How well do you know your surface disinfection?


Boy has it been a busy start to the year. Not that I am complaining at all, but it is nice to finally be able to do some catching up on my reading from some of our industry magazines. I strive to do my best to stay on top of new and important information both in our industry but most importantly in the ASC and healthcare communities. Today I found a surprising article online under the infection control publication of the Outpatient Surgery Magazine titled, “Know Your Wipes, Mops and Sprays” (Pettris). I know firsthand how important our cleaning equipment is and what ultimately does the best job in sanitizing a terminal area but the bigger question is if your staff is aware of the difference and if they could accurately pass a test pertaining to surface disinfection. After all they are cleaning in between cases to prevent infections!

Preventing HAI’s is on all of our top priorities. I would encourage you to have your staff take the 10 question quiz in the article to see if your staff is as knowledgeable in surface disinfection as you may think. Surface disinfection may seem like a “no brainer” but you would be surprised at how much science is really behind a proper disinfection process. Here are a few of the questions from the quiz.

Question 1: When Cleaning the OR between cases or at the end of the day, it’s important to start by cleaning the floor, because it’s the dirtiest and most contaminated surface in the room.

a. true
b. false

(Answer is b: Because floors receive minimal hand contact, they should be cleaned “on a regular basis, when soiling or spills occur, and when a patient is discharged” from the area. Further more, floors should be tackled last during any cleaning because newly cleaned floors rapidly become recontaminated from airborne microorganisms and those transferred from shoes, equipment wheels and body substances”, according to the CDC).

Question 2: Which of the following statements is correct about the use of disinfectant wipes?

a. use each wipe only once
b. use each side of the wipe only once
c. neither
d. both a and b

(Answer is d: Disinfectant wipes are a wonderful tool for surface cleaning, but if you don’t use them properly, you may actually be doing harm. Researchers at the University of Cardiff (Wales) found that antimicrobial-impregnated wipes actually have the potential to spread microorganisms and cross-contaminate surfaces.10 They determined that microorganisms can live on wipes long enough to make it to the next surface and that, in order to minimize this possibility, you should use each wipe — and each side of each wipe — only once, then dispose.10 And don’t forget to keep the container top closed during storage, so wipes don’t dry out.)


For more questions from the quiz, please follow the cited link provided below. Enjoy!

Pettis, Ann M. (2012, May). Outpatient Surgery Magazine: Infection Control. Know Your Wipes, Mops & Sprays [online]. Available: [2013, February 13].

Image Provided by Google images.