General Discussion - Handling bloodied Instruments


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Osha Manuals Total posts: 19 Joined: 05/27/13 21:46:12

Hi Georgia,

Thank you for reaching out to us.

While OSHA does not prohibit the manual cleaning of dental instruments, it is certainly safer and more efficient to use automated equipment (e.g. ultrasonic cleaner, washer-disinfector, etc.). For matters of sterilization, OSHA defers to CDC guidelines. When performing manual cleaning, the CDC recommends soaking the instruments in a detergent, disinfectant or enzymatic cleaner (as you mentioned) to prevent drying and to make cleaning easier. From an occupational safety perspective, you’ll want to ensure you are using appropriate tools – like long handled brushes and PPE – like heavy-duty, puncture resistant gloves, fluid-resistant gown, etc. However, in general, you will want to prioritize automated cleaning over manual cleaning. Regarding whether or not the hinges of hemostats/scissors should be opened or closed during cleaning, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations – but they’ll likely need to be opened for effective cleaning.


1. OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen standard -

2. CDC Infection Control guidelines -

For future technical support, be sure to take a look at our OSHA (and HIPAA) compliance solutions. Many of the answers to your questions can be found in our OSHA packages and guidance such as this is included free of cost for 4 years.

Hope this helps!

Posted: 04/09/18 22:49:17
Georgia Newman Total posts: 1 Joined: 04/09/18 15:56:55

Do holding and scrubbing bloodied instruments with gloved hand acceptable by OSHA? Last I knew it was not. Should instruments be soaked in hot soapy cavicide water and run for 10 min in the ultrasonic, then bagged and sterilized? Finally, should hinges of the hemostats and scissors be opened or closed during cleaning?

Posted: 04/09/18 15:56:55
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