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Development of a Quantitative and Field-Relevant Test Protocol for Testing Wipes and Sprays

The scientific objective of this study was to develop a quantitative and field-relevant protocol to study the effect of combining disinfection and wiping of surfaces on contaminant spread.

High-touch environmental surfa­ces (HITES) can be vehicles for pathogens in healthcare and other settings. Standard cleaning practices remain suboptimal and counter-productive as cursory wiping of surfaces can lead to pathogen spread over a wider area while loading the environment with potentially unsafe chemicals.

Routine cleaning of hard, non-porous environmental surfaces in healthcare and other settings often does not achieve the desired level of microbial decontamination without properly wiping the surfaces.

When testing of environmental surface disinfectants, the results do not incorporate the effect of wiping, which is crucial as a physical step to enhance the process of surface decontamination by adding pressure as well as by contributing to the removal of soiling. We sought to generate test data on such formulations by combining the physical action of wiping with the disinfection process to better inform infection preventionists of the field-relevant potential of HITES decontamination processes. The combined use of wiping and disinfection could also lead to reductions in the amounts of chemicals used, thereby adding further to environmental and workplace safety.

The scientific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Develop a quantitative and field-relevant laboratory-based method to test the combined use of a disinfectant with wiping for the microbial decontamination of hard, non-porous environmental surfaces representing those found in healthcare and other settings.
  2. Apply the developed protocol to testing with a variety of human pathogens including Gram-negative, Gram-positive vegetative bacteria, spore-forming bacteria and viruses
  3. Perform the testing to determine the application of the test protocol to reduce disinfectant concentration for economy as well as environmental and workplace safety
  4. The use of the protocol was validated with several commercially available disinfecting wipes.The unique nature of this protocol makes it a potential candidate for consideration by a standards-setting organization such as ASTM international.The protocol could be used to generate data for registration of disinfecting wipes in Canada and the U.S.