What form of reprocessing do you recommend for containers? Is there a corresponding recommendation for this?

The Robert Koch Institute covers this issue its recommendation entitled "Requirements for hygiene in the reprocessing of medical devices", (published in the Federal Health Gazette 44 (2001): 1115-1126) as follows: "For cleaning/disinfection, rinsing and drying, a distinction must be made between manual and automatic processes, whereby mechanical processes are to be given precedence, particularly because they are easier to standardise and for reasons of occupational safety. ..." However, this does not exclude manual reprocessing (cleaning/disinfection). Also from the point of view of the basic topic of our instrument reprocessing working group entitled "preservation of value", both manual and automatic reprocessing of containers is possible. A prerequisite for this is, of course, that the recommendations of the container manufacturers regarding material resistance are observed and that the recommendations of the detergent and washer-disinfector manufacturers are observed.

How long do containers with instruments have to cool down before being issued for reuse?

According to our experience, loaded mesh trays (note: recommended max. weight 10 kg) usually cool down within about 2 hours, by which time the contents are ready for use. With regard to condensation, it is also important that the container is not directly exposed to the cold after sterilisation as rapid cooling leads to an increased amount of condensate. Conversely, a dry and temperature-controlled storage room has a positive effect on preventing condensation inside the container.

Are there any regulations or standards regarding the use of silicone as flexible holders in trays or as nubbed mats for the reprocessing, sterilisation and storage of invasive instruments and/or implants?

As far as we know, no standardisation committee has yet dealt with this topic. When using holders made of silicone or other steam-resistant plastics, however, care must be taken to ensure that not too much surface area of the medical devices is covered. When using nubbed mats in sterilisation containers, moisture residue under the liner must be avoided.

Should disposal containers (central sterile reprocessing) be both disinfected and sterilised? What are the reasons for not disinfecting disposal containers manually?

In contrast to supply containers, manual disinfection or disinfecting reprocessing in a washer-dryer is sufficient for disposal containers. A sterilisation of disposal containers is not necessary.