International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information
International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information

The effect of proper cloth saturation on disinfection of high touch surfaces

ISSUE: Inadequate cleaning of frequently touched surfaces has been associated with disease transmission and hospital-acquired infections. A study of environmental cleaning processes was implemented to improve quality of cleaning and decrease Clostridium difficile infection rates in a metropolitan community hospital. PROJECT: Using methodology described in previous research, 14 high touch surfaces (HTS) were secretly tagged by study personnel using fluorescent gel prior to discharge cleaning for a period of two weeks. Percentage of HTS effectively cleaned was calculated and presented back to environmental service (EVS) staff. Improvement with education was expected but not evident with continued monitoring. Cleaning processes were examined and application of disinfectant to the cleaning cloth was changed from pour to bucket dip method to improve cloth saturation. No additional education was provided to EVS staff except for communication regarding the process change and importance of cloth saturation. RESULTS: Initial results revealed that only about 50% of HTS were effectively disinfected after discharge cleaning. Consistent with results reported in the literature. With education of EVS staff, results increased slightly but did not meet project 80% goal. After the cleaning process change to improve the saturation of the cleaning cloth, results improved from 58% to 74%, and with continued feedback to EVS staff, 90% of HTS are effectively and consistently cleaned. LESSONS LEARNED: Environmental monitoring and feedback to EVS staff was insufficient in improving cleaning of HTS. Examination of cleaning processes was necessary to identify opportunities for improvement. Proper saturation of the cleaning cloth was key to improving cleaning of HTS and is necessary to assure adequate amount of disinfectant is delivered to surfaces. American Journal of Infection Control, 2011;39(5):E23.