How to Clean Your Reusable Surface Electrodes

The proper cleaning of re-usable surface electrodes (such as EMG surface electrodes, ground electrodes, and EEG surface electrodes) continues to be a topic of keen interest to our customers.  We are often asked, “How should we clean our surface electrodes to prolong their useful life?”  To ensure your surface electrodes enjoy a long and healthy life, we recommend the following:

It is important that your electrodes be washed with soap and water after each use. Electrolytic compounds (electrolytes; e.g., pastes, gels, etc.) are water soluble, NOT alcohol soluble. That means if alcohol, rather than soap and water, is used to wipe or soak electrodes, the electrolytic compound is just smeared rather than removed.  Although the electrode may appear clean, a residue is left that has cumulative negative effects on the performance and lifetime of the electrode.  With electrolytic compounds containing salt for better conductivity, the smeared compound accelerates the formation of corrosion, eliminating the benefit of using a saline-based electrolyte.  Smeared compound also can cause a direct electrical circuit (also known as bridging) between the electrode contacts; this is particularly true with bar electrodes.

The Electrode Store recommends that a container of common tap water be kept near the exam room.  Immediately after use and disconnection, electrodes should be placed in the container to soak for no more than 90 minutes.  After removing from the tap water, wash the electrodes with liquid dish soap (Ivory, Dawn, Palmolive, etc.) and rinse thoroughly under warm running water.  Gently wipe and air-dry the electrodes until thoroughly dry before their next use.

Originally written by Tim Cooke

Written by Steve Obey — September 15, 2015

The Electrode Store

Post Office Box 188
Enumclaw, WA 98022

Telephone: 360.829.0400
Toll-Free: 800.537.1093
Fax: 360.829.0402


Hours: 6am-5pm PST M-F

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