What is an enzymatic surgical instrument cleaner and a surgical instrument cleaning detergent?
Enzymes alone do not clean, they break down soil facilitating the removal by surface cleaning detergents.
Common misunderstandings exist pertaining to the application of enzymatic detergents including the times and temperatures for optimal cleaning outcomes.
Generalities can be misleading but there are guidelines for the use of enzymatic detergents that can render a higher probability of superior cleaning outcomes. Over half of all detergent cleaners available contain some form of enzymes. Details of which enzymes are used within enzymatic detergent cleaners and the ways in which they are best used, are rarely published.
What are the optimal cleaning temperatures for enzymatic surgical instrument cleaners?
The optimal temperature for enzyme cleaning performance peaks at 137 degrees Fahrenheit (58.33 degree Celsius). The cleaning activity of the enzymes at temperatures below and above this point is less but does offer cleaning. The cleaning activity of the enzyme does not stop at this peak temperature but does lessen as the temperature increases or decreases. The detergents used for cleaning medical devices are not appreciably affected by the temperature used.
Enzymatic surgical instrument detergents use enzyme proteins that produced by living organisms. The enzymes act as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions that would otherwise occur at a much slower rate. The enzymatic surgical instrument detergent catalysts are materials that help reactions move from a beginning to an end. The enzymatic surgical instrument detergent catalysts are not consumed in a single cleaning reaction so they are available for multiple cleaning reactions. Enzymatic surgical instrument detergents fit their target substrates like a lock fits a key. The activity of the enzymatic surgical instrument detergent is open only to specific target substances with a matching chemical and 3 dimensional shape. If the substrate doesn't fit, no reaction occurs. This makes the action of surgical instrument cleaning enzymes highly specific for their substrates. Enzymes will deliver acceptable cleaning performance until they are overwhelmed by the level of debris. This can occur in the first application of the enzyme cleaning product or it could take several applications of using the enzymes, before the enzymes are overwhelmed by the level of bioburden. It is not possible to make a statement as to how long or for how many cleaning cycles an enzyme cleaning product can be used effectively. That decision must be made by observing the level of bioburden in relationship to the dilution of the enzyme cleaning product being used.
Using four enzymes that break down all forms of surgical bioburden working with surface cleaning detergents that will remove debris from the medical devices will provide the most effective cleaning performance.
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