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Cleaning and Decontamination Protocol for The Oxford HELP® and Operating Table Mattresses

  1. If blood and body fluids are present remove with paper towels before applying cleaning products.
  2. Clean the surface with chlorine-based solutions only, preferably the NaDCC combined detergent and chlorine agents.
  3. After cleaning and disinfection, the polyurethane cover MUST be thoroughly rinsed with water and completely dried.
  4. If no blood or body fluids are present the components may be cleaned with soap and water, rinsed and completely dried.

Always use soft cloths. Abrasive cleaners and sponges could cause the polyurethane cover to break down and allow fluid ingress, (‘strikethrough’).

The components should be routinely checked for any signs of internal contamination indicating the item should be replaced.

Polyurethane covers, such as the type used in the Oxford HELP® system and patient support devices, are designed to have a minimum design life of 12 months. Adherence to these instructions will protect the Oxford HELP® components from damage and prolong their life.

In order to offer the optimum environment for the patient’s skin the cover is hydrophilic. i.e. it can absorb moisture for a short time. The material will swell but return to normal when completely dry. During this time the cover is more vulnerable to damage. Protecting the Oxford HELP® while in use may contribute to its longevity.

Particular care must be taken to avoid any contact with sharp objects, buckles, as well as damage incurred from sharp-edged patient transfer aids. The Oxford HELP® itself MUST NOT be used as a transfer aid. Misuse leading to puncturing, ripping or stretching the material will compromise its integrity and compliance with infection control.

These guidelines are produced in accordance with BHTA Guidance on the care, cleaning and inspection of healthcare mattresses in response to the Medical Device Alert Ref: MDA/2010/002 issued on 5th January 2010 referencing the damage to mattress covers through sharps’ puncture, abrasive handling and use of inappropriate cleaning materials*.

*The table below lists the cleaning agents that may damage the cover in order of severity and should be avoided.



Dimethyl formamide

(acetone, MEK etc)
Organic acids
(acetic, formic, etc)

Aqueous alkalis
(i.e. strong detergents)

Concentrated inorganic acids
(sulphuric, phosphoric, etc)

Chlorinated hydrocarbons (trike/dry cleaning fluid) Bleach
(sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide)

Concentrated alkalis
(caustic soda)

Aromatic hydrocarbons
(toluene, benzene, etc)
Dilute aqueous acids
Phenol/cresol-based chemicals Alcohols
(methylated spirits, ethanol, methanol, etc)
(petroleum jelly, etc)
(amyl acetate, ethyl acetate, etc)
Water-based chemicals
(iodine-based products)
(paraffin, petrol, oil, etc)


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