A Clean Bill of Health

Daniel Took, Head of Professional Product Marketing at Kärcher, talks us through the main considerations to make in order to ensure an effective hospital cleaning routine, one area at a time.

Cleaning and disinfection are more indispensable in a clinical hospital environment than virtually any other. Cleanliness is the precondition for hygiene, because dirt and dust are a breeding ground for micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. In order to prevent the spread of germs and to ensure the recovery and good health of patients, comprehensive cleaning and disinfectant measures are fundamental. So, which cleaning methods have proven themselves effective and where are the risk areas to watch out for?


Eliminating dirt is key to cleanliness and hygiene. To reduce the amount of dirt being carried into a hospital, the use of sweepers in outside areas and dirt collection mats in the entrance area is important. For the regular vacuuming of entrance mats, vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters should be used for their fine filtration that prevents practically all disease-carrying germs from getting into the surrounding area. This also means that many viruses are prevented from spreading, as they adhere to other particles and are filtered out together with them.

The Robert Koch Institute recommends that the floors in entrance and common areas should not be disinfected but should be thoroughly cleaned. Depending on size, quiet and easy-to-operate scrubber dryers with very good suction are suitable for this purpose, so areas can be cleaned much faster and more thoroughly than by manual mopping.

In large operating theatre areas, floors must be disinfected. In the corridors, if a scrubber dryer is used it must be in a perfectly hygienic condition. Disinfectant is added to the

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machine according to the manufacturer's dosage and can then be used for one working day. It must then be disposed of, the tank cleaned and filled with fresh disinfectant the next day. In the operating theatre, on account of the restricted space, wiper mops and disinfectant are more suitable for disinfecting the floor.


To prevent germs finding their way from one patient's room to another, certain cleaning procedures must be employed. The key consideration for surface cleaning is that cleaning textiles must be changed frequently and not put back into dirty cleaning water. Implementing the four-colour system will reliably classify the respective cloths and buckets required for different purposes. Red cloths for the cleaning of toilets, yellow for the rest of the sanitary area, blue for surfaces and green mostly for disinfection. In order to protect the user, PPE should always be worn, including gloves.

The 16-side cloth-folding method and working with pre- prepared cleaning cloths are perfectly suited to hospital cleaning. The cloth is folded in half four times so that there is a total of 16 sides. In one bucket, a precisely defined quantity of folded cloths are soaked with a specified quantity of cleaning agent. Once fully soaked, they are ready for use. Each surface is wiped with a fresh side and when each side has been used, the cloth is thrown away and replaced with a new one. In addition, a new cloth is used for each room. In patient rooms, only surfaces that pose a high risk of infection, due to frequent hand and skin contact, must be disinfected.

For floors, a distinction should be made between loose and

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