I have noticed that you have mention using an acid neutralizing rinse in the W/D to deal with hard water deposits. Is there another solution, besides an acid neutralizer, to deal with this problem?
If you are concerned about the monetary implications of adding
an additional chemistry to your cleaning process, let me start by saying that
the other solutions I am about to give you are more costly and will entail the
investment in additional equipment in your department.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, over 85% of the
country has hard water, that being said you could soften your water to remove
the dissolved minerals that cause hard water, but by doing so you are just
exchanging the calcium and magnesium (the minerals that make it “hard”) in your
water for sodium, also softening water only removes the positively charged
mineral ions from your water any negatively charged ions remain. Softened water
might be good for your home when it come to cleaning, but I would have to say
that because there are still dissolved minerals, you are still going to have
dissolved minerals depositing on your washer chamber and instruments.
The best choice would be using either De-Ionized or Reverse
Osmosis water in your washer. Both of these water treating systems remove all
positive and negatively charged mineral salts from your water, so the
probability of mineral deposits is very low. Many facilities use D.I or R.O.
water in their final thermal rinse, yet use tap water in the rest of the full
automated cleaning cycle, because this final rinse is being done with water
that is ion free there will be no mineral deposits from it. But what about the
tap water that is being used in the rest of the cleaning cycles? Chances are
that some mineral deposits are forming there.
Many hospitals in Europe now use D.I or R.O. water
throughout the full automated cleaning cycle to eliminate the chance of any
mineral deposits and also to improve the cleaning of their instruments. Please
see my answer to the question “ Our
hospital has very hard water that leaves deposits on our instruments. Would
water softening help?” for more
information on this matter.
Finally if you are worried about using an acid neutralizing
rinse because you believe it will leave acid residue on your instrumentation
let me assure you that if the chemistry is dosed properly you will not have any
residual acid on your instruments.