Having a laboratory refrigerator is a great asset to any medical facility, lab or supply room, but there is always the risk that the interior or exterior of the laboratory refrigerator will get dirty. Along with the dirt that is to be expected with daily use for storing specimens and liquids there is also the risk of contamination and bacterial growth within the fridge itself. This type of contamination can have very serious consequences so it is important to have an effective routine cleaning program in place.
Construction: Unlike a standard home refrigerator, lab refrigerators are constructed with easy cleaning and decontamination in mind. The high quality laboratory refrigerators will be made with molded ABS and will have no internal seams. This means that the unit is one complete surface inside, without seams where bacteria or contaminants can become lodged or grow and thrive. Without any seams in the interior it is also very easy to wipe down and clean. Shelves and bins are typically removable for easy cleaning plus the shelves may be wire to prevent liquids that spill from pooling and collecting on the shelf.
The interior of most refrigerators is white, allowing for easy determination if spills or messes have occurred in the interior. Spot cleaning is certainly possible with a simple wipe down with a cloth. Knowing what material was spilled in the interior will also determine if a full cleaning and decontamination with cleanser and disinfectant is necessary.
Cleaning Routines: Cleaning on a specific routine or schedule is important both to remove containers and materials that are outdated or forgotten on the shelves but also to routinely clean and disinfect the entire interior surface. Routine cleaning and disinfecting of the interior and exterior of lab refrigerators then becomes a standard practice and requires very little time when completed on a standard schedule. The specific schedule that is best suited for your lab or medical facilities needs will depend on the use, types of samples and materials and the overall condition of the unit on a regular basis.
Cleaning Products: Cleaning with warm water with a commercial disinfectant product that is approved for use you the facility should provide all the cleaning required. It is important to avoid using any type of scraping device, including steel wool or cleansers that may scratch or damage the surface. Scratches in the interior surface will lead to an increased risk of contamination within the laboratory refrigerators. If necessary a cloth with warm water and cleanser that is left on the material will help to soften and lift gummy material or stains.
Cleaning Shelves And Bins: The removable shelves and bins make cleaning easy. Typically any spills will be in these areas of the laboratory refrigerator and, since they can be removed, they can be soaked in warm water and cleanser or bleach until clean. They can also be disinfected with the specific disinfectant produce used with the lab or medical facility. Drying the shelves and bins before returning them to the fridge will ensure that the interior stays clean and looking new for as long as possible.