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Scrub SinksScrub Sinks

Why are Scrub Sinks Important?

Scrub sinks, also referred to as surgical sinks or medical sinks, are vital to keeping Operating Rooms (ORs) up and running, and are imperative to the health and safety of patients. They serve as the scrub station for surgeons and other OR staff to scrub their hands and arms before a surgical or invasive procedure. By performing a surgical hand scrub before surgery, surgeons and surgical staff take the necessary precautions to mitigate transient and resident flora, which may reduce the risk of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs).

Scrub Sink Guidelines

Scrub sink usage guidelines can vary between healthcare facilities and health systems. It is recommended to follow all policies and procedures established by facilities, or defer to AORN guidelines for further guidance on scrub sink operation and use. Water temperature should be maintained by a thermostatic mixing valve to prevent fluctuations and reduce the risk of burns.

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Key Features of Scrub Sinks

Various features of a scrub sink aid in the effective operation and use by surgeons and other surgical staff. The main features of a scrub sink include:

  • Water control – Water controls on scrub sinks may be operated by hand or with a hands-free feature like a knee operated panel, foot pump, or infrared sensor.
  • Digital timer – A digital timer is used to ensure that the proper amount of time is spent on hand hygiene before entering the operating room. Timers count down from a pre-determined start to prevent scrubbing in for less than the desired length of time.
  • Soap dispenser – Proper dose of surgical scrub chemistry is also very important when selecting a scrub sink. Soap is typically dispensed by a hand pump, foot pump, knee operation, or infrared methods.
  • Faucet – The faucet is an important feature of a scrub sink, as it delivers the water for the hand scrubbing process. Faucets should offer non-aerated, consistent water flow with either shower-head or laminar properties. Optional eye wash stations are typically available; it is important to follow all ANSI guidelines when planning eye wash stations in a healthcare facility.
  • Station/Bay – Scrub sinks may be constructed with one, two, or three stations at which multiple members of the OR staff can wash their hands at the same time.

Scrub Sink Maintenance

Proper maintenance of a scrub sink is not limited to the sink itself, but also any accessories that the sink may have. Sinks should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis and soap pumps need to be cleaned out to prevent any bacteria from growing within the mechanism. Quarterly, the drain and faucet head of the sinks should be disassembled and decontaminated with appropriate disinfection practices per the manufacturer's instructions for use.

Stainless steel material is recommended for the construction of operating room scrub sinks due to its naturally antibacterial properties. Bacteria has a difficult time adhering to the surfaces, and stainless steel is easy to clean.

Where to buy Scrub Sinks

The selection and purchase of a scrub sink is vital to keeping a healthcare facility with a surgical environment up and running. To keep patients safe and to stay compliant and productive, a scrub sink is required to keep up with the pace of a busy Operating Room. Purchasing staff at a healthcare facility may consider factors like brand, service and customer support, long-term and short-term cost and environmental footprint when deciding on which scrub sink (or sinks) to purchase. Because of the daily use of a scrub sink in a hospital, Ambulatory Surgery Center or other healthcare facility, buyers often thoroughly research and consider multiple options before making a purchase. Usually, a sales representative or distributor facilitates the buying process of a scrub sink.


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