Cleaning and disinfecting solutions contain a number of chemicals that may damage delicate equipment. Incorrect use of cleansers or disinfectants can destroy equipment and harm patients or healthcare providers. The exposure to chemicals may be intentional (cleaning the device) or accidental (splashing a liquid nearby).

Chemicals that may damage equipment include:

(1) water

(2) bleach (sodium hypochlorite will corrode exposed metals)

(3) solvents (can dissolve gaskets, seals or tubing)

(4) salts (forms a gunk when fluid evaporates)

(5) detergents

(6) strong acids or bases


In addition extremes in heat or cold can damage equipment.


Equipment that may be damaged:

(1) electrical devices (monitors, computers, etc)

(2) mechanical devices (valves, pumps, etc)

(3) delicate instruments

(4) conduits



(1) electrical fire or explosion

(2) equipment malfunction

(3) damage or destruction of the device



(1) Clean equipment only with the cleaners and disinfectants recommended by the manufacturer.

(2) Follow the instructions for the use of a cleaner or disinfectant carefully.

(3) Be careful when cleaning or disinfecting near equipment.

(4) If a piece of equipment is not fluid-tight then protect it in some way (either remove it from the area being cleaned or place a fluid-proof covering over it) if cleaning nearby.

(5) Electrical devices should not be plugged while being cleaning.

(6) Equipment that cannot be decontaminated should be protected from contamination as much as possible.

(7) Instruct personnel on how to maintain equipment and how to avoid damaging it.

(8) Instruct personnel in the safe use of the cleaning or disinfecting solution.

(9) Take into account cleaning and decontamination when purchasing new equipment.

(10) If fluid leaks into equipment unintentionally then have someone trained in the device clean, dry and inspect it prior to use.

(11) Test equipment that has been cleaned before bringing it into contact with a patient or using it in a critical situation.

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