blue medical tape with wash soluble adhesive

Water-soluble medical tape for surgical solutions

Water-soluble hot-melt medical tape is uniquely designed for sustainability and reuse for surgical procedures. More and more hospitals rely on reusable surgical tape instead of disposable alternatives, and the application and washing processes must be as efficient as possible. A medical adhesive that is 100% water-soluble has been recently developed. This adhesive medical tape adheres to both skin and textile, is easy to apply and remove, and allows for maximum efficiency.

Medical tape that uses these wash-off adhesives is suitable for applications between surgical tape and the patient’s skin. The medical adhesive ensures that surgical tape stays in place and helps create and maintain a sterile, hygienic environment during surgical operations.

Why choose a water-soluble medical adhesive?

Water-soluble medical adhesive is an acrylic pressure and temperature-sensitive system which adheres well to skin and textiles. The double sided medial adhesive tape is ideal for use in medical environments. The surgical tape is also biocompatible. There are additional beneficial characteristics:

  • Water and solvent free: as a medical adhesive, the water-soluble adhesive does not contain any water or solvents. It appears solid at room temperature but is liquidized when the temperature rises.
  • Steam sterilization: the water-soluble adhesive is not affected by steam sterilization, although the heat does promote adhesion due to the temperature-sensitive nature of the self-adhesive material. The medical tape reaches its ultimate strength on the textile side after steam sterilization.
  • Resistant to body fluids: even though the adhesive is water-soluble, it is important to emphasize that the adhesive is more specifically wash-soluble—i.e., water and body fluids do not affect the surgical tape during surgeries.
  • 100% wash soluble: after surgery, reusable tape is prepared for washing. Normally, preparation includes removing medical tape and adhesive residue, but with wash-off medical adhesive this is not necessary. Medical drapes can be washed with the surgical tape, which completely dissolves during the wash.

Other uses of water-soluble adhesive tape

Even though the water-soluble adhesive is designed for use as a medical tape adhesive, its unique properties are useful in other applications, such as in the textile industry. The innovative uses of the adhesive include for instance temporary textile glue, adhesive for modeling and reusable fabrics, as well as water-soluble glue for clothing design. Contact us in case you are interested in the further possibilities of the water-soluble adhesive, or if you would like to know whether water-soluble is the solution for your adhesive needs.

How water-soluble medical tape works

Water-soluble adhesive is a common part of surgical tape systems. These are often double-sided and consist of a carrier which is coated with adhesive on both sides and a liner which can be removed prior to bonding. Medical tape is available with various dimensions and can be customized by adding a print on the carrier.

The tapes with medical wash-off adhesive are mainly applied for two reasons:

  1. to bond medical drapes to skin in order to keep drapes in place during surgery
  2. to create and maintain a sterile, hygienic operating environment

Often, medical glue is applied to surgical tape before being supplied to hospitals or clinics. Drapes must be steam-sterilized before use in operation theaters in order to guarantee sterility and allow medical tape adhesive to reach its ultimate strength. Once sterilized, drapes are placed on the patient and medical drape tape liners are removed so that medical tape adheres to the skin.

After surgery, drapes can be washed without removing the medical tape. The 100% water-soluble adhesive dissolves during the washing process without leaving a trace in the drapes or the washing machine. In addition, the carrier dissolves when washed.

Relevant medical tape adhesive certification

The medical industry is strictly regulated by standards and tests by various parties, and it is crucial to be aware of these regulations when looking for medical tape. For example, CE marking, according to the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) 2017/745, is important to look at. Furthermore, one should opt for surgical tape from manufacturers that have been certified according to ISO 13485, which demonstrates the organization´s ability to produce approved medical devices and related products and services.

Additionally, when looking at the medical adhesive, several international standards are applicable. The adhesive should be tested for cytotoxicity, skin irritation, and skin sensitization, among other things, which are included in ISO 10993-5 and ISO 10993-10.

Interested in water-soluble adhesive or tape?

As wash solvability is a rather new characteristic among adhesives, make sure to have your surgical tape supplied by a reliable source. If you are looking for water-soluble adhesive or water-soluble medical tape, contact us. We are happy to connect you with an adhesive specialist with a proven track record of water-soluble bonds.


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