Water Quality: What Is It and How Does It Affect Life in Sterile Processing?


Hi everyone. It’s a pleasure to be working with Beyond Clean! My job here is to get down and dirty (ok, not dirty) with the nuts and bolts of water as used in Sterile Processing, what should go right and what can go wrong. We all know the oldest truth in Sterile Processing - "If it isn’t clean, it can’t be sterile." So… if you use water that isn’t pure enough, you won’t get the instruments clean. And that means that… Yup, the instruments may not be sterile when they come out of the sterilizer. Or there may be baked-on crud that defies your attempts to remove it. Or there may be mineral deposits or corrosion on the instruments that cause the surgeon you like the least to earn even more of your loathing (and vice versa). So, using water of the proper quality is essential to doing your job. Efficiently, with minimal rework, once, and with good outcomes for the instruments, the surgeon, the patient, and the instrument. Meaning that, when the instrument returns for the next go around through Sterile Processing, your job will be easier, because the instrument will be in good shape and as easy as possible to process. I didn’t say easy. But it won’t be harder than it should be. Here are some of the things we will be discussing over the next year in this series: utility water, critical water, pH, alkalinity, hardness, aggressiveness, conductivity/total dissolved solids, metal ion content, chloride content, and total organic carbon. As the ad used to say (sort of) “better living through (understanding) chemistry.” See you next month!