Cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing (CDS) are the three levels of instrument care:
- Cleaning removes dirt, debris and biological material from surgical instruments. Detergents or an enzymatic cleaner are used for cleaning surgical instruments and biosensors. A thorough cleaning removes debris and proteins that could interfere with disinfection/sterilization and corrupt research results. For best results, use a detergent like Enzol® or Alconox®.
- High Level Disinfection (HLD) eliminates all vegetative bacteria, lipid viruses, some non-lipid viruses, mycobacteria, lipid enveloped and some non-lipid enveloped viruses, fungus spores, bacterial spores, though not in a high number. Cidex Plus® (3.4% glutaraldehyde) can be used as a high level disinfectant. The CDC recommends a 90 minute soak at 25°C.
- Sterilization destroys all microbial life. Delicate equipment that will not stand up to the heat of autoclaving may be chemically sterilized. Soaking surgical instruments in Cidex Plus® for 10 hours at 25°C will sterilize them. Generally, autoclaving is the method of choice for sterilizing surgical instruments.