The No Rinse Thing Freaks Me Out!

02 Apr
If you don't rinse your dishes after washing them, you'll still have food residue and bacteria on them. Plus, you've mixed the residue of ALL your dishes together. So if one of them had something bad on it, now they all do."

The Definition For Clean Means Washing and Rinsing

Consider this situation…You’re taking a shower, scrubbed up with soap or your favorite body cleanser, shampooed your hair, but you neglected the rinse. Instead of washing your hands you simply get into the routine of using hand sanitizer. While you might consider yourself sanitized, your skin might disagree. In both scenarios, now you are covered with chemical agents. Your hands and body are chapped, your skin is not only irritated but now you have a rash, an allergic reaction that can harm your body and wellbeing, by creating a chronic skin condition. While this example may sound extreme, deterioration to surfaces of medical devices is happening in a similar fashion. Overuse of chemical agents without rinsing is happening every shift in health care facilities. I don’t want to be an alarmist, but this is how our SteriTite container and the other folk’s, too, is being “decontaminated.”

The Rationale

Vendors are promoting the widespread use of germicides including single use wipes. And some of them are being recommended for off label use! Wipe down, no rinse needed or any pre-cleaning at all just use one disinfecting wipe to clean and a second to disinfect. Afterall it’s in their IFU. Here are some common excuses I’ve heard to wipe instead of clean. “Our washer disinfectors are fully occupied.” “ Our sink is too small for hand washing devices.” “ Our cart washer needs repair.” Somehow, it’s become common practice in numerous facilities to use a germicidal wipe designed for janitorial or surface disinfection of non-porous surfaces to be used on reusable medical devices instead of cleaning. The general belief is that’s it is acceptable to simply wipe with a disposable wipe instead of washing and rinsing. Afterall, it saves time and makes sense when the cart washer is out of service. Besides using the X wipe keeps the trays moving and avoids OR delays. Using a wet wipe has now become a standard operating procedure throughout the facility.

The Consequences

Washing and sanitizing requires use of a chemical agent to reduce infectious agents from surfaces. Reduce yes, but removal that’s another thing. Rinsing is important after washing to remove residual soil, cleaning solutions, and chemical agents from surfaces. Surfactants or detergents lift soil off surfaces so they can be rinsed away. Cleaning is the first and critical step in the decontamination of medical devices before sterilization or disinfection can occur. According to the CDC, “all chemicals must be rinsed from equipment or adverse reactions (e.g. fever, residual amounts of high-level disinfectants, proteinaceous residue) could result.” Medical devices including sterilization containers require a rinse after washing or residual detergent can cause surface degradation and interfere with subsequent sterilization.

Our Solution... Introducing Rinse Wipes

While we endorse washing followed by a thorough rinse under the flow of water for all devices, we understand to do so every time and to all surfaces may not be common practice or even possible given the circumstances. Case Medical developed wet wipes for manual cleaning and pre-treatment, PentaWipes with multiple enzymes and certified surfactants, and also CasePrep Wipes for those who understand the importance of pre-cleaning but prefer non-enzymatic solutions. These wipes are pre-moistened with U.S. EPA certified ingredients. While a thorough rinse under running water is the best option to remove residue after washing, a wet wipe with high purity water with a small amount of certified biocide can address situations where a thorough rinse under running water is not available after washing or when a chemical agent or disinfectant requires a rinse after application.

Case Medical, the solutions company, developing products and services to support best practices, safer outcomes, and the circular economy. We designed our containers and trays to be truly reusable and manufacture solutions to preserve them and their functionality for years to come. Contact us to learn more about our 360 degree approach to instrument processing.

Case Medical is a U.S. EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year and here to help you solve problems with sustainable and validated products and services. Look for the Safer Choice label when purchasing cleaning solutions for your department and for your home.

Visit us anytime at to learn more about our products and services. We are here to help. Case Medical is a U.S. EPA SAFER CHOICE Partner or the Year for Manufacturer Formulator and recognized in NJ as Innovative Manufacturer of the Year.

Kindest Regards,

Marcia Frieze and the Case Medical team

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