| FAQ - Instrument Processing - Archived Through 2012
What are the best techniques for instrument cleaning?
Ultrasonic cleaners and hot-water/detergent instrument washers (with or without a thermal disinfection feature) can effectively clean dental instruments prior to sterilization. Because they minimize handling of sharp instruments, they also may reduce the risk of percutaneous injury to dental staff. Handscrubbing instruments increases the risk of contaminated sharps injuries and should not be performed unless stubborn debris remains on an item after it has been through an automated cleaning cycle. If handscrubbing is necessary, always use a long-handled brush and proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including heavy-duty utility gloves, mask, protective eyewear, and a fluid-resistant gown to prevent splash and spatter from contaminating street clothes or uniforms. Using a long-handled brush allows you to keep instruments immersed during scrubbing (to minimize splash and spatter) while keeping hands above the waterline (and away from sharp instrument ends) for added safety.