Your Guide to Determining if Your Surgical Instrument is Rusted or Stained

Published: 14th December 2010
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Stains can be taking care of whereas rust will leave permanent (pitting) damage on a surgical instruments. So how do you know if a orangish-brown color is rust or a stain, do the eraser test. Simply rub an eraser on the discoloration until it is completely gone and the surface metal underneath is smooth and clean, then that means it's a stain. but, if a pit mark shows up on the metal after the discoloration has been gone, this is corrosion, which may continue to rust.

Troubleshooting Stain Guide:
Brown/Orange Stains - Most brown/orange stains are not rust. This stain color is a result of high PH surface deposits caused by any of the following: Chlorhexidine usage, improper soaps and detergents, cold sterilization solution, possibly baked-on blood, soaking in saline or using laundry soap.
Black/Brown Stains - If it's a low PH usually under six, then its an acid stain. It may be caused by dried blood and/or improper soaps and detergents.
Blackish-Blue Stains - Reverse planting may occur when various metals are ultrasonically processed together. For example, when you have stainless steel surgical instrument sets precede with chrome surgical instruments will cause a stain color reaction. Exposure to saline, blood or potassium chloride will cause this bluish-black stain to occur.
All-in-one color stains - This means a hot spot was centered on during the processing cycle.
Dark and Light Spots - When you allow forceps to air-dry. When the moisture that is left on the surgical instruments begins to air-dry then the minerals like sodium, calcium and magnesium are left on instrument's surface.

Grayish-blue Stains - Cold sterilization solution being used outside manufacturer guidelines.
Black Stains - Happen whenever Amonia is present.

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This "surgical instruments" article is by Matt B

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