Second OpinionsHow do you manage cleaning and scrub sup...

How do you manage cleaning and scrub supplies?

A reader asks: "A recent article stated that a surgical center was fined because of the use of outdated or undated medications, surgical needles and cleaning and scrub solutions. The first two we are aware of, but should we be dating prep solutions and cleaning solutions? How long are they good for?"

Infection control consultant Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, answers: "Yes they should definitely be dating all opened bottles of prep and cleaning solutions and in terms of how long a shelf life when opened, they need to check with the manufacturers on that one.... Labeling with a date is a definite given my experience with the consultations I'm doing at the centers. Don't give the surveyors the opportunity to give a deficiency where one can help it."

What are your best strategies for keeping track of when cleaning and scrub solutions are opened and when they should be discarded?

Started by: Irene Tsikitas (Other) at June 10, 2011 (10:05 am)

Comments and Responses


I have confusion in my new work place on when to discard the betadine 10% solution. Shall we keep it for 1 month or shall we follow the manufacturer's expiry date? My previous hospital changed from 500ml to 60ml betadine so we discard them per patient. Any advice? Thank you.

J. Sande (OR Manager/Supervisor) at September 3, 2016 (5:49 am)

The consultant is correct in that preps and cleaning solutions should be discarded as indicated by the manufacturer, but let's not confuse parenteral products with topicals. USP 797 specifically states "Multiple-Dose Container (see General Notices and Requirements and Containers for Injections under Injections 1)""A multiple-dose container is a multiple-unit container for articles or preparations intended for parenteral administration only and usually contains antimicrobial preservatives. The beyond-use date for an opened or entered (e.g., needle-punctured) multiple-dose container with antimicrobial preservatives is 28 days (see Antimicrobial Effectiveness Testing 51), unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.

Reference: USP 797 lines 164 "" 169.

Do not fall into the trap of creating a policy that places all containers under the "28 day rule". If you do, you will find your center being cited for not discarding an open bottle of tylenol after 28 days. I've seen it happen and to correct the nonsense is a nightmare.

Larry Smeltzer (OR Manager/Supervisor) at June 13, 2011 (2:39 pm)

In NJ we have a letter from the state that states the pint bottles of peroxide, hibiclens and alcohol do not have to be dated and the expiration date used is the one on the bottle.
In addition, I phoned the Joint Commission and they stated it was hospital policy.
Marie Kassai

Marie Kassai (Other) at June 12, 2011 (7:20 pm)

Well, why would there be so much inventory that an outdate situation exists anyway? Stock should be rotated, with new items placed at the back. It isn't that difficult to manage in an ASC. Larger hospitals are a different story.

N. W. (OR Manager/Supervisor) at June 11, 2011 (12:21 pm)

TJC also requires that all opened solutions be dated with a 30 day expitation date.

Corinne Lyons (Director, Surgical Services/Director of Nursing) at June 10, 2011 (5:59 pm)

Betadine manufacturer does not recommend an expiration date for solution once it is opened. Use expiration date on bottle.

D. Gibbs (OR Manager/Supervisor) at June 10, 2011 (1:30 pm)

To alleviate the problem of outdate we went to single patient use. Cost is slightly higher then multi patient use but eliminates the out date situation.

Diane O'Donnell (Administrator/Director/Manager/Owner/Exec. Officer) at June 10, 2011 (12:44 pm)

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