Why “No Phosphates” for Medical Instrument Cleaning?

Q: Why do some medical instrument makers caution against cleaning with cleaners or detergents containing phosphates?

A: This derives from concern over Tri Sodium Phosphate (TSP) cleaners that can have a pH of 12 in a 1% solution, which OSHA, for example, would define as corrosive, meaning: “A chemical that causes visible destruction of, or irreversible alterations in, living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact.”

By comparison, Alconox® Powdered Precision Cleaner  and Tergazyme® Enzyme-Active Powdered Detergent, which contain sodium tripolyphosphate and tetrasodium pyrophosphate, are pH 9.5, which is close to the pH of dish soap or other mild household detergents. The phosphates used in Alconox and Tergazyme detergents are far less corrosive than those of TSP based cleaners.

Medical device manufacturers and medical device reprocessors across the globe regularly use Tergazyme and Alconox detergents for manual cleaning of their instruments.  (They also often employ Liquinox® Critical Cleaning Liquid Detergent  which is a phosphate-free liquid concentrate.)

To request these or any Alconox, Inc. detergents for free, please complete the questionnaire at Get Sample. For more information about any one of our Alconox, Inc. detergents, consult the technical bulletin for each product. Or click here to access each of our detergent’s  Safety Data Sheets.

Do you have a critical cleaning question for the experts at Alconox, Inc.?  Search TechNotes to see if it’s been answered before or Ask Alconox.

Contact us any time: cleaning@alconox.com

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