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Halloween Scary Movie

31 Oct

Scary Movie: Decontamination Edition

Beware what lurks in the dark and damp

It is late October, a time when apples are pressed into cider, leaves turn to vibrant autumn colors and Halloween horror movies scare and thrill audiences. While the names of monsters, ghosts and ghouls in these movies change, there are some recurring themes that are common to all of them including dangers lurking in hidden places, unexpected twists, secret weapons and of course, sequels. In a horror movie starring SPD professionals, germs would be the monsters and the same themes that create tension and suspense in Hollywood could easily be adapted.

Revenge of the Dirty Sink

A surprising revelation that has the feel of a classic horror movie, is the fact that your kitchen sink is germier than your toilet. The sink – a key ally in the fight against germs – is the real monster! There are microbes everywhere and most are just fine for us, perhaps even beneficial to our microbiomes and immune systems. We don't care about those. What's important to note is; “There's more fecal bacteria in your kitchen sink than there is in a toilet after you flush it.” It is like finding out that the threatening voice on your phone is really your best friend and she is calling from inside the house!


The Epicenter of Contamination

Sinks and surrounding surfaces are the epicenter of activity in kitchens and in the decontamination area. Cleaning surgical instruments removes gross soil but transfer both soil and microorganisms to the sink, faucets, drain stoppers, and anywhere that a droplet of water can splash. Make sure that you have a schedule and procedure, with access to the right tools and cleaners, to regularly and thoroughly clean sinks and surrounding areas. Multi-enzymatic cleaners like the U.S. EPA Safer Choice awarded cleaners do double duty; when used at the sink to clean instruments they remove and break down soil, then continue that activity in the sink’s drain system. As an added safety feature they are low foam and clear, to avoid the lurking dangers of contaminated sharps.

A Scary Sequel: Beware the Washer Settings

Every great scary movie franchise has a sequel where the same monster shows up in a new location to continue its reign of terror. When it comes to the horror story of germs in the home, a second area that is commonly used for cleaning but in secret is a breeding ground for germs – the washing machine! Loads washed with warm or cold water do not achieve the temperatures needed to kill bacteria and can even become breeding grounds for bacterial growth if not promptly and thoroughly dried. “According to studies, the advised temperature for effectively killing possibly pathogenic bacteria is 140°F (60°C) or higher, which is considered hot water. Between 90°F and 110°F is warm, while water between 60°F and 80°F is considered cold."

Hidden Horrors in Default Settings

There are lessons SPD professionals can apply. Make sure to set your automated washers for the ideal temperature to achieve best outcome and follow with thermal disinfection. WARNING! There are some automated washers that default to a factory setting with very limited rinsing, a 15 second final rinse to save time, preceded by repetitive detergent cycles. A final lubricating rinse can then set any residue in place.


For thirty years, Case Medical has supported your efforts with validated products, education, and celebration of best practices. Visit us at www.casemed.com to learn more about our products and how they can help your facility lighten its impact on the environment for the good of us all.
Wishing you a Happy Halloween,
Marcia Frieze and the Case Medical team

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