How to properly clean your stethoscope

  1. 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 comments below! Want more nursing cartoons?
    •  
  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   allthesmallthings
    I just use the alcohol swabs. Sometimes I dump on a glug of alcohol gel from the dispensers that we use for hand hygiene. Plus, I just use disposable stethescopes (after multiple stethescopes that I'd bought for myself disappeared), so every few weeks or months, I move onto a new stethescope. Makes me feel better that not too many germs can be setting up camp.

    The other day, a Pt actually laughed at my "OCD" ("I saw you wiping down your stethescope w/ those little swabs, now you're doing it w/ your business phone!") Yeah, dude, and I wash my hands, too. (This guy was 46 years old and had actually never spent time in a hospital in his life, other than being born, I guess, so maybe he really was ignorant of hospital germs.)
  4. by   TrissRN726
    I use the Clorox Disinfectant Wipes, they work wonders!
  5. by   amygarside
    the cartoon is so funny,, how can anyone not notice that face?haha
  6. by   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).
  7. by   Hygiene Queen
    I had a pt who "worked in a hospital" and she went on and on how glad she was to see me wipe down my COW and stethoscope. She was rather obnoxious about it, but I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "We all do, whether you see it or not."
    "Oh, well, I work in a hospital, so I know all about these things!", she says.
    Whatever.
    Later, I went to give her meds. She had several that needed to be cut, so I put on gloves because I am no good at getting pills out of the cutter without touching them. I wash/gel between pt's but I figure no one wants me to touch what they are going to put in their mouths with their bare hands... so I use gloves.
    She then goes on and on about how she observes I am the only nurse who does it "right" because... she works in a hospital, you know, and "nobody washes their hands". According to her, the gloves were "sterile".
    Seriously?
    If she really worked in a hospital, then she would know we all wash/gel our hands until they're darn near raw... whether the pt sees it or not!
    I didn't mention that I have to touch the gloves with my suspect hands in the first place. I didn't bother to tell her my gloves aren't sterile, either.
    Honestly, it's insulting... like nurses are filthy and like we have no problem having cootie hands and nasty equipment... not!!
    If there are any non-nurses out there, know we wash our hands and clean our equipment, okay?
    I don't want your cooties on my hands or on my steth around my neck.
    Sorry, I got a bit off subject, but it was bothering me.

    On topic, I use Sani-wipes!
  8. by   gatornurse2
    I use cavi wipes!!
  9. by   allthesmallthings
    Rather embarrassing to say, Hygiene QUeen, particularly to someone w/ your screen name and your cheery signature, but I don't think I've seen anyone at my hospital wash their stethoscope...and washing their cow/wow? Nope...have never seen it at my place. Frankly, I myself just quickly slap some alcohol gel over it when I remember. But I'll try to be better from now on. A good scrub down w/ a sani-wipe makes the world go round, and God knows those wow/cow's are probably crawling.

    At one of our staff meetings, they recently told us that our unit, usually sterling in press-gainey compared to our medical floor rival, scored poorly on "nurses washing hands." One of the reasons may be that the alcohol gel dispensers are kind of out of view of the Pts, so although we (maybe!) are gel-ing in, gel-ing out, the Pts might not see it over in their beds, and if they are of the old-school mentality that "washing hands" means physically washing them w/ soap and water, then, yeah, they have no idea that we're performing hand hygiene. We're supposed to inform Pts that we're performing hand hygiene, even if they don't see it. I've started saying, when I come over and touch them to do my physical assessment, "Sorry that my hands/stethoscope are/is cold - I just disinfected them." (Kills 2 birds w/ one stone, because Pts are always saying my hands are icy!)

    I also don't really bother w/ gloves when cutting up pills. If my hands are clean (and they are - I'm the hand hygiene queen), and my pill cutter is clean (I wipe it down), and the pills are clean, then I see no mortal sin in touching the pill w/ my clean fingers, but I only touch the pill anyway if it doesn't slip right out of the pill cutter, which is a minority of the time.

    (Really, since most of the immune system is in the digestive tract anyway, I don't think it's a big deal. Stomach just chomps up most of those germs while bathing them in a hydrochloric acid pool pH of 2 or 3.)
  10. by   aachavez
    forgive me, I'm still a student.. but what is wow/cow?
  11. by   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.
  12. by   Hygiene Queen
    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 refuse to call my COW a WOW...
    In fact, I've named my COW "Bessie".
    It's political correctness gone to far and it drives me wild!!!
  13. by   gatoraims RN
    Quote from Hygiene Queen
    I refuse to call my COW a WOW...
    In fact, I've named my COW "Bessie".
    It's political correctness gone to far and it drives me wild!!!
    totally agree.


    I wipe my COW down with cavicide, I wipe my stethoscope with alcohol wipes or cavicide. I also keep it in my pocket not around my neck because it grosses me out thinking about it.
  14. by   dang08
    I'm going to be a student soon.

    I've never been in a hospital to clinic long enough to see anyone clean their stethoscope. I just remember they use then it goes back on their neck. I do notice everyone washes their hands.

    THANKS NURSES =] Oh, I think Clorax Disinfectant is something I would use. Bleach kills!

close