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"Slime" in water jars

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by TECHNICIAN, Apr 8, 2013.



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    I am a technician repairing 'spray' and 'vacuum' type podiatry drills. I have noticed on many occasions, a residue in the bottom of the water jars of spray type drills. I can only describe it as 'slime'. It is invisible, with or without water in the jar, and is usually 1 or 2 millimetres thick. I have asked several manufacturers of drills about this, but they say they know nothing about it. It goes on to clog valves and jets which are expensive to replace. I wonder if this slime might cause problems for patients.
    Can anybody tell me what this 'slime' is, and suggest something that will dissolve it?
  2. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    Maybe its a biofilm, there are many products designed to remove biofilm without damaging medical equipment. This link may be useful http://www.clearwater.eu.com/chlorine_dioxide/biofilm.html

    Dave Smith
  3. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    When I read this I thought biofilm - but in the drill? Jeez if thats the case I think the Podiatrist should be told! How would it get in the internal water resovoir?
  4. medisrch

    medisrch Active Member

    I have met this too in the water resevoir of a Podospray.

    I have used a few drops of chlorhexidine which appears to inhibit it. However, bottle sterilsing fluid (Boots) stops it. Will bring back your memories of bottle feeding.

    Hope it helps
  5. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    I have a Hadewe SPR3 spray drill that is supplied with a propriatory disinfectant that is mixed with the water in the reservoir during use and is supposed to stop biofilm, moss, small trees and bullfrogs and other miscellaneous contaminates from building up in the system and makes for a more sanitary spray in skin contact..

  6. Steam Guru

    Steam Guru Active Member

    Yeah. Definitely a biofilm. I used to think it was algae based, but when it grows even inside a stainless steel tank with no light...
    Blocks pumps, filters, tubes. Dreadful stuff.
    In short, you can wash the bottle with chlorine based solutions, but that only seems to kill the surface stuff.
    To get rid of this type of stuff, the only fix I use is a mixture of chlorinne bleach & caustic soda. (Sodium Hypochlorite & Sodium Hydroxide)
    There is a commercial product called "Glitz" bleach we buy in Bunnings Hardware, or mix your own - Super carefully. Have to be very careful of what materials you let it come in contact with , it willl EAT aluminum & the chlorine is VERY bad for some types of stainless steel. ....
    Using deionized water gives it less material to grow with, & boiling the water (allow to cool) also seems to reduce re-formation after you clean it out.

    Hope this helps.
  7. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    But how is the bacteria getting into the resovoir????
  8. Steam Guru

    Steam Guru Active Member

    My Guess, bacterial spore in the water, (demin or distilled water isnt 'sterile') or airborne. Often we see black mildew like growth in the bottom of feedwater bottles if they are used for long enough without cleaning, even though they have had nothing but distilled water in them . RO (Reverse osmosis ) water systems are also great at getting this sort of slime in them . Some companies use diluted hydrogen peroxide to clean & disinfect those, as they are often for drinking water & HP is not so toxic as the other potions. There is also a product used to disinfect brewing equipment that could be used, forget the name,,,
  9. SarahR

    SarahR Active Member

    I worked in research labs and a forensic lab during high school and university.

    Even sterilized buffered water or saline will grow mold or bacterial biofilm over time. Once it has been opened to the air, used outside a laminar flow hood, it is no longer sterile. This wasn't a concern working with samples in the forensic lab, they dated and replaced the water on a schedule to avoid it. It was a huge concern with tissue culture, anything that was open on bench top was no longer suitable for use in tissue culture. Look at it wrong and you've got contamination.

    It's part way in the middle for clinical practice. More risky than samples, less sensitive than tissue culture in most clinical applications, we need to be clean not sterile for most of what we do. Yes there is even bacteria in that 'clean' new bag of cotton balls.

    Spores, bacteria, fungi, are all around us and on us and respond to gravity, falling into open containers.

    Even the so-called sterile saline they put into breast implants is not guaranteed to be completely sterile. It can grow nasties once the plastic cover begins to break down and allow lymph to enter in and nourish those few spores that survived the sterilization process. YUCK. No thanks.

    Now considering all that it is no wonder a biofilm could happen in our office if equipment isn't disinfected regularly.

    Anyone else have some OCD tendencies??? :dizzy:
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013

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