STETHOSCOPE Tips

How to clean a stethoscope

A 3-Step guide to cleaning your stethoscope, and what NOT to do.

A stethoscope is one of the first medical instruments you will purchase at the beginning of your journey in healthcare. Stethoscopes have a long shelf life if they are properly cared for, and cleaned. Numerous studies “have shown that stethoscopes may be contaminated by various microorganisms, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa”. Stethoscopes can harbor bacteria, be highly contaminated, and therefore need to be cleaned regularly.

What should you use to clean a stethoscope?

To clean your stethoscope you will need a bowl of warm soapy water, cotton balls or swabs and 70% isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) wipes or solution, and paper towels or a clean cloth.

3-Step Guide to Cleaning your Stethoscope

 Here are four simple steps to get longevity out of your stethoscope.

1.  The first step is to clean the tubing of your stethoscope. A lot of people clean the stethoscope diaphragm and forget to clean the tubing. You do not need a stethoscope cleaner to clean the tubing of your stethoscope.

To clean the tubing, dip a paper towel or clean cloth into the warm soapy water just until damp. It is important that there is not a lot of excess water to avoid any water dripping and making contact with the metal parts of the stethoscope, including the chestpiece and headset. Wipe the tubing only with the damp cloth to clean. Take another paper towel or clean cloth to wipe the tubing dry. It is important not to leave any residual water. We do not recommend using 70% isopropyl on the tubing often, as it can make the tubing sticky over time.

2.  To clean the chestpiece, you can either use the 70% alcohol wipes or the cotton balls with 70% isopropyl solution. You want to wipe the chestpiece until it is visibly wet for at least ten seconds. To get into the harder to reach areas of your chestpiece you may want to use a cotton swab and 70% isopropyl solution. If necessary use a paper towel or clean cloth to dry it off, since liquid entering the chestpiece may affect the sound quality and longevity of the stethoscope.

3.  To clean the headset and eartips, use 70% isopropyl alcohol, making sure liquid does not enter inside the eartips or binaural of the headset. MDF Instruments offers Free-Parts-For-Life, so you can always order more stethoscope eartips for free at www.mdfinstruments.com.

What NOT to do

There are a few things you should avoid if you don’t want to damage your stethoscope.

1. Do not use hand sanitizer or bleach wipes to clean your diaphragm or tubing as it can be abrasive and have added chemicals that may damage your stethoscope.

2.  Remember that stethoscopes aren’t waterproof and liquid entering the stethoscope may affect sound quality and longevity of your stethoscope. Please do not immerse or soak them in water or any liquid as this will surely damage your stethoscope.
3. Do not sterilize your stethoscope because most sterilization techniques are harsh and abrasive and will result in the damage of your stethoscope.

4. It is not recommended to leave your stethoscope out in a hot car or directly in the sun for long periods of time as this can cause the tubing to stiffen and harden.

It’s important to have reliable equipment and a good stethoscope as a nurse (RN), doctor (MD), veterinarian, or other medical professional. MDF Instruments sells stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers, and reflex hammers that all come with a Lifetime Warranty, and Free-Parts-For-Life program. MDF Instruments stethoscopes make great gifts for your colleagues, whether they are nurses, doctors, PA’s, RT’s, or other healthcare professionals.

For any help or questions regarding your MDF Instruments stethoscope, please contact customer service at 818.357.5647.

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