As most of us have been reminded time and time again, contact time is vital for proper disinfection of surfaces. Even when properly saturated, if contact time is not complied with, it's likely disinfection is not being achieved.
However, what about cloth saturation?
We recently came across an interesting study analyzing the importance of proper saturation and the impact it can have on the efficacy of cleaning and disinfecting practices in hospitals, although the same can be said for clinical applications.
The study, authored by Cynthia J. Larson, Aaron Freeberg and Wendolyn Slatery and aptly titled "The Effect of Proper Cloth Saturation on Disinfection of High Touch Surfaces", demonstrates that the saturation level of the cloth or wipe used to apply the disinfectant plays a major role in ensuring proper disinfection.
By changing the application process, of the disinfectant to the cloth, from a pour method to a bucket dip method and providing some education on the importance of cloth saturation, they were able to improve efficacy in the disinfecting of high touch surfaces by 24%. With continued feedback they reached their goal of effectively and consistently cleaning 90% of high touch surfaces.
From this study we learn that environmental monitoring and feedback to staff is insufficient in improving cleaning of high touch surfaces. Examining cleaning processes is necessary to identify opportunities for improvement. Proper saturation of the cleaning cloth is key to improving cleaning of high touch surfaces and is necessary to assure adequate amount of disinfectant is delivered to surfaces, ensuring proper disinfection.
Pre-Saturated Disinfectant Wipes
In regards to pre-saturated disinfectant wipes, there are a number of things that need to be addressed in order to ensure proper saturation and disinfection. First off, manufacturers manufacture their products with the determined amount of solution necessary to fully saturate their wipe. Therefore it's important for users to ensure the wipes remain wet by closing the canister when not being used. Leaving a canister open will cause the wipes to dry out and possibly lose essentials chemicals to evaporation. Second, common sense needs to used when using disinfectant wipes on larger surfaces. Ask yourself, "Will a single 6" x 7" disinfectant wipe really be enough to distribute enough solution to a 3' x 7' table?". The obvious answer is that multiple wipes will be required in order to properly disinfect certain surfaces.
Remember, a cloth or wipe that is nearly dry is won't help effectively clean and disinfect high touch surfaces. It's your responsibility to examine your cleaning process and identify opportunities for improvement.
Start by choosing a disinfectant with a rapid and effective contact time, that will certainly make proper disinfection an easier goal to achieve.
You can access the study reference above here.