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Cleaning & Maintenance

Keep your 3M Littmann stethoscope in top condition

“How do I clean my stethoscope?”

It’s a question we are asked frequently, and for good reason. Clinicians who care for patients want to help prevent the spread of germs.

To clean your 3M™ Littmann® stethoscope, use 70% isopropyl alcohol solution on a cloth or pre-packaged wipe, and wipe all patient contacting surfaces of your stethoscope between each assessment. Do not use hand sanitizer or wipes with multiple ingredients, as they may include other agents that could damage parts of the stethoscope.

Auscultation plays a critical part in assessment and treatment protocols. However, stethoscopes are often at risk of contamination, especially when used in direct contact with patients. To ensure the safety of you and your patients, always clean your stethoscope after each diagnosis. Follow the steps below to learn how to disinfect your 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope correctly. 

Keep your stethoscope away from extreme heat, cold, solvents and oils.
Tunable diaphragms can be removed from the chestpiece and their surfaces wiped with alcohol or soapy water. Dry all parts thoroughly before reassembly.
Eartips can be removed from the eartubes for thorough cleaning. For safety, snap eartips firmly back onto the ribbed ends of the eartubes.

Stethoscope cleaning and decontamination

You can clean your 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope between patient exams to remove any organic material. The practice of using hand sanitisers to clean stethoscopes is not recommended because of additives that may damage parts of the stethoscope, such as the tubing.

We recommend these cleaning solutions for all 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope models:
✓ Mild soap and water
✓ 70% isopropyl alcohol
✓ 2% bleach solution (may cause tubing discolouration)

Do not:
✕ Use hand sanitizers
✕ Immerse stethoscope in any liquid
✕ Subject your stethoscope to any sterilisation process

It is important not to immerse the stethoscope in any liquid, subject it to a sterilization process, or expose it to extreme heat, cold, solvents or oils, because these could damage the stethoscope.

Keep it Clean!

Important Tip 1: Never rinse or soak your 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope. Clean it with an alcohol wipe, or a wipe dipped in an appropriate cleaning solution.

Important Tip 2: All Littmann stethoscopes now feature a next-generation tubing that retains its shape and flexibility even after folding tightly into a pocket. It provides longer stethoscope life due to improved resistance to skin oils and alcohol, and is less likely to pick up stains. However, it’s still good practice to wear your stethoscope over a collar whenever possible.

Next-generation tubing is not made with natural rubber latex, a benefit to sensitive medical professionals and their patients. And, to play its part in the protection of human health and the environment, the next-generation tubing does not contain phthalate plasticizers.

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