A reader writes: “Since we are in a hospital setting, do you recommend that we dispose of bowl swabs after each use or can we disinfect them using the bowl cleaner that we have?”

This is a question that I have never been asked before and I have to moderate my response based on certain assumptions. First of all, what are the protocols of the medical facility? Do they require tossing cleaning cloths or only using mop heads one time? If so, then this may be a necessary action to take. My experience is that in most cases, a bowl swab can be used multiple times but do reach a point of needing to be disposed of. Many cleaners prefer a bowl brush that, at least on the surface, is easier to disinfect.

If you do decide to disinfect your bowl swabs either after each use or daily or whatever cycle you deem appropriate, you need to identify the appropriate disinfection, mixture, dwell time and possibly drying time so that you can have assurance that the bowl swabs are truly sanitized. I do not know of any machine that could perform this task so it would probably have be manually done by a staff member trained in correct processes. You might select a system to test for microorganisms after the disinfecting process. That way you could have more assurance that the bowl swabs are actually disinfected.

If you decide to dispose of bowl swabs after each cleaning, you might research the disposable, biodegradable ones that would be environmentally acceptable while fulfilling your concerns about this issue.

Please let me know what you decide to do and your reasoning for making the decision.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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.