Questioning Kill Claims Of Disinfecting Wipes


Cleaning: Cleaners & Disinfectants Cleaning: Infection Control

A reader writes: “I disagree with your position on disinfecting wipes. If the label claims to have a 99.999 percent kill rate then I am confident that I can increase productivity while providing a safe, germ free environment. Your response?”

First of all, you may be totally correct in your position while I am correct in my position. This is not dodging the subject; rather I am trying to get you to be a little more open minded on a subject that continues to generate a lot of discussion.

I suggest you read the label and SDS information closely to make sure that you are truly disinfecting the surface under question. There are many products that claim to disinfect when they actually sanitize (less than 99 percent kill rate) when used incorrectly on the job site.

I recently consulted with a company that was using “disinfectant wipes” that came in a plastic pop out container so that one could be used at a time. Unfortunately, when I inspected the wipes being used, they were bone dry due to a poorly fitting lid and extended exposure to heat and air conditioning.

My question to you is even though the label stated they were disinfecting wipes, do your really believe they were effective when dried out as I described? Could they be “reactivated” by pouring the correct disinfectant into the container and allowing them to be wet again?

On top of that concern, I noted that the workers were wiping soiled surfaces rather quickly with the assumption that the chemical was touching all surfaces. This was not the case. Was the disinfectant wipe also a cleaner? I would have been much more comfortable with cleaning the surface of all apparent soils, spraying the surface with a disinfectant, allowing it recommended dwell time and then wiping with the disinfectant wipe as follow through. The chance of actually disinfecting just went up radically.

My suggestion is to watch the process carefully and make sure all the tools (disinfectant wet wipes) are being used correctly.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.