Latest review of the effectiveness of disinfectant wipes


17th August 2020


Prof John Boyce has written an excellent review paper providing an overview of disinfectant wipes for hard surfaces in healthcare settings.

The review covers the range of approaches to disinfectant wipes (e.g. dry wipes moistened in practice, or ready-to-use wipes), the need for appropriate and standardised testing, and the role of training and education for staff to maximise the impact of disinfectant wipes in reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infection.

The review provides useful technical insight into what makes a disinfectant wipe, in a language that can be understood by a range of clinicians. This includes an overview of the various types of materials that are commonly used for wipes (covering both woven and non-woven options). The paper takes some time to discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of dry wipes that are moistened with disinfectant in clinical practice, reusable cloths, and ready-to-use wipes. The review tracks the trend towards ready-to-use wipes as the most common option for healthcare facilities due to their ease of use and reliable performance.

There is a section of the review dedicated to the various different types of disinfectants that are commonly used in disinfectant wipes, and how the potential for disinfectant/wipe interactions needs to be carefully considered because it can influence performance.

The evidence that disinfectant wipes are effective in reducing contamination with pathogens on surfaces and that this results in reduced transmission of healthcare-associated infection is reviewed in detail. There’s an important section on the promising emerging data that some disinfectant wipes show effectiveness against bacteria in dry surface biofilms.

Disinfectant wipes that are ready-to-use offer an improved chance of effective cleaning, because they don’t require formulation in busy clinical settings. However, the role of human factors in the performance of disinfectant wipes is key. In particular, training and education are vital to ensure that disinfectant wipes are used effectively in clinical settings.

The review concludes with some helpful recommendations, including the need for an internationally-accepted standard method of testing for the efficacy of disinfectant wipes to be used in healthcare settings.

This review is a must-read for anybody with an interest in cleaning and disinfection in healthcare settings.

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