With the coronavirus, being all over the news and affecting all healthcare practices, we have got a perfect time to talk about cleaning and sterilizing of suction cups in your regular practice. This article will cover how to clean and disinfect cups to remove microorganisms, bacteria and other blood borne pathogens.
Cups generally fall under the category of Semi-Critical Medical Devices/equipment that sometimes comes in contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin. For this reason, high level disinfection is needed. Reprocessing of such suction cups involves meticulous cleaning followed at a minimum high level disinfection. While this process sounds difficult, it is quite easy. The process includes wash, disinfect, rinse and dry.
Best Practices for Disinfecting your Cups
Regardless of the type of cup that we are using, here are some safety health standards that should be followed when we clean and disinfect cups.
Soak and wash cups: When finished with the cupping session, soak your cups in warm soap water and detergent, with some sort of mechanical force. Let them submerge for around 30 minutes so that all the organic matters like sweat, oil, hair, creams etc. will be removed from the cups.
Rinse: A thorough rinsing is required to just remove all the soap agent and soil from the suction cups and ensure thorough cleanliness is done. Depending upon the quality of the water supply, the final rinsing may require de-ionized or distilled water.
Dry: At this stage, we just need to drain off the cups by removing excess water, so that all the massage cups and corresponding equipment will be completely dry and kept for storing or will be re-used on the next client.
Disinfect: There are many high level disinfectants. Some of them include 0.2% peracetic acid, 0.55% ortho-phthalaldehyde, 7.5% hydrogen peroxide, 2% glutaraldehyde and 2 to 7% improved action formulation hydrogen peroxide.
Of these, 7.5% hydrogen peroxide is the most environmental friendly chemical disinfectant and is also bank-friendly. This chemical breaks down into oxygen and water, easily disposable and does not smell. The suction cups must be left to soak in H2O2 for about 30 minutes to achieve high level disinfection. This is called contact time and if you have decided to use another high level disinfectant, please refer the label for the appropriate contact time.
Storage recommendations: Suction cups have to be kept in a cool, dry and closed container free of dust and protected against ozone and air draught. Also, these cups should be free from any tension and mechanical stress. Mechanical stress and exposure to light, oxygen, ozone, heat and moisture can shorten the lifetime of massage cups or can cause a deformation of these cups. Hence, small boxes and appropriate stacking with low loading height containers are recommended.
Safety measures: It is important to remember that these disinfectants, no matter whatever be the chemical, it is recommended to wear protective equipment like goggles, gloves and sometimes an apron when handling with disinfectant chemicals.
At Halina Cupping Therapy Clinic, we follow the above best practices to ensure hygiene and safety for our clients.