Efficacy of Hospital Disinfectant Wipes in Healthcare Facilities

Working within a healthcare facility has its challenges. As a healthcare professional, you know that one of your duties is cleaning dirty rooms and disinfecting surfaces. Since all surfaces have the potential of holding dangerous and deadly microorganisms like the coronavirus, it's vital to supply all the staff members in a healthcare facility with high-quality and effective disinfectant wipes.

Disinfectant wipes are beneficial in preventing dangerous infections and diseases from spreading to patients, healthcare professionals, and visitors. They are an excellent tool for reducing cross-contamination of infections until the environmental services staff are ready to disinfect the building thoroughly. 

What Are Disinfectant Wipes, Exactly? 

They are disposable wipes pre-soaked in a solution with a disinfecting ingredient like hydrogen peroxide, quaternary ammonium, and sodium hypochlorite. You might have probably seen brands of disinfecting wipes on store shelves (like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, or Mr. Clean Power Multi-Surface Disinfecting Wipes) on store shelves.

Disinfecting wipes are more effective compared to disinfectant spray (which contains some of the similar common ingredients), but paper towel hasn't been carefully studied. According to the finding made by Schaffner, both disinfectant wipes and sprays are identical as regards protecting against harmful microorganisms or viruses. However, the significant difference here is that disinfectant wipes (unlike sprays) are purposely produced for use on hard surfaces and objects, like counters, handles, doorknobs, etc., and not for the skin or other soft surfaces.

The Benefits of Hospital Disinfectant Wipes

It’s safe to say that wipes are just an ersatz for a full professional cleaning. They're an excellent option for removing little messes or spills around the healthcare facility, disinfecting the nurse's working stations, and medical equipment after every use. Disposable wipes are perfect for cleaning high-touch or hard surfaces in dental offices, waiting rooms, chiropractic practices, and general patient areas in the facility. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), disinfecting wipes must be used by strictly adhering to the right contact time to make sure that they successfully eliminate specific germs and bacteria. You must carefully go through the label on your wipes to know the surface's proper duration to remain wet for effective germ elimination. With the appropriate contact time, these wipes are effective and suitable for:

  •       Single surface cleaning.Even if they are meant to be used once, disinfectant wipes can decrease the danger of cross-contamination or excessive use of dirty rags. They provide cleaning with quick elimination of viruses and harmful microorganisms and ensure that those areas are correctly disinfected.
  •       Use around patients with respiratory problems: Disinfectant wipes do not produce aerosol like the disinfecting spray. They don't give out mist or dust; hence, they're the best option for cleaning surfaces around people with respiratory problems.
  •       Quick clean-ups in the operating room: Whenever disinfectant wipes are used accurately, it decreases cross-contamination in a sterile atmosphere, such as an operating room. Operating rooms need thorough disinfection after each use. Therefore, disinfectant wipes provide an easy solution for fast clean-ups when required.
  •       Wiping down medical equipment after each use: Items such as blood pressure cuffs and other high-touch equipment must be carefully wiped down immediately after each use to decrease cross-contamination.
  •       Disinfecting common areas: Common places in the Healthcare facilities such as the computer stations, sign-in areas, reception, nurses' stations, patient rooms, and other high-touch areas need frequent cleaning and disinfection every time. These actions help to lower the risk of cross-contamination or the spread of infections. Disinfecting wipes help restrict pathogens in high-traffic areas and ensure that your healthcare facility is clean. 

When Hospital Disinfectant Wipes Aren't Enough?

Although wipes have several uses and help prevent infection in your healthcare facility, you shouldn't depend totally on them to sanitize or disinfect the whole building. It's essential to know the significant difference between sanitizing, disinfecting, and cleaning so that you can select the correct treatment for each area in the healthcare facility. In some vital regions with a high risk of transmitting infection, quaternary or sporicidal disinfectants are more efficient and should be chosen and used over hospital-grade wipes.

Vital areas that need high-level sporicidal disinfectants include but are not restricted to:

  •       Isolation rooms:Patients admitted to isolation rooms may have a highly contagious condition that needs total separation from the rest of the facility. So, after these patients are discharged, their rooms require complete high-level disinfection to eliminate dangerous pathogens and prevent them from spreading to staff, patients, and other people.
  •       Surgical centers and Operating rooms: Patients in for surgical procedures and operations are particularly susceptible to infection. In between the process, all equipment and every surface touched within the operating room must be disinfected entirely to decrease the dangers of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
  •       Anywhere bodily fluids make contact with equipment: Body fluids like blood, waste, vomit, etc., have bacteria that can cause infection if they are not adequately cleaned and disinfected. While wiping up the liquid, you'll have to thoroughly disinfect all the surfaces or equipment that have come into contact with the fluid which may contain dangerous microscopic pathogens.

Final Thoughts

Disinfectant wipes help prevent infections in the healthcare facilities and also lower the risk of cross-contamination. However, an excellent way to make sure that your healthcare facility's cleaning program meets up with the healthcare sector standards and protects your staff, patients, and other people is to work with experienced professionals.