant or sanitizer should be applied. Interestingly, however, is that most chemicals are not very efficacious candidates for sensitive equipment nor for CIP (clean-in-place) applications.

Further, there is a natural problem with material incompatibility with most chemicals, which are also coupled with non-selective disinfection. These problems go away with use of pure chlorine dioxide. Pure chlorine dioxide is very selective and non-corrosive, plus it delivers an added bonus of deodorization while disinfecting. This is notably important for any COP (clean-out-of-place) application as disassembly becomes time consuming; likewise it is important for all closed system CIPs as pure chlorine dioxide, according to Henry’s Law and its inherent gaseous properties, will provide more thorough system decontamination than any other aqueous based disinfectant. Finally, pure chlorine dioxide is necessary to avoid aggressive corrosion, as commonly identifiable with chlorine bleach and ozone. This is because pure chlorine dioxide equitably disinfects but at much lower concentrations than do other disinfectants.

Below are some tips when considering a disinfectant for equipment: 

1) Be sure to employ a regular cleaning agent, so as to remove organic deposits. A bio-based surface degreaser is recommended. A highly compatible degreaser is also offered at SMT.

2) Using pure chlorine dioxide as a system disinfectant eliminates downtime as rinse out after decontamination is achieved in 1-2 applications or volumetric flushes. The same is not true for commonly used acids, peroxides, quats, alcohols, etc.

3) There are different types of chlorine dioxide so choose wisely and that which fits your budget, use frequency, and expectation. The three types consist of impure chlorine dioxide, pure chlorine dioxide, and mechanically generated chlorine dioxide. SMT offers pure chlorine dioxide by way of point-of-use (just add water) micro-reactors.

4) System downtime is a measure of system type (CIP, COP, analytical equipment, etc.), designated cleaning and disinfecting agents, and frequency of decontamination. One should employ care and precision when determining exactly which biocide is best for system or equipment decontamination. Pure chlorine dioxide offers a faster and more efficient way to disinfect, and also with the attribute of rapid rinse away or flush out, further without