The proper maintenance of respiratory equipment

Clean medical inhaler
Photo by Mockup Graphics on Unsplash

When we talk about disinfection, we talk about the prevention and control of infection in the environment. Therefore, equipment used for respiratory therapy is considered semi-critical. The equipment must then be cleaned and disinfected properly between patients. The WHO gives us the proper maintenance of respiratory equipment in procedures to follow. The procedures are checklists in steps of a cycle. Let’s explore all the summarized steps up to the cycle finish. And yes, the cleaning step is before the disinfection step!

Checklists for care, cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of respiratory devices

1. Perform hand hygiene

The title and image say it all

2. Don appropriate personal protective equipment

The personal protective equipment to be worn during the disinfectant preparation includes surgical mask/respirator, googles/face shield, long-sleeved fluid resistant gown/gown plus apron, rubber gloves and boots or closed work shoes.

3. Wash with detergent and rinse with clean water

The external device surfaces must be wiped with a damp cloth or disposable wipe that is soaked in detergent and clean water. Then, remaining detergent residue must be wiped off with a dry lint-free cloth. A mechanical action (scrubbing/brushing) should be used to remove visible dirt deposits and calcifications.

4. Disinfect

4a. Physical disinfection – Heat for heat resistant equipement (steam/hot-water)

A high-level of physical disinfection can be achieved with steam (e.g. autoclaving at lower temperature) or hot-water at least 121°C. This is an inexpensive and effective method for sterilization or high-level disinfection.

4b. Chemical disinfection for plastic plus other parts that can be damaged by heat

b) If the disinfection needs to be with chemicals solutions, it should be performed in a well-ventilated area and away from patients. Use a disposable wipe or a fresh cloth that is soaked in a compatible disinfectant. Hydrogen peroxide 0.5% or ethanol 70-90%. Wipe from top to bottom and avoid contact with electrical connectors.

5. Dry equipment / Rinse equipment

a) Physical equipment often has a drying feature within the machine (e.g. washer, pasteurizer or autoclave). Following pasteurization, the wet equipment is typically dried in a hot-air drying cabinet or air-dried. Make sure to carefully inspect and ensure that no water is left in the equipment.

b) If a chemical solution was used for disinfection, rinse the equipment with sterile or clean water (i.e. water boiled for 5 mins and cooled down). It is preferred to use sterile water for rinsing off residual liquid chemical disinfectant from the respiratory device.

6. Store equipment in closed packages

Last step. Title says it all.

This was a summary of the Care, cleaning and disinfection of respiratory equipment in sterile services department’s article by World Health Organization.

This article is a free translation of WHO’s article.

Source:
World Health Organization
– https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/care-cleaning-and-disinfection-of-respiratory-equipment-in-sterile-services-department
– https://www.who.int/images/default-source/health-topics/coronavirus/care-cleaning-disinfection-of-respiratory-equipment.tmb-479v.png?sfvrsn=14530f0b_1

How to clean and dispose of a mask?

Wearing a mask has become our new habit during the pandemic situation. Therefore, let us explore how to clean and remove a mask or a face cover. In fact, there is more than one way to clean a mask including some additional precautions. So, let’s go over some methods!

CLEAN IN THE LAUNDRY

First, according to Health Canada, if you plan to rewear a reusable (non-medical cloth) mask, we suggest cleaning it by putting it directly in the laundry. It can be washed with other items using a hot water cycle. As for the cleaning product to use, regular laundry soap should be fairly effective, according to the New York Times. In addition, according to Le Parisien, washing with hot water should be at least 60° C for 30 minutes.

Laundry machine

CLEAN BY HAND

Second, following what was shared in the New York Times, experts have said that hand washing face covers in a sink works as well. You should lather the soap and rub the mask for 20 seconds. It’s a similar process to hand washing.

Hand laundry kit

SOAK WITH HOT SOAP

Third, soak the mask in warm soapy water. This method comes from Professor Golemi-Kotra, an expert in molecular biology in Toronto York University. She said the best way to clean a cloth mask would be to soak it in hot, soapy water for at least an hour.

DRY THE MASK

Afterwards, dry the mask completely in the dryer or by hanging it.

Drying masks

ELIMINATE A MASK

Finally, we dispose a mask that cannot be washed when it is wet, soiled or wrinkled. So just throw the mask properly in a lined trash can. It’s the same for a damaged reusable mask or a face cover at the end of its life span. Do not leave your mask lying anywhere else.

In short, these were ways to clean a face cover. Which method is right for you? Above all, do not forget to wash your hands properly before putting on a mask and also after removing it! Also, disinfect your surfaces as well!

Visit Lalema for masks and soaps!

Sources:
https://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/voici-comment-laver-masques-tissu-faits-maison_qc_5e960ed6c5b6a7e383dfffca
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/how-put-remove-clean-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html
http://www.leparisien.fr/societe/coronavirus-comment-laver-et-entretenir-correctement-son-masque-en-tissu-30-04-2020-8308476.php
https://www.lesoleil.com/actualite/le-masque-en-tissu-doit-etre-desinfecte-apres-chaque-sortie-voici-comment-faire-video-1fcd1b8b27e5a48f580cb589d22273c5