Clinically relevant pathogens often persist on inanimate surfaces for weeks or even months. Hence, in healthcare settings, cleaning disinfection of surfaces is part of the multi-barrier system for preventing nosocomial infection. Proper risk assessment is the basis for applying disinfection procedures. Here, focus is on those surfaces that are directly touched by personnel and patients/residents or are exposed to frequent contamination.

Application times for surface disinfectants

 In surface disinfection, exposure times and concentrations depend on the risk assessment and the manufacturers’ instructions. For high-risk areas, for example operating theatres, recommendations state an application time of at least one hour. After all routine surface disinfection measures, the surface can be used again as soon as it is visibly dry – independent of the recommended application time. As the microorganisms are inactivated exponentially, the most are killed at the beginning of the exposure time. The surface disinfectant continues to inactivate the pathogens until the end of the application time, even though the surface is already dry.

 Cleaning equipment and materials

Equipment and materials which help to make housecleaning tasks easier and more effective include:

  • cleaning products for floors
  • cleaning products for wet areas (baths, handbasins, laundry tubs, kitchen sinks)
  • cleaning products for food preparation and meal areas (tables and benchtops)
  • dish washing detergent for cleaning kitchen utensils (pots, pans, plates and cutlery)
  • laundry detergent for washing household linen (towels, sheets, blankets) and clothes
  • oven cleaner
  • disinfectant (kills germs)
  • cleaning cloths and sponges. These should be replaced regularly and there should be different ones for different cleaning areas (for example, never use the same cloth or sponge to clean the bathroom and the kitchen, as this can spread germs from one place to another)
  • scrubbing brush
  • stainless steel pot scourer
  • broom, dust pan and brush
  • bucket
  • mop or squeegee


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