How Improper Cleaning Can Damage Medical Equipment

August 16, 2017 | Evaluations & Guidance


ECRI Institute regularly receives reports of device failures, equipment malfunctions, and unexpected breakages caused by the application of cleaning agents that are incompatible with the devices being cleaned, as well as by the use of incorrect cleaning techniques. Incompatible cleaning agents can damage components directly, and incorrect cleaning techniques can expose unintended areas to cleaners that may cause component deterioration and ultimately device failure. Plastic components, gaskets and seals, adhesives, device housings, and electrical components are all susceptible, and there are no cleaners or cleaning methods that are safe for use with everything.

Further compounding this issue is the difficulty of identifying and mitigating damage due to cleaning. In most cases, impending cleaning-related failures are elusive. When failures occur, facilities may suspect rough handling and abuse, overlooking cleaning as the root cause. This only adds to the importance of understanding how unvalidated cleaning agents and cleaning methods jeopardize safe operation of medical devices.

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