Chemical Hide & Seek in SPD


How do you verify that you have the correct chemical in your soak sink, sonic or cart washer?


This simple question creates challenges for many SPD departments. Many technicians rely on color of the solution to verify that the correct chemical is in use in sinks and sonic instrument cleaners. They may even rely on the color to decide if the dosing is correct.


Why should we not rely on color alone to verify correct chemicals in use?

  • Dyes used in detergents may vary from lot to lot.

  • The same color might be used for completely different chemicals even within the same manufacturer.

  • Surveyors expect technicians to explain how they verify correct dosing.

  • Some detergents are now manufactured with no added dyes to avoid residual material.

For those reasons and many others, avoid the temptation to verify chemical selection by color alone.


Chemicals used for automated cleaning equipment may be hard to access. With time and staff turn-over, chemicals can end up in the wrong device or cycle.


How should we verify the correct chemicals are in use? First, do a chemical inventory of all chemicals currently in use. Read labels to verify correct applications. Check the chemical safety data sheet section 9 for chemical pH (acid or alkaline), color and odor. Use color coded tubing and labels on drum holders to ensure correct chemical placement. Most important, train staff to know chemicals not just by color, but also by brand name and correct application.