Efficacy of Disinfectant-impregnated Wipes used for Surface Disinfection in Hospitals: A Review
The use of disinfectant wipes has become more common in hospitals and even more so in dental settings. Cross-contamination and nosocomial pathogens are a concern for hospital settings as well as dental settings. In a review published in August 2019 in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, the authors aim to “call attention to the wide range of variables affecting the disinfectant-impregnated wipes’ (DIWs) disinfection performances in hospitals.”1
The type of disinfectant is a variable in the efficacy of the DIW. There are two different mechanisms of action of the antimicrobial activity of the disinfectant: growth inhibition and lethal action. The active ingredient determines the antimicrobial activity. Every disinfectant has advantages and disadvantages making it ideal for use in a wipe or not. The preferred disinfectant used in DIWs is quats-alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and hypochlorite.
The material used to make the wipe is important. They are mostly made of textile materials, such as cellulosic fibers and thermoplastic fibers. The materials used to make DIWs also offer the advantage of mechanically removing debris during the wiping action in addition to the disinfection activity of the wipe. However, it is important to consider the possibility of transferring microorganisms to an area already treated. This is highly dependent on the wipes retaining ability and bactericidal activity. The absorbency of the wipe is important in the amount of disinfectant released when using the wipe.
The interaction between the disinfectant and the material the wipe is made of can be an issue. Studies have shown that certain materials absorb the active ingredient rendering the wipe less effective for disinfection purposes. In addition, mixture with other chemicals, contact time, and temperature impact the interaction of the disinfectant and the wipes.
There are multiple application methods such as, “spray and wipe”, “dip and wipe”, “soak and wipe”, and ready to use disinfectant wipes (RTUDW) also known as the “pop up” application. RTUDW are designed to be used without preparation, saving time. They’re highly recommended for surface disinfection; they have been shown to have good antimicrobial effect under multiple conditions. However, it is important to stay aware of storage time as longer storage time could cause a loss of antimicrobial activity. This method provides the lowest chance of disinfectant failure.
Wiping strategy is also a variable as applied pressure, a number of passages, remaining time on the surface, and the geometry of the mechanical action must be considered. In conclusion, the authors state, “The use of pre-impregnated disinfecting wipes is one of the most efficient and prevalent methods for the decontamination of high-touch environmental surfaces and non-critical medical devices in hospitals and other healthcare centers.”
- Song X, Vossebein L, Zille A. Efficacy of disinfectant-impregnated wipes used for surface disinfection in hospitals: a review. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2019 Aug 19;8:139. doi: 10.1186/s13756-019-0595-2. PMID: 31452873; PMCID: PMC6701098.