Detergents work by reducing surface tension, allowing water and friction to remove soils. The key word here is FRICTION. Friction is YOUR effort with brushes and cloths to help detergent remove soil. Friction requires direct access to the surface area including channels, serrations and box locks.
When enzymes are added to detergent, this creates a powerful tool for PASSIVE cleaning. Picture enzymes as a tiny Mr. Clean going deep inside an instrument channel or tubing breaking up sticky dried blood or fats. Enzymes are working where you and your brushes can’t go!
What are enzymes and how do they work?
Enzymes are natural biological catalysts. They work by using natural chemical “scissors” to chop up long chains of organic material such as protein, blood and fats. Your body breaks up food at 98.6 degrees F by using enzymes for digestion. Enzymes in detergents also work this way by breaking up the blood and soil hiding inside the channel of a Kerrison rongeur. Enzymes are valuable tools when cleaning instruments with difficult access by boosting PASSIVE cleaning action in hidden areas where blood can stick and hide.
Enzymes are also specific, working like a lock and key to target certain soils. Protease enzymes target and break up proteins, amylase enzymes target starches and lipase enzymes target fats. Because each day in Central Sterile brings a combination of orthopedic, spinal, and abdominal surgery cases, the ideal enzymatic detergent should contain the variety of specific enzymes needed for all types of soils.
Enzymes may be powerful natural cleaners but they are also gentle, biodegradable and neutral pH. This type of chemistry is more compatible for delicate instrumentation and better for the environment during disposal. Using enzymatic cleaning solutions maintains quality results while reducing the amount of caustic chemicals we would otherwise need to break up fats and other soils.
Enzymes are natural organic substances that evolved to work in environments ranging from just above freezing to boiling hot springs. Enzymes are organic and need some contact time to fully break down soils. They also have the potential to catalyze or attack each other in the concentrated form while stored on the shelf, so it is important to monitor expiration dates on enzymatic products.
Are enzymes too fussy and difficult when cleaning medical devices?
Enzymatic detergents can be formulated to work quickly in a wide range of temperatures, on a wide range of soils and with an extended shelf life. This requires careful sourcing of the enzyme components and chemical engineering with special preservatives to mute enzyme action until dilution.
Certol's enzymatic products
Certol enzymatic formulas are lab tested and validated to start working quickly at room temperature conditions. Certol ProEZ AW Quad is low to no foam, neutral pH, low viscosity for easy rinsing, contains the full range of soil specific enzymes needed in a busy Sterile Processing department and works at the expanded temperature range needed for all applications from scopes to sinks to sonics to automated washer cycles. AW = Anywhere!
For a full list of Certol's enzymatic products clickhere.