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HEALTHCARE HYGIENE


ACHIEVING HYGIENIC CLEANING


In a healthcare environment, cross contamination can be a potentially life-threatening issue. With that in mind, it’s essential that cleaning operatives know how to avoid this issue. Here, Robert Kravitz, a frequent writer for the professional cleaning industry, looks at the products that can lead to more effective, hygienic cleaning.


When it comes to improving hygiene in healthcare settings, housekeepers and cleaning professionals must look at two very important issues:


• Review how they are cleaning surfaces that may be a source for cross contamination, and


• Look into new products that might result in more effective, hygienic cleaning.


For instance, let’s take a look at the first issue, how surfaces are being cleaned now. By now, most cleaning workers have heard of dwell time – the actual amount of time a disinfectant must remain on a surface before it should be wiped from the surface. But there are some dwell time and related surface cleaning issues we should also be aware of, among them the following:


In order for the disinfectant to work properly, the surface must be cleaned


64 | Tomorrow’s Cleaning April 2016


first and then the disinfectant applied, a two-step process; cleaning is the actual removal of surface soils. Once completed, the disinfectant is applied. This does not apply to ‘cleaner- disinfectant’ solutions, however most hospital-type disinfectants do require this two-step process.


The surface must remain wet during dwell time. If the disinfectant has dried, the surface must be cleaned again and the disinfectant re-applied.


Many disinfectants have a 10-minute dwell time requirement, some more and some less. Not allowing for the appropriate dwell time will reduce the amount of bacteria killed. Read the label and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.


Not all disinfectants kill the same pathogens. Again, read the label. It will provide ‘kill’ claims indicating


the specific types of pathogens the disinfectant is designed to target and eliminate.


Even in a healthcare setting, only use disinfectants where necessary. They are not typically needed in the office areas of a medical facility and many common areas. Instead, select a sanitiser. Sanitising kills at least 99.9% of germs on a surface, and it is faster and often safer to work with than a disinfectant.


Finally, change the cleaning cloth frequently. And as we will discuss below, there are some preferable options to using a terry cloth towel or ‘rag’.


IS IT A ‘RAG’ OR A PROFESSIONAL SURFACE


CLEANING CLOTH? Years ago, it was not uncommon for cleaning workers to use torn t-shirts and similar items for cleaning


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