How to Swab Equipment After the Cleaning Procedure for Microbial Testing

Written by david h. malec jr.
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How to Swab Equipment After the Cleaning Procedure for Microbial Testing
Microbial testing will ensure proper sanitation. (Bacteria Colonies image by ggw from

People who come in contact with equipment that may have been contaminated with bacteria must follow proper cleaning procedures to reduce the risk of further contamination. Equipment that has the possibility of being contaminated with bacteria should be checked for microbial residue after cleaning to ensure proper sanitising. A microbial test will confirm whether equipment cleaning has effectively removed any health hazards related to microbial contamination.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sterile swabs
  • Agar medium plates
  • Warm storage area

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  1. 1

    After equipment cleaning, prepare sterile swabs for direct method culture collection.

  2. 2

    Swab a single area with 1 swab, ensuring the swab only comes in contact with the surface you wish to test for microbials.

  3. 3

    Place swab against Agar in medium plate, swab in a back and forth motion along the entire plate. Be sure not to apply too much pressure because the Agar will tear.

  4. 4

    Label Agar plate with the test completed, date completed, and site of swabbing to aid in proper data collection after growth is established.

  5. 5

    Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 for each area that is to be tested for microbials. Ensure that a new swab and a new Agar plate is used for each sample.

  6. 6

    Put all Agar plates in a warm temperature controlled environment to aid in microbial growth. Allow 1 to 2 days for growth to develop.

  7. 7

    After 1 to 2 days, a visual and microscopic survey of the Agar plate will determine if there is microbial growth. Upon determining the presence of growth the surfaces swabbed must be sanitised again. The proper solution to kill broad spectrum microbes is a 1-to-20 solution of bleach to water, and must be wiped on and left to dry. If there is no growth detected, the surface is clean and no further action needs to be taken.

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