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Vacuum System Cleaners

Updated: May 12

Keeping your vacuum system running well is very important. One of the things that helps is to regularly run cleaner through your vacuum lines. There are a wide range of cleaners on the market and most do a good job. Nonetheless, there are some particular parameters of which you should be aware.

(The photo is deliberately blurry to avoid promoting any specific brand).

It’s been years since the EPA’s final ruling came to pass requiring all dental offices in the US to install amalgam separators on their vacuum systems (with a few exceptions). While amalgam separators operate under different parameters using an array of separation methods, all separators have one thing in common – cleaners. All amalgam separators require you to use a line cleaner that is non-foaming and which has a neutral pH. There are still many vacuum line cleaners on the market which do not conform to these requirements.

If you have an amalgam separator (and the vast majority of you should) make certain the cleaner you use conforms to these parameters. The best way to be sure is to check the SDS for your cleaner.

You can also use various retail test kits to determine the pH of any liquid. Checking for foam is fairly simple as well, although that should be specified on the product.

There are some tablets on the market which you just place in your chairside traps to keep the vacuum lines clean. These fit all of the above parameters and work well.

One last thing you can do to supplement line cleaners and to keep your vacuum lines clean is to simply flush with copious amounts of water after each procedure. At least once a day, send water down the lines in "slugs" by vacuuming up a large volume and then just keeping the vacuum valve open to draw in air. Repeat this cycle a few times. The bolus of water created will help batter debris and keep the lines clear. This can take a little time, so it isn't necessarily practical to do this at the end of a procedure, so you may wish to add it to your end of day procedures.


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