Shift to neutral: Busting myths of alkaline detergents

You can eliminate alkaline cleaners from your SPD

After 28 years of developing, formulating, and manufacturing products for instrument processing, Case Medical has learned a thing or two about safety, materials compatibility, and biocompatibility.  Specifically, we’ve learned what works and what should be avoided.


ph_scaleIf you routinely use alkaline cleaners with a pH >9, you may be undermining your cleaning process,  destroying the devices you are treating and even your equipment. While alkaline cleaners do remove soil, they can create more problems than they solve. (See a recent blog about the challenge of removing protein with alkaline detergents, when enzymatic cleaners are safer and more effective.)

Alkaline detergents may not be free rinsing, can leave deposits on instruments, are corrosive to metals, and can destabilize enzymes. Even those that claim to be “aluminum friendly” or “aluminum safe” will cause damage to instruments, containers, and even your cleaning equipment. Read the SDS! You will learn that some have a pH 14, with a use dilution at pH 13 to 14.  So high! This is equivalent to lye and will remove the outer surface of any metal. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE test the water with your hands!

There is a better way

In fact, with a few simple adjustments, you can run your processes in “neutral” and have a better and safer outcome. Preserve your devices and equipment, avoid residue, and, even more importantly, eliminate the risk of skin burns and eye damage among your staff. 

Believe what you read

You may have been told that your cleaning chemistries, even the drying agent used in the cart washer, are pH neutral. That may not be accurate. Always read the label and review the SDS for yourself.

Safety Data SheetsSeveral of our customers have discovered that they’re dousing their case carts and containers with an alkaline or acidic product in the name of preventing water spots and scale, even corrosion. However, an alkaline or acidic rinse agent may be the real cause of corrosion.  

When cart washers recycle used water and continue to dispense these caustic agents, both the concentration and pH level increase, leading to greater risk for corrosion. It is not necessary to use caustic cleaners, even drying agents. Case Medical’s line of SuperNova® cleaners are pH neutral and include Case Dry, a neutral drying and sheeting agent.

Most enzymatic cleaners are neutral

Multi-Enzymatic CleanersAt Case Medical, we truly believe in the effectiveness of enzymes.  Those found in our multi-enzymatic detergents target and quickly break down fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and other soils on surfaces and surgical devices. When incorporated with our neutral cleaners, they are not only effective; biodegradable; and safe for patients, staff, and the environment, but also preserve the life of medical equipment and devices.

Play it safe

You can get rid of alkaline cleaners in your department. Utilize our line of SuperNova® instrument chemistries that are U.S. EPA Safer Choice labeled and possess all the characteristics of an ideal cleaning agent, per AAMI ST79.