With any type of enzyme cleaner in either automated cleaners or in manual baths, the quality of the water will directly impact the performance of the enzymes. When the conditions are ideal for the enzymatic cleaner direct, grease, oils and other surface contaminants will be effectively removed through either cleaning process.
The specific effectiveness of the enzymatic cleaner can be altered by the water pH as well as the water hardness. Other factors that can cause further loss of effectiveness include the temperature, microbial counts, ionic contaminants and the presence of elevated levels of endotoxins.
A simple way to monitor and accommodate for these factors is to use water test strips on a regular basis. These are low-cost, highly effective options that can monitor water hardness in different ranges as well as the pH levels of the water. These simple tests provide a clear picture as to the water quality as well as the efficiency of the water for medical device reprocessing.
To test for water hardness, it is first important to determine the range of calcium carbonate. The low range water test strips are ideal for water with an amount of calcium carbonate or CaCO3 at 0 to 120 ppm while the high range can test for levels of up to 425 ppm.
The test is very simple and takes about 15 seconds. A drop of water is added to the indicator pad side of the test strip. The color change on the indicator pad after 15 seconds will provide a semi-quantitative reading that will match color blocks on the label.
The two options for pH testing will differentiate hardness designations and different colors for easy identification. Typically the low range test strips are used for water after it has been processed through the water softening system.
While commonly used in medical facilities, these types of strips are also used in food and beverage manufacturing where variations in the hardness of water can impact the final taste and quality of the items.
Operating in the same way, the pH test strips are easy to read and are designed to be user-friendly. The strips will indicate the pH reading between 0 and 14 to measure the acidity of an aqueous solution.
These tests can be completed in just a second. They provide semi-quantitative results that can be easily distinguished by comparing the indicator pads on the test strip to the reference color blocks provided on the bottle label.