How to Clean a Stethoscope the Proper Way
Many medical professionals don’t realize how important it is to clean your stethoscope regularly and why they need to do so.
Bacteria can build up around the diaphragm which you would not want to touch the patient’s skin.
It’s necessary to know exactly how to clean a stethoscope.
It is definitely a good habit to develop for the safety of both you and your patients.
To get started cleaning your stethoscope, you should grab the following materials…
- Isopropyl rubbing alcohol
- Paper towels
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
Cleaning Your Stethoscope Ear Pieces
Ear pieces can often be easy to clean as most ear tips are removable and can come off to clean.
It is best to clean the ear pieces with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, as it will really disinfect the pieces.
And a cotton swab can get in to some hard to reach crevices that might not be accessible with a different cleaning tool.
To clean the headset area right underneath the ear pieces, take some of your cotton balls and soak them in rubbing alcohol.
Then place the head set pieces between the alcohol soaked cotton ball and swipe up.
You can dry the headset with some of your paper towels, if the headset is still wet and you feel it is necessary.
How to Clean Stethoscope Tubing
So how to clean stethoscope tubing you ask?
The best tools to clean the tube of your stethoscope is soap and water.
You can use a rag or a paper towel and dip it in some soapy water and then wipe down the stethoscope tube.
Afterwards, dry it off with a separate rag or paper towel.
Paper towels may be a preferable tool unless you remember to wash your rag regularly, as well.
It is generally not recommended to use any stronger cleaning supplies.
Especially ones with an alcohol base, as the tube might become sticky.
Cleaning your Stethoscope Diaphragm and Bell
These are the most important pieces of the stethoscope to clean as they are the ones that are placed on all of the patients and can pick up the most bacteria.
It is important to clean these regularly, even if you do not have time to clean the tube, headset, and ear pieces as often.
Use one of the cotton balls and soak them again in rubbing alcohol and wipe the entire diaphragm and bell.
It is also possible to use a rubbing alcohol prep pad if you have access to those, instead.
You should keep the diaphragm and bell area wet for several seconds so the alcohol really gets a chance to disinfect the area, before wiping it off and drying it.
Each part of the the stethoscope is made of different materials, so it is necessary to use different cleaning materials for each area.
Although most pieces can be cleaned with alcohol pads, remember to use soap and water for the tube to prevent stickiness.
Also, do not drop the whole stethoscope in soap and water or alcohol because this would not be nearly as effective and can cause water to get caught in areas or damage some parts of the stethoscope.
If you haven’t been cleaning your stethoscope properly before, now is the time to start.
Want to know the best part?
You just learned how to take care of stethoscope.
It should only take a few minutes out of your busy day and can improve the health and safety of you and your patients!
Tags: how to clean a stethoscope, how to clean stethoscope tubing, how to take care of stethoscope
Categorised in: Stethoscope Guides