3 Ways to Ensure Optimal Equipment Cleaning

Uncover the facts 6.25.2015

Written by: Zach Devier

First, I’d like to introduce myself, the author of this blog and several other blogs that will be posted on our website from time to time. My name is Zach Devier (pronounced Da-Veer) and I am an employee at Selective Micro Technologies. I’ve learned a lot about chlorine dioxide over the past year and would like to share some of what I’ve learned with you.

One of the industries I’ve been working closely with is clinical diagnostics. In vitro diagnostics, according to BioMérieux, affect more than 60% of medical decisions. These tests improve the efficiency of the healthcare industry, while lowering costs as well. Many tests are run every day in order to help doctors decide what action to take. As a result, these clinical analyzers must be kept free of pathogens, organic matter, or anything else that might cause false test results.

Effectiveness

Over everything else, effectiveness of the cleaning is most important. A lab technician has to be absolutely sure that the product he is using is effectively cleaning the inside of the analyzer. As I said earlier, many tests are run every day. Sometimes machines can even be used to analyze thousands of samples per day. If there is a pathogen leftover in the machine from a previous sample batch, it can cause false test results in the next. If this were to happen, patients could potentially receive medication that they do not need!

I’d like to tell you about SMT’s pure chlorine dioxide and how it is so effective at accomplishing this task. ClO₂ is an oxidizer. That means that the molecule has electrons to trade with other materials. ClO₂ is very selective and mostly only chooses to trade these electrons with pathogens that would cause the analyzer to malfunction.

Trading electrons with these pathogens changes them at their most basic level, rendering them inert. With this method of decontamination, there is no chance that these pathogens will build an immunity to the molecule. A good metaphor we use (although not quite scientifically accurate) is likening oxidation of a pathogen to that of a human getting shot with a bullet. There is just no way to build up a tolerance to that.

Compatibility

When choosing a product for decontamination, another important factor to consider is compatibility of the material with the analyzers’ components. If you choose a chemical, such as bleach, that is corrosive, it will eat away at the machine over time. Eventually, parts will need to be replaced in the machine.

Of course we all know that a machine can’t run when missing parts, so for the time being, that machine isn’t running tests. That means patients aren’t getting diagnosed, and money is being lost! Many cleaning chemicals that are available now can be pretty corrosive. What causes this is the selectivity of the chemical.

Some oxidizers are like pigs. What I mean by that is that they aren’t very picky in what they choose to eat (trade electrons with). So, while they are oxidizing the pathogens in the machine, they are also oxidizing all of the small working parts of the machine.

This is where SMT’s pure ClO₂ has an advantage! While the molecule is a very powerful oxidizer, it is also a very picky oxidizer. What I mean by that is that they are more prone to trade electrons with any pathogens in the machine, but they don’t want to trade them with those small working parts I mentioned earlier. The result of this is a chemical with much higher compatibility that won’t destroy the machine.

Ease of Use

And last on our list, the third factor to consider for optimal equipment cleaning is ease of use. A decontaminate that is easy to use makes for a very happy lab technician. Many chemicals require dilution, mixing, or some other form of preparation. This adds a layer of danger to whoever is responsible for that mixing, as well as adding time that they aren’t preparing samples.

Again, I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about Selective Micro’s very-easy-to-use pure ClO₂. Our product is sold in a pouch (typically 2 liters) that holds what we call a “micro-reactor.” This micro-reactor is a membrane that holds in the precursor chemicals required to generate chlorine dioxide. All that is needed for this generation is water! That’s it. Just add water, wait for it to generate, and then pour the chlorine dioxide right into the analyzer’s decontaminate reservoir. Plus, it typically only takes a single volumetric flush to rid the molecule from the whole system.

So, if I’ve been able to get you intrigued about chlorine dioxide for the decontamination of clinical analyzers, why don’t you take a look at our Lab and Clinical Equipment page. And if you have more questions, you can email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’d be more than happy to talk with you!