Whether custodial departments are responsible for cleaning hospitals, schools, or foodservice establishments, managers need to have processes in place for consistent use, laundering and storage of cleaning cloths to avoid recontaminating surfaces.

“Increasingly, you’re seeing a proliferation of biofilm aftermarket antimicrobial surface treatments, which are trying to compensate for the belief that the human cleaning and disinfecting process is fallible and inconsistent,” says Heller. “I would argue it’s as necessary today as ever; however, we need to focus on driving consistency of practice — and the cleaning cloth is particularly important to that process.” 

While microfiber is fast becoming the cloth of choice for infection control, many facilities rely on disinfecting wipes for quick, on-the-spot cleaning.

Nurses at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Minneapolis, use disinfecting wipes for surfaces prone to contamination in patient rooms.

“It’s more functional logistically and saves time,” says Amanda Guspiel, environmental infection preventionist. “The wipes are already diluted to the proper concentration, so workers don’t have to worry about mixing anything. They can just grab one, wipe and toss.”

In addition to being readily available and convenient, wipes convey the message that cleaning is everyone’s job, not just that of the custodial crew.

“In a hospital, the custodial team doesn’t clean everything,” says Darrel Hicks, author of Infection Prevention for Dummies. “They’re in the room 15 minutes out of 24 hours. Someone has to maintain that clean, safe, disinfected environment the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day.”

Disinfecting wipes raise the level of awareness and encourage everyone to do their part in stopping the spread of infection.

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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