This Manufacturer Roundtable took the compilation of questions Facility Cleaning Decisions received from in-house custodial professionals and posed them directly to cleaning industry manufacturers. Here are their responses:

Jason Welch
Spartan Chemical Co. Inc.
Maumee, Ohio

Sara Snow
Senior Scientist
Clorox Professional Products Company
Oakland, Calif.

Q: Are there situations or locations within a health care setting where cleaning/disinfecting wipes are suitable, as oppose to using spray chemical and a cleaning cloth?

Welch — Yes, wipes are single surface use disinfectants, therefore reduce the risk of cross contamination or over-use of a dirty rag. Those areas are determined by the infection control staff at the facility.

Snow — Certain product forms are better suited for certain cleaning and disinfecting situations. For example, AORN and AHE guidelines advise against the use of spray products in the OR as they may produce mist or dust that can contaminate the sterile field. Wipes are often preferred when cleaning in the OR and around patients with respiratory issues, as they produce no aerosol. However, sprays and liquid products can be more effective and efficient for cleaning and disinfecting very large surfaces, toilet bowls, and crevices where wipes cannot reach.

Q: If using wipes, how can workers adhere to proper dwell times?

Snow — Dwell time, or contact time, will vary from product to product, depending on the product kill times and how quickly the formula evaporates from the surface. Ask the manufacturer and/or test the product before you choose it. One simple way to evaluate dwell time is to use a stopwatch, wipe a typical surface in your facility and time how long it takes for the product to evaporate from the surface. If the product evaporates before meeting the kill time listed on its label, it may require re-wiping to insure proper disinfection. For example, if a product has a 3-minute kill time for MRSA, but dries after 1 minute, your staff will need to keep re-wiping the surface to keep it wet for the full 3 minutes. Pay special attention to the product label, as many include instructions such as “Use additional wipes if needed to keep surface wet for the contact time.” The best thing to do is to select a product that can keep the surface wet for the longest contact time in order to ensure effective microorganism kill and eliminate the necessity of re-wiping.

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