Equipment Cleaning

Infection Prevention & Control

This table includes reprocessing information, but always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for use. For information on cleaning particular equipment such as IT equipment and patient lifts, see Best Practice Recommendations.

Spaulding's Classification Type of Contact Reprocessing Level Required Reprocessing Agents or Methods
(currently available in Canada)
Critical Sterile body tissue or cavity


In Alberta, heat-tolerant critical devices must be steam sterilized


  • spores
  • protozoa with cysts
  • mycobacteria
  • non-enveloped viruses
  • fungi
  • vegetative bacteria
  • enveloped viruses
  • Steam Sterilization
  • Ethylene Oxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide gas plasma
  • Vapourized Hydrogen peroxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide gas
  • Liquid paracetic acid
  • Ozone
Semi-critical Mucous membranes or non-intact skin

High Level disinfection (HLD) at a minimum; devices should be sterilized if possible.

Steam sterilization is preferred for heat tolerant devices.


  • Mycobacteria
  • non-enveloped viruses
  • fungi
  • vegetative bacteria
  • enveloped viruses
  • Glutaraldehyde > 2%
  • Ortho-phthaldehyde 0.55%
  • Accelerated hydrogen peroxide > 7%
  • Peracetic acid
  • Pasteurization
  • Thermal HLD in a washer-disinfector with a validated terminal HLD cycle (some makes and models)
Non-critical Intact skin or no direct patient contact

Intermediate or low-level disinfection

Intermediate level disinfectants inactivate:

  • some non-enveloped viruses
  • possibly TB
  • fungi
  • vegetative bacteria
  • enveloped viruses

Low level disinfection inactivates:

  • fungi
  • vegetative bacteria
  • enveloped viruses

Intermediate level disinfectants

  • Alcohol 70%-90%
  • Sodium hypochlorite (bleach)
  • Phenolics
  • Accelerated hydrogen peroxide

Low level disinfectants

  • Quaternary ammonium compounds (Quats)