If I told you that I share a toothbrush with my sister every time we go on vacation, I’d imagine your guttural reaction is “ew, that’s disgusting” and rightfully so, it is in fact disgusting. If toothbrush sharing elicits a strong reaction, why wouldn’t instrument cleaning brush sharing elicit a similar response? Especially when the stakes of surgical instrument cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization are so high. AORN and AAMI guidelines share similar sentiments when it comes to brush use in decontamination. AORN states “reusable brushes that are not decontaminated can cause contaminants to be transferred from one device to another.” AAMI says “whenever possible, single-use brushes and other cleaning implements should be used and then disposed of afterwards.” The organizations that drive our daily practices in sterile processing are aligned on the risks of cross-contamination when utilizing reusable cleaning tools and it might be time to say goodbye to your “favorite brush” in the name of decontamination best practices.
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