Skin Health is Important, So is the Passive Seal on Container Surfaces

10 Apr

Past History

When I was a teenager, I didn’t know how to protect my skin from the sun. I used a visor to capture the sun’s rays and baby oil to bronze and darken my skin to get a deep tan. It was what all my friends did. It became a habit, but we were teenagers, and we didn’t know better. I felt the consequences years later when the damage I did to my skin led to a couple of surgeries to remove unwanted sunspots and skin cancer! As a result of my experience, I always made sure my kids’ skins were protected, and now in my mature years I stay out of the sun or lather up with sunscreen. Skin acts as a waterproof, insulating shield, guarding the body against extremes of temperature, damaging sunlight, and harmful chemicals. We can say similar things about the surface of our favorite SteriTite sterilization container, an insulating shield protecting the sterile devices from cross contamination until point of use. However, if we don't consider the importance of the surface of anodized containers and how to keep it free of discoloration, blemishes and corrosion, we can contribute to a problem that can affect the useful life of the device, resulting in cancelled low temp sterilization cycles, and potentially affecting patient care. And it can be prevented with cleaning by using certified products to wash, followed by a rinse after each use.

It's Always Chemical

Healthcare facilities use disinfectants, harsh chemicals, and now environmental wipes to clean and disinfect. It's become an epidemic. The use of single use wipes with caustic chemicals, quats, and pesticides are found everywhere in healthcare facilities. Since COVID, you'll find them in patients' rooms, food services, toilets, common areas, and in SPD. Yes, pesticides kill most microorganisms but NOT spores. They serve an important purpose for infection prevention, but too much of a "good thing" or worse using a product "off label" can hinder infection prevention. Many folks may not realize unless they carefully review the fine print on the label that these wipes were never intended to be used to decontaminate medical devices. The intent was to wash and rinse first and in some cases to rinse afterwards too. When environmental wipes are used exclusively for "cleaning" and disinfecting devices, it does more harm than good. The mechanical action (friction) and the chemicals accumulate on the surface and remove the critical seal or passive layer making a medical device or a container literally lose its skin exposing the surface to the porous layer of the metal, now scratched and discolored. Unlike our skin, metals must be treated to develop that strong outer protective barrier. Just like your skin, harsh chemicals can destroy the protective layer.

Protect Your Skin and The Surfaces of Medical Devices

The skin is the body's largest organ, made of water, protein, fats, and minerals.  Our skin protects our body from germs and regulates body temperature. Without it, we'd literally evaporate. Further, our skin protects us against microorganisms, dehydration, ultraviolet light, and mechanical damage; the skin is the first physical barrier that the human body has against the external environment. Healthy skin is smooth, with no breaks in the surface. When it comes to promoting healing of open wounds, the best way to maintain a clean environment is to clean a cut, a scrape, or puncture wound with cool water. We are told that it is best to hold the wound under running water. We are encouraged to avoid strong soaps and detergents that strip oil from the skin and can damage the surface.  One of the reasons, Case Medical developed its skin care line was the damage we saw on our skin during COVID when wearing a mask and the frequent use of hand sanitizers was necessary not only in healthcare settings, but at work, home, whenever we were in contact with others. 

A Safer Certified Skin Cleanser

We believed that based upon our years of experience formulating and manufacturing certified instrument cleaners for device reprocessing, making a safer cleanser with certified ingredients, containing plant-based surfactants, vitamins and aloe at the ideal skin friendly pH of 5.5 would serve us well. We knew that our instrument chemicals did what was intended thoroughly clean surfaces, effectively remove soil and bioburden and contribute to the useful life of devices including our SteriTite universal container. However, despite our validations, certifications and education about best practices, we see use of caustic single use environmental wipes, now more than ever before, damaging reusable devices with harsh chemicals which are never rinsed off!

Do No Harm

It's simple; use compatible, neutral pH, free rinsing detergents to clean devices, certified by the U.S. EPA Safer Choice Program, validated for the intended use in healthcare facilities, ideal for processing devices and for surface cleaning everywhere in schools, institutions, factories and at home. Recognizing that some folks might prefer to use disposable wipes to save time, energy, and for ease of use, we offer a full line of cleaning wipes with either enzymatic or non-enzymatic detergents plus a NEW wet wipe for rinsing off and removing chemical residue and retained soil with high purity water from surfaces. And yes, when it comes to decontaminating medical devices always follow with subsequent sterilization or disinfection. Interested in sanitizing surfaces use our single use Alcohol Wipes. But not on our containers, please...wash and rinse only before sterilization.

Contact us today to learn more about our sustainable cleaners to preserve your reusable devices and our certified skin cleanser designed to protect your skin from damage. If you are attending HSPA, we look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas later this month. Join our Saturday Hands On Workshop, Crafty Case Solutions, and visit our booth to see our products in action. Case Medical, a U.S. EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year, supports best practices, while developing products that do no harm.

We will be in attendance tomorrow night at the Victoria Library in London for the launch of Materials and Sustainability, the Industry's Role in a Sustainable Future. Case Medical and our CEO, Marcia Frieze, are featured in the first chapter of the book. Marcia is looking forward to meeting the authors in person and the others who contributed to the book who are committed to a sustainable future. Learn more about it next week!

Visit us anytime at to learn more about our products and services. We are here to help. Case Medical is a U.S. EPA SAFER CHOICE Partner or the Year for Manufacturer Formulator and recognized in NJ as Innovative Manufacturer of the Year.

Kindest Regards,

Marcia Frieze and the Case Medical team

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