How to Clean Your Medical Locking Cabinet

Surfaces can contribute to a spread of an infection or disease through contact with the skin. Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing procedures are essential for infection control and patient safety. 

Clean vs. Disinfect vs. Sanitize

Even though the terms are often used synonymously, cleaning is not the same as disinfecting and/or sanitizing.


The process of removing the dust, grime, and other materials off the surface (CDC 2016). Cleaning involves the use of water and detergents. It is a prerequisite to disinfection and/or sanitization.


The process of eliminating many or all pathogenic microorganisms on objects, but may not remove bacterial spores (CDC 2016). Disinfection entails the use of a chemical agent such as hospital-grade disinfectant wipes and/or spray that destroys pathogens.


The process of destroying and eliminating all forms of microbial life (CDC 2016). Sterilization entails the use of steam/pressure, dry heat, or heavy chemicals. These are often impractical with electronic components and you have to be aware of the temperature limitations of the lockbox material.

The Need to Clean, Disinfect, & Sterilize

Our wall mounted locking cabinets are often stationary and mounted either in the patient’s room or outside the infectious zone in the hallway. By keeping the locking cabinets patient-specific, it helps improve infection control between patients. However, efforts must be made to clean, disinfect, and sanitize in between uses and shifts.

Our portable electronic control boxes are (PECB) often transported or mounted on anesthesia carts. It is important to reduce the transmission of hospital-acquired infections (HCAIs) between patient and anesthetist or between patients. A clean and safe environment is essential to reduce the transmission of HCAI such MRSA, flu, UTIs, staph infections, pneumonia, surgical site infections, HIV, etc.

Depending on the type of use and frequency of use, you will want to clean, disinfect, and sanitize your wall-mounted locking cabinet and/or portable lock box between cases or on a regular basis (i.e. end of day).

How to Clean, Disinfect, & Sanitize

Our wall-mounted locking cabinets are made of PVC (i.e. polyvinyl chloride), while our portable lock boxes are made of White PVC High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Ensure that the cleaning products used are safe and recommended for such material.

To start, clean the locking cabinet and box by following the steps below:

  1. Remove all items from the locking cabinet and/or lock box.
  2. Dust the box with a light microfiber cloth.
  3. Use a damp cloth to remove dirt, grime, or other materials off the surface.

To disinfect and sterilize, the procedure will vary from facility to facility. Disinfectant wipes are a quick and easy way to disinfect and prevent cross-contamination between patient rooms. Some facilities may allow disinfectant wipes with hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, or bleach. For example, AANA recommends wiping small surfaces with 70% isopropyl alcohol to reduce bacterial contamination.

To disinfect and sanitize, follow the steps below:

  1. Select a non-abrasive, FDA or EPA certified detergent or chemical spray.
  2. Use the selected disinfectant wipe or spray disinfect on surface and let rest for the necessary amount of time as directed by the packaging.
  3. Wipe down surface and allow time to dry.

As a best practice, AANA also recommends taking proactive measures to prevent materials from by inadvertently contaminated by blood or other airborne debris. In the case of anesthesia carts, a clean covering can be placed on top of the cart at the beginning of each case.

If you have questions or would like additional information on cleaning, disinfecting, or sanitizing your medical locking cabinet or lockbox, please contact us!


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