Standard Active Last Updated: Jan 18, 2024 Track Document
ASTM D8179-18(2024)

Standard Guide for Characterizing Detergents for the Cleaning of Clinically-used Medical Devices

Standard Guide for Characterizing Detergents for the Cleaning of Clinically-used Medical Devices D8179-18R24 ASTM|D8179-18R24|en-US Standard Guide for Characterizing Detergents for the Cleaning of Clinically-used Medical Devices Standard new BOS Vol. 15.04 Committee D12
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Significance and Use

5.1 A critical step in preparing a medical device for safe use on the next patient is effective cleaning. Typically cleaning a medical device includes precleaning at the point-of-use, manual and automated methods for removing soil that accumulate during clinical use. The cleaning solution(s) used are almost always water for rinsing and water with a detergent during washing. AAMI TIR34 (also EN 285) provides guidance about the quality of water to be used during reprocessing. This guidance references various test methods to ensure that water meets the recommended quality.

5.2 When it comes to detergents very little guidance can be found in AAMI, ISO, ASTM, and FDA documents. Further, there are very few consensus methods for evaluating the detergents intended to clean medical devices. The result is that very little detail about detergents, for comparison purposes, is known. As a result, device manufacturers, when authoring their instructions for use (IFU) describe in very generic terms the kind of detergent that can be used to clean their device. Similarly, regulators, also have very little to rely upon for clearing reprocessing instructions. Finally, the healthcare facility, that is ultimately responsible for getting the device clean, has very little detail to assure that one brand of detergent is roughly equivalent to the one used by the medical device manufacturer during validation testing.

5.3 While consensus standard test methods do not exist for detergents intended to clean medical devices, there are dozens of such test methods when it comes to detergents intended to clean dishes, laundry, floors, countertops, and so forth. Many of these methods are under the domain of ASTM D12: Soaps and other Cleaning Agents Including Detergents. While differences certainly do exist, essentially the detergents used for the other purposes are roughly formulated in the same way. Using existing test methods can drive detergent formulation development or determine the need for new test methods for medical device cleaning, where or if needed.


1.1 Detergents play a critical role in the cleaning of clinically-used medical devices, but there are few consensus methods for describing the key characteristics of these detergents. This guide identifies consensus standards, ASTM and others, used to characterize detergents in other applications, which can also be used to characterize detergents used to clean clinically-used medical devices.

1.2 In identifying these test methods, manufacturers of detergents can reference this guide to characterize their detergents.

1.3 By identifying applicable test methods, gaps may be identified where development of new standardized test methods need to be developed to characterize detergents intended to clean medical devices.

1.4 By identifying applicable test methods that are used and results reported by detergent manufacturers, test results can be shared and may lead in the future to development of performance criteria for the key characteristics of detergent.

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

1.6 Exclusions: 

1.6.1 This guide is not intended for detergents formulated to remove residues as a result of the manufacturing process.

1.6.2 This guide does not provide information related to disinfection or disinfecting agents that might be part of a detergent formulation.

1.7 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.

1.8 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.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.04
Developed by Subcommittee: D12.15
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.1520/D8179-18R24
ICS Code: 11.080.20