How to properly clean your stethoscope - page 2

Stethoscopes should be properly cleaned. How do you clean your stethoscope? Share your tips with the community. Click Like if you enjoyed it. Please share this with friends and post your... Read More

  1. by   TrissRN726
    Quote from allthesmallthings
    Do you pay for those wipes personally, or does your hospital supply them? My hospital has "purple wipes" (I'm sure there's a name for them, but we just call them that because of the color of the lid on the cannister).
    I work in a doctors office they supply them there. But when I was doing my clinical rotations I would use the same purple wipes you are talking about lol.
  2. by   wannabecnl
    I work in the PACU, so I wipe down my stethoscope with a couple of alcohol wipes after each patient. A colleague told me I should also put a cloth cover over the rubber tubing so it won't break down from keeping it around my neck all the time (I guess the acid in sweat can make the rubber harden and crack). Hoping I'm avoiding that by keeping it clean!

    On the subject of COWs, we called them COWs in all my clinicals up until OB. Yeah, that didn't fly.
  3. by   theantichick
    I can hardly hear anything on the disposable steths they put in our patient rooms. So I carry mine, and wipe it down with the cavi wipes after each patient, or the bleach wipes if my pt has c diff. I'm probably speeding up the degradation of the tubing, and try to remember to rinse that gunk off with soap & water occasionally, but I'm prepared to buy a new steth every couple of years if I need to... I'm a little OCD about germs and don't want to take anything to my next patient, or home to my kiddo and pets (worked with a nurse who took c diff home to her dogs... ew)

    We don't have COWs where I'm at, we have computers in each room, so I don't usually worry about wiping it down, but most of us wipe the nursing station computers down at the beginning of each shift - and it's mainly because the docs use them and they're not the best at hand hygiene. (ew.)
  4. by   captcdm501
    (Medical student here, sorry to infiltrate your ranks) The hospital systems I have gone to would have both bleach and peroxide based cleaners available. I usually opt for the peroxide cleaners because I am terrified I will splash stuff on my clothes. What I will usually do with my stethoscope is that I will wipe a small dab of gel on the diaphragm of my scope just as I am also cleaning my hands.
  5. by   soutthpaw
    Quote from allthesmallthings
    Hee hee. A wow is a cow, w/ a politically correct name. Anyway: workstation on wheels = wow; computer on wheels = cow. (Often spelled in all caps.) One of those computers w/ a little work/desk area, rolled around on wheels. Probably not all facilities have them. They're a newer thing, probably last 5-10 years. You can google image it, probably.

    Used to be called COW's, until some nurse called out, "The COW is in the room already," or something like that, and some overweight patient heard it, thought that the nurse was talking about HER (not about the computer), got offended, and raised heck. Now, we have to call them WOW's.

    My non-nurse roommate thought that was hysterical.
    I thought they were called COWS because ours are white with black monitors. Now I know what it stands for, thanks
  6. by   NunNurseCat
    Oh I like this topic!

    I am very picky about my stethoscope and infection control in general. I've been called a germaphobe, but I don't care. It's not the germs I fear, but rather being a well-meaning vector of vigorous pathogens.

    My usual technique is a good circular wiping of the diaphragm using a prep pad, and I do that in front of the patient even if they are unconscious. I get it good and wet then wave it a bit to evaporate some of it...then if it's going on the skin I say this might be a little bit cold due to the alcohol. Then, after use, I wipe down the head again. Some patients and family might even say thank you.

    Generally yeah, it's not practical to wipe top to bottom with a bleach wipe every time, but I do wipe it down completely a few times per shift. I've also used a glove over the head as disposable cover if for some reason a disposable stethoscope isn't available in isolation, or if I really need a better listen than the disposable provides (then after I absolutely wipe down my entire stethoscope with bleach).

    I don't put my stethoscope around my neck. In my opinion it's in the way there, plus it seems intuitively unhygenic. Rather my steth lives in my coat pocket, or if I am wearing pockety scrubs I'll stick it in a deep pocket.

    Not to digress too much, but I also take a few seconds here and there to wipe down the pyxis, drug prep area, and the station keyboards and mice. Things that go a short period of time between people touching them. Just a personal preference to do that when I can, it only seems prudent. My view is that every person in the hospital should take ten seconds each shift and wipe down an area. With our little efforts combined the entire place would be so much cleaner.

    Also captcdm, it's not infiltration and am glad to see ya check out as many things as possible. Why not?
  7. by   KIMMIEKAY11868
    Interesting. My stethoscope gets hairspray residue on the tubing and then my hair gets tangled in it. Any ideas?
  8. by   jennylee321
    "Now I am going to clean my hands" hehe

    I always remember my clinical lab instructor saying this when she did demonstrations.