What is the Right Way to Clean Barcode Equipment
As the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 continues, the importance of maintaining a clean environment cannot be stressed enough. Although sanitizer keeps your hands germ-free, it is just as important to keep your equipment clean as well in order to stop the spread. Additionally, cleaning your equipment can give it a longer life and keep it working properly. For every device there is a right and a wrong way to clean it, so we’re here to help.
When attending to your device, it is important to note the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the removal of dust, dirt, or other physical material that may cover a screen or taint cosmetics. Disinfecting is the process of removing viruses, bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms, and it must be done after cleaning the device of physical particles. In this article we will go over different types of devices and some general rules of thumb for cleaning them. If you possess a Zebra device and wish to get a more in-depth guide, check out this tool on their website.
Certain chemicals can corrode metal or plastic and cause permanent damage to your printer, so it is important to note which chemicals properly clean and disinfect your device without doing it any harm. Chemicals to clean and/or disinfect your printer include:
- Alcohol – Isopropyl and Ethyl (≤80%)
- Ammonium – Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
- Bleach – Sodium Hypochlorite
- Hydrogen Peroxide – Accelerated or Improved
- Phosphoric Acid
- Sodium Troclosene – Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate
It is recommended that you use pre-saturated wipes to avoid an over-abundance of a given disinfecting chemical. Stay away from pouring or spraying cleaning agents directly on the printer, and always wear the proper protection when using a disinfecting chemical. Products to clean and/or disinfect your printer include:
- Alcohol Prep Pads (PDI)
- CaviWipes™ (Metrex) – approval does not extend to CaviWipes1
- Super Sani-Cloth® (PDI)
- Sani-Cloth® Plus (PDI)
- Viraguard® Towelettes (Veridien)
- Windex® Blue (S.C. Johnson)
- Clinical Surface Wipes (Clorox® Healthcare)
- Oxivir® TB Wipes (Diversey)
- Virox® AHP 5 RTU Wipes (Diversey)
- MadaCide-FDW-Plus (Mada Medical)
- Sani-Cloth® HB (PDI)
- Super Sani-Cloth® (PDI)
- Formula 409® Glass and Surface Cleaner (Clorox)
- CaviWipes™ Bleach (Metrex)
- Dispatch® Disinfectant Towels (Clorox)
- Sani-Cloth® Bleach Wipes (PDI)
Because mobile devices can pass between so many hands and be taken to different areas of a workspace, it becomes essential to keep them clean, especially for devices used in healthcare. Furthermore, the dirt and grime on an unclean device can cause abrasion and damage that could interfere with the visibility of the device’s screen. With these devices the difference between cleaning and disinfecting is critical, and they should be done in two different steps. Particular cleaning agents aren’t as critical for mobile devices, but here are a few important practices:
- Clean Lightly, But Often – this prevents abrasion and buildup of damaging particles
- Use a Clean, Lint-Free Cloth – lint is considered a contaminant and can damage the device when cleaning
- Remove Loose Contaminants First – cleaner should be used to remove stuck-on debris, not debris that can readily come off
- Wipe Off Cleaner as Directed – different cleaning agents have different instructions, so make sure you are using yours properly
Barcode scanners are designed to minimize contact, and, depending on your model, might not be handled at all, but it remains equally important to keep them sanitized and particle-free. Not all devices are the same, but for most the following solutions will properly clean and/or sanitize your barcode scanner (note: for unique settings such as a healthcare lab, please double-check that you are using the appropriate chemicals).
- 70% alcohol isopropyl water solution
- 3% hydrogen peroxide water solution
- 10% bleach water solution
Like printers, it is recommended that you use pre-saturated wipes, otherwise a soft and sterile cloth will properly clean and/or disinfect with the listed solutions. In addition, avoid directly pouring or spraying chemicals on your device. Make sure your device is unplugged, then let it air dry.
To learn more about how to properly clean your device, see the links below.
Zebra device cleaning tool: https://connect.zebra.com/DeviceDisinfection_us
Code Corp CR5000 maintenance instructions found on 18.0: CR5000 Manual
Code Corp CR1100 maintenance instructions found on 16.0: CR1100 Manual