Four Considerations for Selecting Disinfectants
Although a surface appears clean, it may actually be contaminated with numerous pathogens. To help facilities ensure surfaces are properly cleaned and disinfected, Sealed Air’s Diversey Care division offers four considerations for selecting the appropriate disinfectants.
“While there are several factors that can impact infection rates, a focus on improved cleaning and disinfection practices is essential,” said Carolyn Cooke, Vice President Healthcare North America, Diversey Care. “Proper disinfection with the right disinfectant not only reduces the opportunity for outbreaks, but enhances satisfaction among a facility’s occupants and curbs unnecessary costs.”
For better disinfection, facilities should choose a disinfectant that:
1. Has a realistic contact time
Ideally, the disinfectant will stay wet and in contact with the pathogen for at least as long, or longer, than the contact time listed on its label. Unfortunately, many disinfectants dry before the contact time is achieved, especially those with long contact times or high levels of alcohol. Since employees will not always reapply the disinfectant, this can mean surfaces are not adequately disinfected. An easy-to-use and effective disinfectant with a shorter contact time is preferred.
2. Won’t harm assets
Facility furnishings and equipment can be expensive to repair or replace. Some disinfectants can harm surfaces or shorten the useful life of these assets. Understanding a disinfectant’s compatibility with these surfaces can help reduce unnecessary damage and costs.
3. Will be compatible with cleaning tools
Some cleaning tools can inhibit the effectiveness of a disinfectant. For instance, cotton and some microfiber cleaning tools can bind with quaternary ammonium compound-based disinfectants (quats), preventing the release of the disinfectant onto the surface. Facilities should make sure disinfectants are compatible with their existing cleaning tools or purchase new tools that don’t reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant.
4. Is safe and pleasant for staff and guests
Some disinfectants are irritating to eyes, skin or respiratory tracts, and may require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), or have a strong odor. This may cause staff to minimize use of the product, compromising results. Facilities should look for a disinfectant that is safer and more pleasant for staff to use, thereby reducing worker injuries and visitor and staff complaints.
“In addition to selecting the proper disinfectant, facilities should clearly define cleaning and disinfecting roles and responsibilities so that employees know who is to clean and disinfect what, when, with what, and how often,” added Cooke. “Then, through a validation program, facilities can monitor and measure cleaning and disinfection effectiveness to ensure compliance with the process.”