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Choosing the Right Surgical Cleaning Brush

Jan. 04, 2023

It is important to use the correct tools for the job and one of the keys to effective cleaning is to use the correct instrument cleaning brush. This article will review how to select the correct size and style of cleaning brush from the common styles available.

Cleaning brushes used in healthcare are specifically designed to remove dirt from the often fragile instruments/equipment used during surgical procedures. Dirt can range from easily wiped off blood or mucus, to more difficult to remove bone chips or burned by surgical lubricants.


Choosing the right surgical cleaning brush

Depending on the instrument/equipment you are cleaning, the brush you need may vary. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to manual cleaning, so the first step is to know what you are cleaning. There are specific brushes designed to perform specific tasks and choosing the wrong brush can cause challenges for patients and providers, including infection or instrument/equipment damage.


Brush types include general, toothbrush, burr, channel, valve, and acetabular reamer brushes, to name a few.

 Medical Instrument Cleaning Brush

Medical Instrument Cleaning Brush

Channel cleaning brushes

When cleaning luminescent instruments/devices, you need to be able to clean both the inside and outside of the device. Channel style brushes support effective cleaning of the inside of the inner chamber instrument/device by allowing you to guide the brush through the inner chamber while the bristles remove bioburden from hard-to-reach internal channels. Channel cleaning brushes are available in standard, acrylic or fan tip, flexible, heavy duty, tapered, ring end, curved and reusable handle channel brush options to meet your specific cleaning needs.


Standard Channel Brushes

For most basic luminescent instruments/equipment, the standard channel brush is effective in removing dirt from the inside of the equipment. These are the most common channel style brushes; sizes range from 7" to over 50" and are available in a variety of diameters to suit your reprocessing needs.


Fan Tip Channel Brushes

Fan tip channel brushes have fanned bristles to help reach the ends of closed lumened instruments/devices.

 Medical Instrument Cleaning Brush

Medical Instrument Cleaning Brush

Heavy duty channel brushes

Heavy duty channel brushes are the right choice when maximum control is required to effectively clean the most difficult light emitting instruments/devices such as oscilloscope ports. For added protection, the polypropylene brushes use a chemically resistant synthetic filament material that makes the bristles resistant to bacterial growth.


Tapered channel style brushes

Tapered channel style brushes offer a double twisted end design to ensure that all parts of the narrow tapered lumen can be reached.


The standards followed by the sterile processing department do not specify when brushes should be replaced. So how does a facility determine if a brush is "worn" or "damaged"?

Medical Instrument Cleaning Brush

 Medical Instrument Cleaning Brush

Inspecting brushes.


Damaged bristles

Shed or missing bristles

Bristles left in/on the instrument

Dirt left on brushes after cleaning

Bent or twisted brush handles or shafts (channel brushes)


Poor removal of dirt and biofilm can lead to patient injury or damage to the instrument/equipment. Having the right brushes for the instruments/equipment you are working with will help optimise your cleaning process and ensure effective cleaning. When brushes are damaged, broken bristles or rods left in the instrument/equipment can lead to expensive repairs or damage and additional time to re-clean the instrument/equipment.

MUNKCARE, made of clinicians, researchers, engineers, is a manufacturer of medical supplies uniquely positioned to provide products, education and support across the oral care and in vitro diagnosis. Welcome to contact us.

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