Faithful readers of the Case Medical blog know that over the past several weeks we have had some fun using a soap opera editorial format to describe a recent investigation into customer reports of a mysterious white residue on containers, washers, and other SPD surfaces. For those that have not read our previous installments you can catch up by reading those posts Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
In this our final installment, all loose ends are tied up, the source of the mysterious white substance is revealed and the good guys (in this case, SPD departments) are rewarded with positive outcomes.
When the white residue was first reported, various characters in the story line immediately jumped to the conclusion that the residue was caused by either water quality issues or flaws in the containers themselves. These accusations were made without evidence or proof, but they had the intended effect of escalating the drama and introducing a sense of conflict into the story. Meanwhile, Case Medical worked behind the scenes, to get at the truth.
Water samples were collected, and containers were sent to our lab for analysis. If this really was a soap opera this analysis would have resulted in a shocking revelation–like DNA results that prove the existence of a long-lost evil twin! In our case, the lab report simply proved two things that we already suspected. First, the tap water quality was good. Second, the container’s anodized surface and seal were at the same level as when they were manufactured. These results cleared the tap water and the container from suspicion as a cause of the white residue.
A Case of Bad Chemistry
In addition to analyzing the tap water quality and containers, laboratory tests were conducted on the residue itself. In this case the results did have a bit of an evil twin surprise element.
Lab testing concluded that the white residue was scale, a mineral deposit that is associated with poor water quality. But how could that be when the tap water itself was tested and cleared of suspicion?
The answer was a case of improper technique and bad chemistry. The assumption was that cleaners were being used in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and loads were being rinsed using clean tap water. In reality, a wide variety of cleaners were being used in amounts that exceeded manufacturers’ specifications and the rinse water in the cart washer was being recycled from one load to the next.
This resulted in the perfect chemical stew for scale. The higher concentration of cleaners increased its ability to leach minerals from equipment. As result, the quality of the rinse water was compromised and caused the accumulation of scale. In a surprise twist worthy of any good soap opera plot, the cleaning process itself was the source of the cleaning issue!
In soap operas, beneficial friction is often the path to a successful resolution. How often have we seen a blowout argument between couples resolve into reconciliation and a stronger relationship? In our story beneficial friction takes a more literal form. By applying a little elbow grease along with our non-enzymatic cleaner and non-linting disposable wipes, the white residue was removed from container surfaces.
As we suspected all along, the white residue was not attributed to any issue with Case Medical products. Nevertheless, we always feel obligated to help our customers resolve SPD-related issues that arise for any reason. It is our sincere hope that our investigation at least helped get this department back to quality, productivity, and supporting patient safety.