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Equipment Sterilization Procedures for Body Art Professionals

Video 27 of 31
4 minutes
English, Español
English, Español
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Now let’s cover sterilization procedures that are specific for body art professionals. In addition to basic infection control, reusable equipment must be sterilized. We must take the sterilization process seriously. So make sure to follow your local requirements. Now here are the basic steps on how to safely clean and sterilize contaminated instruments in a body art shop. First, decontamination areas. Contaminated equipment that is going to be cleaned needs to be separated from procedure areas. There needs to be a sink with hot and cold water for cleaning and disinfecting equipment. Secondly we need to wear appropriate personal protective equipment. Protect yourself when handling or cleaning contaminated equipment. It is far easier to prevent an exposure than it is to recover from an accidental, biological or chemical exposure. Thirdly, instruments should not be left overnight in plain water because they can develop corrosion and biofilms that make the instruments harder to clean. However, instruments can be kept wet in a holding solution for a short period of time that can make the instruments easier to clean and decontaminate. Four: cleaning. In general, there are two approaches to basic disinfection; ultrasonic cleaning and hand cleaning. Don't mistake ultrasonic cleaning of instruments for sterilization. Ultrasonic cleaning uses ultrasonic waves and an appropriate cleaning solvent. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use of the ultrasonic cleaner. It’s also important to disassemble grips, tubes, and tips after ultrasonic cleaning to allow for further cleaning. Hand cleaning. Instruments should be submerged under water during scrubbing. This lessens the chance of splattering and cross contamination. Then rinse the cleaned instruments thoroughly under tap water and allowed to air dry before packaging for sterilization. Let’s talk about packaging for the autoclave. Equipment should be packaged in procedures set-up packs with color change indicators, or packaged individually in peel-packs with color change indicators. Hinged instruments should be in an open position. And all packages need to be dated and initialed by the preparer. If a sterilized package has been breached or allowed to get wet, the instruments shall be re-packaged and re-sterilized before use. Sterilization with an autoclave. Don’t let people use autoclave unless they’ve been properly trained. Sterilization requires varying degrees of time, depending on the load, arrangement of items, packaging of materials, and the temperature as well as the type of sterilizing agent. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions. For proper sterilization, an autoclave must be monitored and sterilization logs need to be kept. Monitoring includes spore testing monthly or more frequently if required by your local health department, and checking and recording the following: We need to check the time, temperature, and pressure readings, color indicators on each package, and the integrator in each load. At minimum, a class 5 integrator must be used in each load. Sterilization Logs should record the following: Run date, load number, initials of person running the load, start and end times, temperature, pressure, actions taken if there is any indication of sterilization failure. After sterilization, the instruments shall be stored in a dry, clean cabinet or other tightly covered container reserved for storage of sterile instruments. All sterilized instruments shall remain in sterile packages until opened in front of the client.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to clean and sterilize your body art tools and instruments, from the all-important step of removing them from procedural areas to the final steps of sterilization and packaging.

Pro Tip #1: In addition to following basic infection control principles, all reusable equipment must be properly sterilized.  It's important that you take this process seriously and follow all local requirements for the activities presented in this lesson.  They are designed to help prevent infection and provide safe and quality service.

Cleaning and Sterilization Steps

The following steps should help you with the cleaning and sterilization of contaminated instruments in your body art studio.

1. Use Proper Decontamination Areas

Do not clean contaminated equipment where you use it; it must be taken to a specially designated decontamination area. This area must have a sink with cold and hot running water to properly clean and disinfect the equipment.

2. Wear Your PPE

It's important to protect yourself when cleaning and decontaminating equipment, which means wearing your personal protective equipment.

Pro Tip #2: Keep in mind that it's far easier to prevent an exposure incident than it is to recover from an accidental biological or chemical exposure.

3. Presoak Instruments

But not overnight. Soaking them too long can result in the equipment developing corrosions and biofilms which will make cleanup harder than it should be.

Keep equipment and instruments in a holding solution for a short time period. This will make cleanup and decontamination easier as well. 

4. Clean Instruments

There are two general approaches here – ultrasonic cleaning and handwashing. This is the first step before using an autoclave.

a. Ultrasonic Cleaning

Do not mistake this for sterilization, because it's not. Instead, it uses ultrasonic waves and an appropriate cleaning solvent. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on your machine. It's also important to disassemble all grips, tubes, and tips after cleaning to allow for better sterilization.

b. Handwashing

Instruments should be submerged while scrubbing them to reduce splattering and the chance of cross-contamination. After washing, rinse thoroughly and allow all instruments to air dry before sterilization.

5. Packaging for Autoclave

All equipment should be packaged in special set up packs with color change indicators or packaged individually in peel packs with color change indicators. Keep hinged instruments in the open position. Be sure that all packages are dated and initialed by the preparer.

Pro Tip #3: If a sterilized package accidentally opens, gets punctured, or gets wet, you have to resterilize and repackage.

6. Sterilize with the Autoclave

Anyone using an autoclave needs to be trained on how to use an autoclave. There are no training wheels!

Sterilization requires varying degrees of time depending on:

  • The load
  • How items are arranged
  • The packaging of materials
  • Temperature
  • Type of sterilizing agent

Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on your autoclave.

Proper sterilization also means monitoring the autoclave and keeping sterilization logs for at least three years. Monitoring includes things like monthly spore testing, and checking or recording the following:

  • Time
  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Color indicators on each package
  • Integrator in each load

At the minimum, a class five integrator must be used in each load.

Sterilization logs should include the following:

  • Run date
  • Load number
  • Initials of person running the load
  • Start time
  • End time
  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Actions take if there's a sterilization failure
  • Remember: Sterilization logs should be kept for 3 years

Once sterilization is complete, it's important to properly store all equipment and instruments. This means storing items in a dry and clean cabinet or a tightly covered container reserved for storing sterilized equipment.

Also important – all sterilized instruments need to remain in their sterile packaging until opened, and a good time to do that is in front of the client, so he or she can see your commitment to their safety and will tell every friend they've ever had to go see you for all future body art needs.