Ultrasonic Cleaner Validation

Within sterile services (CSSD’s/CDU’s) the installation and use of ultrasonic cleaners is intended for pre-cleaning activities prior to disinfection in a validated washer-disinfector. (see washer disinfector validation)

Ultrasonic cleaners work by exposing load items such as surgical instruments to high frequency waves in a liquid cleaning medium. The high frequency waves are generated by the vibration of one or more surfaces of the bath caused by one or more transducers bonded to the bath. The transducers convert electrical power into vibrations of the required frequency and amplitude. These values should be monitored at commissioning and at routine validation to proactively identify when deterioration occurs in the performance of the ultrasonic transduces.

The cleaning action occurs as a result of the penetrative agitation caused by cavitation, the rapid formation and collapse of tiny bubbles within the liquid. Validation of the cleaning process should be carried out having given careful consideration to the selection of suitable test loads and test soils.
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Ultrasonic treatment is particularly suitable for cleaning instruments of high-grade steel. Delicate load items/instruments can be effectively cleaned with little risk of damage. Ultrasonic treatment is also particularly effective for cleaning instruments that have deep interstices that may be contaminated with body tissues, for example reamers, drills and burrs.

When combined with appropriate connection to an irrigation or flushing system, ultrasonic cleaners are also effective for cleaning internal and external surfaces of cannulated instruments.

Ultrasonic cleaners that are equipped with means to irrigate hollow instruments such as endoscopes should be validated quarterly with both the general reference load and the endoscope/MAT reference loads.

It should be noted that Ultrasonic cleaners are less effective when used to clean plastic and similar readily compressible materials