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Best method for sterilizing plastics


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34 replies to this topic

#1 koan616

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 07:38 AM

I run a small business employing just 20 operatives. Each person wears a pair of reusable ear plug which is housed in a small soft plastic box. We throw the ear plugs and box out at the end of each day. This seems a waste of a plastic box to me and my question is, how can I safely sterilise the box using cold water. Cross contamination is a worry to me as the boxes would have no identifying marks to re associate the box to the original user. What would the best method be? Many thanks in advance for taking the time to help me. Koan

#2 phage434

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:27 AM

Rinsing in dilute bleach (10%) for 30 minutes would be very effective.



#3 hobglobin

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:33 AM

Depending on what the plastic can stand hydrogen peroxide or a hypochlorite (aka the bleach) or 70% ethanol where you can use cheap denatured alcohol.


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#4 koan616

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:53 AM

Thank you for taking the time to reply. One further question if I may. How long would a solution of ethanol or bleach remain effective. When would be best to replace? Many thanks again

#5 bob1

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 01:37 PM

Ethanol will last as long as you keep it (obviously throw out the ethanol that you have used to sterilize the plastic), it isn't effective against many viruses, but works well for bacteria and yeasts.

 

Bleach will last a few days, it depends on the concentration and how much exposure to air it has.



#6 pito

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 01:51 AM

I run a small business employing just 20 operatives. Each person wears a pair of reusable ear plug which is housed in a small soft plastic box. We throw the ear plugs and box out at the end of each day. This seems a waste of a plastic box to me and my question is, how can I safely sterilise the box using cold water. Cross contamination is a worry to me as the boxes would have no identifying marks to re associate the box to the original user. What would the best method be? Many thanks in advance for taking the time to help me. Koan

Why use ear plugs that you trow away each time?

Same with the boxes..

 

 

It would be cheaper (in the long run) to use (custom made) ear plugs that you can use for years....

 

Ever concidered this?

 

About the boxes itself: yeah can clean them indeed... and reuse them.


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#7 lyok

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 01:54 AM

Ethanol will last as long as you keep it (obviously throw out the ethanol that you have used to sterilize the plastic), it isn't effective against many viruses, but works well for bacteria and yeasts.

 

Bleach will last a few days, it depends on the concentration and how much exposure to air it has.

Could you explain the exposure to the air? 

 

What do you mean? You mean that the Cl ions will be released from the water (the bleach) and evaporate?

But for this to happen they have to be "released" from the bleach first, and set free in the water solution.. this does not happen that easly or does it? Does the contact with the air improve this perhaps?



#8 El Crazy Xabi

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 05:15 PM

Bleach decomposes into sodium chlorate and/or sodium chloride. Ammount of each byproduct is dependent on bleach quality, presence of metals,...

 

http://www.solvayche...07-W-EN_WW_.pdf

 

Check chemical compatibility tables to know if you can really use a given chemical, and be sure to rinse appropiately.



#9 Phil Geis

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:04 AM

None of these will "sterilize".  As said above, consider the effect on the material due to treatment and the remaining material inserted into the ear may well irritate some folks. 

I'm with Pito - these are disposable and the labor cost savings versus someone(s) treating each will prob be minimal.  There are cheaper PPE for ear protection than individually boxed units (not cotton but standard units).

Try this - http://www.grainger....log/N-b2a?xi=xi


Edited by Phil Geis, 26 August 2013 - 11:12 AM.


#10 koan616

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:34 AM

Thanks Phil, We are restricted by the nature of the business to use ear plugs for one day. We must keep them in a box if leaving the production area. We are not thinking of recycling the plug itself, just the box therefore the chance of irritation is small. Surely ethanol, as previously mentioned in an earlier reply, would sterilise the box. With the kind help from all who replied I now have a plan in place using 70% ethanol which will be delivered by our chemical supplier and the residue uplifted and disposed by them also. We will obviously monitor for any reaction. Thanks again everyone for your inputs

#11 pito

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:51 AM

Thanks Phil, We are restricted by the nature of the business to use ear plugs for one day. We must keep them in a box if leaving the production area. We are not thinking of recycling the plug itself, just the box therefore the chance of irritation is small. Surely ethanol, as previously mentioned in an earlier reply, would sterilise the box. With the kind help from all who replied I now have a plan in place using 70% ethanol which will be delivered by our chemical supplier and the residue uplifted and disposed by them also. We will obviously monitor for any reaction. Thanks again everyone for your inputs

I wonder: how come you cant re-use the plugs?


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#12 Phil Geis

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 05:05 AM

Ethanol does not and will not sterilize. Does the box house plugs during the day when folks leave manufacturing area for lunch, breaks, etc.?  I do hope folks are using their same ear plugs that do not contact those of other workers in this container.  If not, this is clearly an unsanitary practice.

Pito, in use, it's cheaper to use disposable plugs.  They're fairly easily lost or misplaced and, as the 1st concern is worker safety rather than costs, you want to have a surplus supply readily at hand.  Same with safety glasses.



#13 pito

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 05:25 AM

Ethanol does not and will not sterilize. Does the box house plugs during the day when folks leave manufacturing area for lunch, breaks, etc.?  I do hope folks are using their same ear plugs that do not contact those of other workers in this container.  If not, this is clearly an unsanitary practice.

Pito, in use, it's cheaper to use disposable plugs.  They're fairly easily lost or misplaced and, as the 1st concern is worker safety rather than costs, you want to have a surplus supply readily at hand.  Same with safety glasses.

I dont know...

 

If you have personal made earplugs (you have 2-3 in the end, not just 1 pair) you can re-use them many many times.. I think that in the long run it will be cheaper...

And of course there is a need of back up, trow away plugs anyway.

 

 

+ most of the time they are better, nicer to wear.

 

When it comes to losing them: most of them have a wire so they hang around your neck or even attached to your helmets, so its hard to lose them.

ANd in the end: people should take care of their material...


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#14 Phil Geis

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 05:37 AM

thanks Pito.  Again - it is false economy.  I think you'd understand if you'd worked extensively in manufacturing environments (no insult, just don't think your comment displays that experience).



#15 pito

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 05:45 AM

thanks Pito.  Again - it is false economy.  I think you'd understand if you'd worked extensively in manufacturing environments (no insult, just don't think your comment displays that experience).

True.

 

However, my dad has a company where they now use re-usable earplugs and the first results do show its cheaper in the long run. However: you are right, the biggest problem is that some of the workers just lose the plugs pretty fast.

 

So you think that in the long run too many people will lose their plugs too often? Or any other reasons why trow away plugs are cheaper?


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