How to Clean your Stethoscopes – 3M Littmann Guidance

As a 3M Littmann authorised dealer, we want to showcase the best practice for cleaning and maintaining your Stethoscopes. Below you can see details from 3M Littmann on how best to clean your stethoscope and, most importantly what not to do!

It’s become common practice for healthcare professionals to use hand gels and surface disinfection products to disinfect their stethoscopes, however, these can unknowingly damage your stethoscope.

Some of the frequently used disinfectants are known to cause damage to rubber and certain plastics. After an investigation by 3M, it’s been shown that they can cause damage to the diaphragm of 3M™Littmann® Stethoscopes.

In fact the manufacturers of some of the most frequently used hand sanitiser products,  have confirmed that these products are not tested for use on the surfaces of medical devices and should not be used for this purpose.

3M recommends that only 70% alcohol is used for stethoscope disinfection.
    • If your stethoscope needs to be disinfected, wipe it with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution or wipe only.
    • Do not immerse your stethoscope in any liquid, or subject it to any sterilisation process.
    • Keep your stethoscope away from extreme heat, cold, solvents and oils.
    • Tunable diaphragms can be removed from the chestpiece and their surfaces wiped with alcohol or soapy water. Dry all parts thoroughly before reassembly.
    • Ear tips can be removed from the ear tubes for thorough cleaning. For safety, snap ear tips firmly back onto the ribbed ends of the ear tubes.
Please be aware that using products not recommended for use on stethoscopes and which are known to damage the materials used in stethoscope manufacture could invalidate the stethoscope warranty.

For regular Stethoscope Maintenance, it is good practice to thoroughly check your equipment regularly for wear and tear. For further stethoscope maintenance, it's recommended to keep a spare parts kit in stock. Find our Spare Parts Kit here. 
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