Disinfectants in Healthcare Facilities
In hospitals and healthcare facilities, infection control is arguably the most important part of the cleaning process. Hospitals are filled with patients with weakened immune systems and exposed surgical sites, and preventing the spread of potentially harmful pathogens, bacteria, and viruses keeps these patients healthy and safe. As with any cleaning product, different disinfectants are tailored to different facilities and needs. In order to maximize efficiency and safety, it’s important to understand which disinfectant to use and when.
The first step in selecting a disinfectant is making sure it is registered with the EPA. This registration ensures that the efficacy claims made by the disinfectant, including which pathogens it kills and the contact time, are backed up by data. A disinfectant that is registered as a hospital-grade disinfectant is what should be used in healthcare facilities; if it’s already registered with the EPA as hospital-grade, it’s a quick way to make sure it has claims for most of the pathogens that are common problems in hospitals. However, even though a disinfectant may be hospital-grade, it’s still important to check the label for specific claims. The pathogens that are of most concern in healthcare facilities include HIV, HBV, HCV, Norovirus, C. Diff, Influenza, and MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Specific claims are important to know for both regular disinfecting procedures and spot cleaning. For example, when cleaning up a blood spill, you would want to make sure the disinfectant has bloodborne pathogen claims. When cleaning a high-touch surface, such as doorknobs and sink faucets, the disinfectant should have claims against pathogens that are spread through direct contact, such as influenza and MRSA.
Disinfectants can be found as concentrates, ready-to-use products, and wipes. Concentrates will typically be the most cost-effective option, especially for routine disinfecting of floors and high-touch surfaces. Concentrates are also the most versatile, because they can be diluted to different concentrations to kill a wider range of pathogens than a ready-to-use disinfectant. Disinfectant wipes are an efficient option for blood or urine spills, or other spot or spill cleaning because they are an easy, quick one-step process.
Another important thing to keep in mind when choosing a disinfectant is contact time, or dwell time. This is the amount of time a disinfectant needs to be left on a surface in order to kill specific pathogens. One disinfectant may have different dwell times for different pathogens. It’s essential that the disinfectant be left on for the proper dwell time to ensure all harmful bacteria and viruses have been killed.
Multi-Clean offers several hospital-grade disinfectants, which can be found on our website. For a list of hospital-grade disinfectants and their specific claims, visit the Infection Control Webpage.