Removing a splinter stuck in the skin is necessary as soon as the accident occurs, because if it is left it can become infected. With the urgent need to stop feeling that painful sensation and avoid an infection, you have probably punctured the affected area with any sharp object, such as a needle or pin. This action is also carried out for other purposes, such as reviewing and removing the milliums or small balls of fat that appear on the face.
Whatever the objective, if you plan to puncture a specific part of the skin with sharp objects, such as a needle, it is necessary that you sterilize them. It is important to eliminate all the contaminating bacteria that it contains so as not to cause an infection. So, if you want to know how to disinfect a needle , we recommend that you continue reading this article.
How to disinfect a needle – preparation for sterilization
Before sterilizing a syringe or a needle, or any other type of sharp object, you must follow a few steps to prepare yourself and not endanger your health.
- Wear gloves: the goal is to remove all contaminating components from the tool. Therefore, put on some gloves before handling it. If you don’t have one, wash your hands thoroughly.
- Gather all the material you need: to pick up the needle, use a very clean tweezer and avoid contact with your hands and gloves before washing it, as otherwise you can contaminate it.
- Wash the needle or sharp object: clean the needle or pin with water and disinfectant or soap to ensure that it is not stained by any previous use.
- Rinse the needle with sterile water: Avoid unsterilized distilled water, as it can contain bacteria. This step and the previous one serve to remove the largest dirt before sterilizing well.
The methods that we will explain below are not for total disinfection, since the needle or pin could be contaminated later by coming into contact with possible contaminating substances that are present in the air or in the water used for cleaning. Therefore, since they are methods that do offer a deep cleaning of the needle and it is sufficient for some uses, they are really only interesting for using the needle superficially on the skin, that is, to lift it a little. In any case, it is useful to remove a splinter stuck in the skin, but do not put your health at risk with these procedures if what you want is to make a perforation beyond the outer layer of the skin (as in the case of piercings). , tattoos…).
The only way you will ensure complete sterilization of the needle is by autoclaving. It is a machine with which it is possible to work at high pressures and steam and, thanks to this, it achieves the total sterilization of any object and, in addition, it can be vacuum-packed in an envelope. In fact, this is how the surgical material is sterilized.
How to use steam to sterilize a needle
It is one of the most effective methods to sterilize needles or pins. Follow these instructions for steam disinfecting needles.
- Pour water into a pot and wait for it to start boiling.
- Put a rack on top of the pot, or use a special steamer (like the one in the picture below), and put the needle on top of it.
- Put the lid on the pot so that the steam concentrates and acts well.
- Allow 20 minutes to pass, from when you start to see a lot of steam, at least. The longer you leave it, the cleaner it will be, but be careful not to let all the water evaporate.
- Remember to use freshly opened latex gloves when picking it up to avoid dirtying it.
How to burn a needle to disinfect it
Another option that you can consider if you are looking for how to sterilize a needle is to use the fire directly. To disinfect a needle with fire, follow these steps:
- Light a stove or use a lighter.
- We recommend using tweezers to pick up the needle and bring it closer to the fire and keep it without burning yourself.
- Place the tip of the needle in the flame, if possible in the center of it because there is more temperature.
- You will see that it darkens, but wait for the tip to acquire a somewhat reddish color.
- Look for any carbon or black, burned residue on the surface of the needle.
- Take a sterile gauze and wash the utensil to remove possible dirt resulting from the process.
Another faster option that will not leave residues because you do not have to wait for the needle to glow is the following:
- With a pair of tweezers take the needle and dip it whole in pharmacy alcohol.
- Turn on the lighter or the stove.
- Put the needle in the fire and you will see how to light all the alcohol, thoroughly cleaning the entire surface of the needle.
How to disinfect a needle with alcohol
Another way to sterilize a needle is by using chemicals, such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or bleach. Depending on the one you choose, the times and the steps to follow vary.
- You can use bleach or other chemicals (ethanol, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide). We recommend pharmacy alcohol. Start by putting enough in a tray to cover the entire needle.
- Stick the needle in for a minimum of 20 minutes to kill all bacteria and other pathogens.
- Remove the needle with clean tweezers. To ensure the success of the disinfection, at this point you can use a small lighter flame, holding the needle with tweezers, to remove the alcohol and burn the possible remains of pathogens.
How to boil a needle to disinfect it
Among the methods that you should know to know how to disinfect a needle is also boiling it in water. following these steps:
- Before washing and subsequent rinsing of the needle to remove the largest dirt, put water in a pot, with a third of its capacity will suffice.
- Place the needle inside and boil the water for about 20 minutes to half an hour.
- Count the minutes from the moment the water begins to boil for the sterilization to be effective, not before.
- When finished, pick up the needle with clean tweezers or wearing gloves.
How to disinfect a needle in the oven
Heating the oven to disinfect a needle is another action that you should consider and that we explain here:
- Put a little water in the oven tray, an amount in the center will suffice and it can cover the needle.
- Place the needle or sharp metal utensil on the oven tray at a temperature of 170 o C.
- Wait about an hour for it to disinfect completely and leave the oven door open to wait for the temperature to drop, without removing the needle.
- When removing it, take it with clean tweezers and release it on a sterile surface or in a tray with pharmacy alcohol before taking it with gloves to use it.
Now that you know how to disinfect a needle in various ways in an emergency, keep in mind that as soon as you finish you will have to disinfect the wound.