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Research supports the case for microfibre, Diversey reports…

Microfibre continues to grow in popularity for health sector cleaning as more trusts, operators and building care contractors recognise the hygiene, efficiency and performance improvements they can achieve when cleaning hard surfaces. Many trusts now routinely utilise microfibre for cleaning their wards, including floors, as well as specialist treatment facilities and other areas.

The hygiene and infection control properties of microfibre have been understood for some time. The very best cloths -such as the Jonmaster system - have been proven to remove 99.99% of micro organisms when used with water alone. The cloth is simply dampened prior to use and any particles on the surface are removed because they are captured by the woven material through a combination of static attraction and capillary action.

New independent research completed recently by Campden BRI and the Department of Health tested the performance of a range of microfibre cloths in three cleaning scenarios. First, single surface and organism with single cloth wipe. This showed that microfibre performed similarly and well on a range of surfaces and micro organisms. Second, a single cloth used to wipe nine consecutive soil and C.difficile spore contaminated surfaces (this replicates a typical healthcare application). Jonmaster performed better than the other cloths in this test. Third, a single cloth wiped a soil and C.difficile spore contaminated surface after

laundering once, 75 and 150 times. Interestingly, this test showed that the efficacy of the cloths increased after repeated washes.

Depending on the healthcare application the microfibre will be used in the form of a hand cloth, typically for cleaning bedside areas, or removable mop pad, for cleaning floors. In each case the use of the cloth is restricted to specific areas to reduce the risk of spreading infections and cross contamination. The absence of any chemicals ensures that cleaning can be undertaken safely and without intruding unduly on patients and visitors. Time is also saved because cleaning staff do not need to prepare chemicals. Sustainability benefits can also be identified in cleaning without chemicals. Many hospitals report reduced costs when taking into account the complete lifecycle of the cloths.

The exceptional cleaning, hygiene and infection removal performance comes from the combination of materials used and the way the individual fibres are manufactured and woven to form the cloth. But not all microfibres are the same. While all types of microfibre cloth will deliver good cleaning performance only those that are classed as ultra microfibre give the very best results. This is because these cloths have even finer fibres - typically less than 0.5 denier in the EU - which means a greatly enlarged surface area which can then attract, absorb and remove more dirt and infections.

The proper care of the cloths is paramount.

The future of our cleaning industry | TOMORROW’S CLEANING | 55 HEALTHCARE & HOSPITAL HYGIENE

Many hospitals have a dedicated laundry, or use separate washing machines, for optimum care and to reduce the risk of cross contamination from other items such as bed linen and clothing. In fact, as the Campden BRI research showed, correct laundering can actually increase microfibre performance.

Jonmaster cloths, for example, are guaranteed for 500 washes as long as the manufacturer’s specifications are followed. This means that a set of three cloths used in strict daily rotation (one in use, one in laundry, one in store) will last for around five years.

Microfibre systems are even more efficient when used with trolley systems. Harrogate Hospital was the first major NHS customer to use the all-new TASKI Trolley. This integrated modular trolley was designed from the ground up for efficiency and ergonomic cleaning. An almost limitless variety of configurations can be built - to the operator’s own specification - using the system’s range of colour coded tools, wipes, pads, boxes, drawers, trays and other components. These can be mounted in different positions on the chassis to optimise the cleaning process and avoid the need for users to bend, stoop or reach unnecessarily which saves time and helps to reduce the risk of musculo-skeletal disorders.

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