Although our enzyme detergent is working well in our washer-disinfector, we’ve noticed that the machine wash cycle temperature exceeds the recommended detergent temperature by almost 40 degrees. What should we do about this?
First, you need to lower the temperature on your wash cycle to the optimum high point of your detergent. Most of the enzymes in an enzymatic detergent will begin to denature over 145°F.
Let’s explore a few scenarios where your washer was set previously to a higher temperature:
- If your wash cycle was set at a temperature over 160°F, it was probably set up for an alkaline detergent which work best at higher temperatures.
- If you were previously using another enzymatic detergent at a high temperature and experiencing poor results, these high wash temperatures would most likely be the cause.
- If you were using a two detergent system, your wash cycle would only work properly at the higher temperature if you were following the enzymatic detergent wash by an alkaline one. Following the enzyme wash cycle with a plain neutral pH detergent wash cycle at that high of a temperature, would have just been cooking any leftover soil onto your instruments.
With the aforementioned in mind, if you don’t know how to change the temperature on your washer, please have your service tech come in and show you how! All too often, I encounter facilities where no one knows how to adjust the parameters on their washer. This is a very important piece of “know how.” For example, if you’re testing your washer’s cleaning efficacy according to AAMI recommendations, and it appears you are not using enough chemistry to do the job, how are you going to adjust the dosing if you don’t know how to? Don’t become dependent on your service tech for these minor adjustments—a service call takes time, and it’s down time you can’t afford. Besides, learning how to adjust your machine will ensure you are in control in following recommendations and optimizing your cleaning ability.
Furthermore, if you work at a larger facility with a number of shifts, it’s my belief that at least one person on every shift should know the codes to change the parameters. You wouldn’t own a car without knowing how to put gas in it or an oven that only ran at one temperature, right? And you probably know how to change the parameters on your sterilizer for those “wonderful” extended cycles… so why wouldn’t you know how to do the same with your washers?
I know… I went off on a tangent again… but I hope I answered your question and wish you all a wonderful holiday!