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Show full transcript for Equipment Sterilization Procedures for Body Art Professionals video

In this lesson, you'll learn step by step exactly 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, and it's important that you take this process seriously and follow all local requirements for the activities presented in this lesson.

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 for the cleaning and disinfecting of 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: It's far easier to prevent an exposure incident than it is to recover from a biological, accidental, or chemical exposure. Keep that in mind.

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. And easier is good.

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. And all packages should be 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. 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

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.