ASTM F3208 - 18

    Standard Guide for Selecting Test Soils for Validation of Cleaning Methods for Reusable Medical Devices

    Active Standard ASTM F3208 | Developed by Subcommittee: F04.15

    Book of Standards Volume: 13.02


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 This guide provides information on how to select the test soil(s) that best simulates clinical use for devices. The test soil(s) selected for the validation should be clinically relevant and simulate what the device/component will come into contact with during the clinical procedure.

    5.2 This guide will help standardize the test soils used by medical device manufacturers when validating the cleaning procedures of reusable medical devices and reprocessing equipment

    5.3 For devices that come into contact with blood, the simulated test soils are blood-based soils, such as those described under 7.1.1-7.1.2.

    5.4 For devices that come into contact with mucus, the simulated test soils are those described under 7.1.3.

    5.5 For devices that come in contact with soils of a source other than the patient (e.g., bone cement), the simulated test soils should be similar to those described in 7.2. These can be used alone or in combination with 7.1.

    5.6 A combination of test soils may be used (e.g., blood with mucus) to simulate clinical soiling. For example, flexible endoscopes may come in contact with a different combination of sources of soiling (e.g., gastrointestinal (GI) tract, vasculature for biopsies) during clinical use.

    5.7 Any simulated test soil(s) or formulations can be used for simulated use testing but shall be scientifically justified by the medical device manufacturer.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide describes methods for selecting test soils for cleaning validations based upon the characteristics of the soil, the physical characteristics of the device, and the clinical use of the device.

    1.2 This guide describes the preparation and use of some test soils for the validation of cleaning instructions for reusable medical devices.

    1.3 Reusable medical devices such as endoscopes, arthroscopic shavers, surgical instruments, and suction tubes are exposed to biological soils during clinical use. Preparation of these devices for reuse requires cleaning and disinfection and/or sterilization as applicable. Adequate cleaning is the first step in a process intended to prevent contaminant transfer to the next patient and medical practitioner. The soils, if inadequately removed, can interfere with disinfection and sterilization processes, as well as performance of the device. Acceptance criteria are based either on a visual assessment or quantitatively specified marker(s) endpoint(s) of the soil or both (ISO/TS 15883-5, Section 1). Endpoints after cleaning should be based upon possible interference with disinfection/sterilization, risk to the patient or health care worker from the contaminant during further handling, and endpoints for cleaning established in the scientific literature.

    1.4 The test soils are designed to simulate the contaminants that medical devices are likely to come in contact with during clinical use. The test soils discussed in this guide are a mixture of constituents that simulate what is commonly found in human secretions, blood, tissue, and bone fragments/shavings as well as non-patient derived soil (e.g., bone cement, lubricants, and dyes) during clinical procedures. The test soils also simulate the physical parameters (e.g., viscosity, adhesion) of clinical material to which the medical devices will be exposed.

    1.5 Exclusion: 

    1.5.1 This guide does not include methods to validate cleaning processes to remove residues from manufacturing

    1.5.2 This guide does not describe the soil/inoculum used for validation of disinfection or sterilization instructions. Disinfection or sterilization validation requires separate testing that is independent of cleaning validation studies.

    1.5.3 Test soils described are not intended for use by health care facilities to verify the effectiveness of their cleaning process.

    1.5.4 The test soil recipes are not intended to encompass every biological residue with which a medical device is likely to come into contact.

    1.6 Test soil formulations not described in this guide may be clinically relevant and may be more appropriate for simulated-use testing depending upon the clinical use of the medical device. The burden is upon the medical device manufacturer to determine and justify scientifically the selection of test soil(s).

    1.7 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.9 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D445 Test Method for Kinematic Viscosity of Transparent and Opaque Liquids (and Calculation of Dynamic Viscosity)

    D1193 Specification for Reagent Water

    D3330/D3330M Test Method for Peel Adhesion of Pressure-Sensitive Tape

    D3359 Test Methods for Rating Adhesion by Tape Test

    D4212 Test Method for Viscosity by Dip-Type Viscosity Cups

    D4287 Test Method for High-Shear Viscosity Using a Cone/Plate Viscometer

    D7042 Test Method for Dynamic Viscosity and Density of Liquids by Stabinger Viscometer (and the Calculation of Kinematic Viscosity)

    D7225 Guide for Blood Cleaning Efficiency of Detergents and Washer-Disinfectors

    D7867 Test Methods for Measurement of the Rotational Viscosity of Paints, Inks and Related Liquid Materials as a Function of Temperature

    F2809 Terminology Relating to Medical and Surgical Materials and Devices

    ISO Standard

    ISO/TS 15883-5 Washer-disinfectorsPart 5: Test soils and methods for demonstrating cleaning efficacy

    AAMI Standards

    Designing, testing, and labeling reusable medical devices for reprocessing in health care facilities: A guide for medical device manufacturers


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 11.040.01 (Medical equipment in general); 11.080.01 (Sterilization and disinfection in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/F3208-18

    Citation Format

    ASTM F3208-18, Standard Guide for Selecting Test Soils for Validation of Cleaning Methods for Reusable Medical Devices, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, www.astm.org

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