16 Jun 2021

Have you ever thought of the fact? You use a dishwasher at home but wash your surgical instruments at the clinic by hand? With the majority of small clinics, thinking of a steam sterilizer as a ‘silver bullet’ for the sterilization of their instruments.

Hi, It’s Graham Here,

Have you ever thought of the fact?  You use a dishwasher at home but wash your surgical instruments at the clinic by hand?

With the majority of small clinics, thinking of a steam sterilizer as a ‘silver bullet’ for the sterilization of their instruments.

How wrong can they be!

While “infection”/virus is on the airwaves and everyone’s mind. Maybe it’s time to look at all veterinarians health facilities and revisit how your reusable instruments are washed, disinfected and sterilized. No vet wants to lose their clients after a procedure due to the result of a dirty instrument. 

Our research shows that disinfection is little understood and not very often used in a practice.

Let me explain. Actually, it’s easy. The cleaning of reusable instruments prior to heat sterilization is a crucial, yet sometime misunderstood, infection-control procedure. If biological contamination and other debris are not removed properly, the remaining matter can interfere with microbial inactivation during a sterilization cycle. This compromises the process.

Ideally, cleaning is performed using an automatic instrument washer/disinfector. Thorough cleaning of all instruments and equipment is an essential prerequisite in the washing, disinfection and sterilization process.

So, even if a hand washed instrument is placed in a sterilizer, at the completion of the cycle, it would still be dirty, why, because all that will have happened is that more blood or debris will be baked on to the instrument.

Caution Ultrasonic cleaners clean but do not disinfect

After you have loaded all your dirty instruments into your thermal washer/disinfector you simply close the door push start and walk away to let it all happen without you.


Thermal washer/disinfectors.

Operating cycle. While the machine is connected  to 240v electrical power supply and hot water connected.

Machine follows an automatic operating cycle consisting of the following sequence of stages.

  • When the chamber door is closed and the Start button is activated the operating commences. During the cycle until the end of the disinfecting stage, the operating indicator will continue to operate
  • Pre-rinsing: The load is pre-rinsed with water for a period of 2 minutes to remove gross soil.”


At the completion of this stage, the pre- rinsing liquid is pumped to waste

  • Washing: the pre-set temperature for washing shall have been set within the range 50OC to 70O

After the water for washing has reached the pre-set washing temperature, the required quantity of non-foaming heavy duty hospital & laboratory detergent is added to the water.

The washing liquid is circulated at the pre-set washing temperature for not less than 2 min nor more than 5 min, and effectively cleans all internal and external surfaces of the load.

At the completion of this stage, the washing liquid is pumped to waste

  • Rinsing: during a period of not less than 2 minutes residual detergent shall be removed by passing hot liquid rinse through and around the load and internal surfaces of the chamber.
  • Disinfecting: disinfecting liquid is circulated through and around the load after the disinfecting liquid has reached its operating level.


The timer for the disinfecting stage does not commence until the disinfecting liquid has reached the disinfecting temperature, of 80oC for 10 minutes.

  • Vapour removal stage: when steam vapour is condensed a condensate rinse stage is provided through the chamber for not more than 30 s.
  • Completion of cycle: At the completion of the cycle the digital display will flash “Finished
  • Complete cycle takes approximately 50 minutes.


The intent of disinfection is to minimise the risk of infection to animals and the workforce from contaminated instruments. The purpose of this activity is to define a specification for the process used to kill microorganisms on a cleaned reusable instruments to achieve high-level disinfection. The ultimate goal of infection control practices is to prevent infection from occurring in the first place.

If you are not already using an Instrument Thermal Washer Disinfector for the cleaning and decontaminating of your surgical instruments and utensils, here are five benefits to your practice to make the change:

  1. Improve the prevention of healthcare-associated infections in your practice
  2. Frees up staff’s time (labour costs) by automating most of the cleaning process.
  3. Save money on labour costs
  4. Reduce the OH&S risks for your staff
  5. Reduce your business’ taxable income with the Instant Asset write off (eligibility criteria applies. See ATO website for more information https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Depreciation-and-capital-expenses-and-allowances/Simpler-depreciation-for-small-business/Instant-asset-write-off/?=redirected_instantassetwriteoff)


See how the new generation of Sanitech Washer Decontaminators can improve the results in your business. Email: [email protected]  Or call Sanitech Australia today on (+61) 03 9809 2701 for a proposal and to take advantage of the Instant Asset Write off. www.sanitech.com.au


Graham Scott