Care equipment can become contaminated with blood, other body fluids, secretions and excretions and transfer microorganisms (germs/bugs) during the delivery of care. Cleaning and maintaining equipment is essential to prevent people acquiring an infection.

Care equipment can generally be categorised as either:

Single Use
(equipment such as dressing packs or syringes)

  • These must never be re-used again even if they look in a good condition.
  • These must be disposed of safely after use.


Single Patient Use
(e.g., items such as an oxygen mask or hoist slings)

  • Single use items have this symbol on the item or packaging:
  • These are used for one person only and cannot be shared.
  • They need to be cleaned after each use or cleaned regularly if in continuous use.


(e.g., a wheelchair or commode that is being used for more than one person)

  • These must be cleaned regularly and between use by different people.
  • These must be cleaned after blood and/or body fluid contamination as per local policy.
  • These must be cleaned at predefined intervals as part of equipment cleaning protocols.
  • These must be cleaned before inspection, servicing or repair.


When cleaning all reusable communal equipment it must be washed, rinsed and dried thoroughly, and stored clean and dry between uses. Cleaning and maintaining equipment is essential to prevent vulnerable and susceptible people acquiring an infection.



  • Adhere to manufacturers’ guidance for use and decontamination of all care equipment.
  • An equipment decontamination status certificate will be required if any item of equipment is being sent to a third party, e.g., for inspection, servicing, or repair.
  • You should be aware of equipment items that are single use and should be discarded and those that are communal and can be cleaned.
  • You should have a good understanding of equipment cleaning procedures.
  • Always read and follow product/manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines on the use of equipment.
  • Wear PPE, i.e., disposable gloves and apron, when cleaning equipment.
  • Perform hand hygiene after every task.