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7 Barriers to Effective Cleaning and Disinfection

Background: Selecting the Ideal Disinfectant is the First Priority. Using it Correctly is Also the First Priority. This newsletter highlights the Seven Areas That May Deem Your Disinfectant Less Than Effective.

Opportunities and Challenges – “7 Sins”

There are several challenges we face in cleaning and disinfection areas of care, including patient rooms, operating rooms and shared patient care equipment. Despite those challenges, hospitals can improve their cleaning and disinfecting compliance by implementing a disinfection program that includes some simple and basic steps.

As you review the most common challenges, reflect upon your organization. Are there potential areas you can improve? We are sharing some of these in an upcoming webinar “What can go wrong in cleaning and disinfection?” on November 1. Contact Larinda Becker if you would like information.

Highlighted below are seven disinfecting challenges hospitals face, or the “7 hard facts of disinfection."

  1. Germs are invisible so it can be difficult to know if pathogens have been killed just by looking at a surface. One of the challenges faced by healthcare staff is that a surface that is pathogen-free and one that is loaded with pathogens can look exactly the same.
  2. Staff members may have concerns about the safety of the disinfectant used by their facility and its potential to cause eye, skin and respiratory irritation or damage. Due to these reservations, they may not not use disinfectants properly or as broadly as they should.
  3. Some cleaning and disinfecting products may cause damage to hospital surfaces and equipment, shortening the lifespan of hospital's assets or reducing satisfaction scores, creating financial loss for the facility.
  4. When the time it takes for a disinfectant to dry is shorter than the product's required contact time, harmful pathogens may be left behind, increasing the risk for patients and staff.
  5. If a disinfectant isn’t used with a compatible cleaning tool, its efficacy may be decreased.
  6. When roles and responsibilities of hospital staff members are not clearly defined, assumptions may be made creating gaps in practice, and some surfaces and equipment may not get cleaned at all.
  7. Placing disinfectants in an area where they are not readily available or visible may decrease the likelihood that disinfects will be used and compliance will be achieved.

Learn more about what can go wrong in cleaning and disinfection.

To combat suboptimal disinfecting, healthcare providers should do the following:

  • Define clear roles and responsibilities. Meet with environmental services and clinical staff to establish who is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment. Have each team write down instructions to ensure that procedures are clear and easy to communicate.
  • Choose the right products. Providing employees with products that are fast, effective, responsible and sustainable will increase compliance. Ensure disinfectants are effective against key healthcare-associated pathogens, and that contact times can be effectively achieved.
  • Use products that are safe and pleasant for use around patients, visitors and staff. Products should not cause harm or irritation and should not have an offensive odor that would irritate visitors or patients. Staff are more likely to use products they consider safe, pleasant and effective.
  • Make disinfectants accessible. Cleaning products, specifically disinfecting wipes, should be easily accessible to staff when and where they need them, at the point of patient care. It is also important that these products are safe for public use.
  • Validate the process. A key component to any disinfection program is ensuring that the process is completed. Hospitals should use fluorescent markers, ATP or other tools to ensure process compliance, and should audit staff to ensure compliance with the product's use instructions and contact times are part of the established process.

Effective disinfection is a balance of product, practice and compliance. A recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control demonstrated how these components can reduce hospital-associated infections. Contact for a copy!

Product Features

  • 3 Minutes! Bactericidal, Virucidal, Tuberculocidal, Fungicidal
  • 30 Seconds! Broad-Spectrum Sanitizing
  • One-step cleaner and disinfectant with a pleasant odor
  • Non-irritating to eyes and skin – (safest rating), no gloves needed when used as directed
  • Responsible for staff, for use around patients, by visitors, and on most surfaces.
  • Sustainable - Active ingredients break down to oxygen and water after use

Visit Diversey™ for more information on Accel Infection Prevention and Control Solutions.