To keep your sterile processing department (SPD) running smoothly, you want to keep your ultrasonic cleaner in tip-top shape. This requires daily, weekly, monthly, and annual maintenance. Here are some of the most important things Ultra Clean Systems recommends to do or to avoid doing when maintaining such equipment.

One of the most important daily tasks is to drain the basin and replace the drain filter after each 8-hour shift. Water is recirculated through both the basin and any lumen or robotic surgical instruments during the cleaning cycle. Bioburden flushed from the instruments is trapped by the drain filter to prevent it from recirculating and recontaminating the instruments. Failure to change the filter may cause water flow to slow and keep bioburden in the basin with the instruments.

Run daily tests

In addition, the ultrasonics need to be tested daily to ensure they are working and cleaning the instruments properly. To test the ultrasonics, run a wash cycle with only a Wash-Checks U test strip in each tray. While you can run additional tests throughout the day with instruments in the trays, don’t add instruments to your daily ultrasonic check.

Don’t forget to disinfect the ultrasonic cleaner daily to remove any residual bioburden from the machine. At the end of every 8-hour shift, the basin, carriages (for our Triton series), and all trays should be cleaned, rinsed, and dried. Use an antimicrobial brush to scrub the inside of the basin (and carriages) and the lumen trays. Then verify that the detergent tank has detergent so it is ready for the next shift.

water level sensor on inside of triton 72 ultrasonic cleaner
Weekly maintenance

The water level sensors tell your machine when the basin is full or when water will cover each tray, depending on your model. Over time, debris or biofilm can adhere to them. To be sure they are working properly, clean the sensors once a week with a soft-bristled brush or a rag with rubbing alcohol.

It’s also a good idea to check the lumen tray irrigation tubes weekly and make sure they connect to the tray manifold and the machine properly. At the same time, inspect the O-ring for cracking. Don’t forget to clean the mesh screen at the bottom of the detergent pick-up tube weekly to keep your detergent flowing properly during operation of the machine.

Once a week, run a lumen wash cycle with empty lumen or robotic trays in place and a disinfectant/sanitizer instead of your regular detergent. This disinfects the irrigation system as well as the basin and trays.

Monthly, semiannual, and annual maintenance

As part of the monthly biomed maintenance on your machine, you should check the drain screen housing and manually clean or replace the drain screen. If you clean a large volume of instruments daily, this maintenance may need to be done sooner.

At the same time, depending on your model (check your operator manual), inspect the peristaltic pump tubing for leaks and cracks, check the detergent fittings, and ensure the O-ring in intact and undamaged or replace it if it is.

Every six months, check all hoses for leaks and all fittings for tightness, including the drain fitting and the titanium rod transducers (TRTs), if your machine has one or more. We recommend replacing several parts yearly, including the mesh screen, some of the hoses, and the tray irrigation ports. Refer to your ultrasonic cleaner’s operator or technical manual for a complete list for your model.

Preventive maintenance

Schedule a preventive maintenance checkup by a service technician every four months, as well. This will catch any potential problems before they occur. It also ensures that your SPD won’t experience any unexpected downtime.

Your ultrasonic surgical instrument cleaner can last for a number of years. But, as with most mechanical equipment, regular maintenance will prolong its life and ensure proper cleaning of your instruments.

Wash-Checks-U in holder resting in tray

The UV light installed in the Triton series ultrasonic cleaners