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Wiping out bacteria with new Microfibre technology

With hygiene at the top of the agenda in healthcare, James Taylor, director of product marketing at Chicopee, explains the importance of choosing the most appropriate cleaning cloth to efficiently clean surfaces and wipe out bacteria, whilst reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

Inadequate hygiene is acknowledged to be one of the main causes of Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs) in hospitals with an estimated 4 million cases reported annually in Europe alone.

The related statistics are more than surprising, they are shocking; 37,000 people die every year because of HAIs, an extra 16 million days are spent in hospital annually (an average of four extra days per patient with HAI), and the indirect financial losses are estimated to be €7 billion per year.

The good news is that 20% of HAIs are preventable by implementing a thorough cleaning protocol using well-chosen, effective products. The choice of cleaning cloth is crucial and short-term use is advised. A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that typical laundering practices were insufficient for removing potentially harmful bacteria from reusable woven Microfibre cloths. 93% of cloths commonly used to clean hospital rooms, tested after laundering, still contained bacteria that could trigger HAIs.

Despite this, reusable woven Microfibre cloths have been popular over the past ten years thanks to their effective mechanical cleaning effect and reduced chemical usage. However, many people are unaware of what a Microfibre cloth is. Talking to customers, our market research discovered they were unaware that it is actually the individual physical fibres within the cloth that create the great cleaning effect. What’s more, until recently, the majority of Microfibre cloths were woven and heavy duty.

Chicopee is at the cutting edge of a new breed of Microfibre cloth. Lighter in weight and engineered for the task at hand, they offer all the same great cleaning effectiveness and 99.99% microbe removal, without the need to launder and often with increased effectiveness on sensitive surfaces such as stainless steel, glass and touchscreens.

Another key issue is what happens to the microbes when collected in the cloth? Traditional cotton cloths have been found to transfer up to 32% of microbes collected from one surface to another, meaning that all the hard work and time spent cleaning, is somewhat in vain. The new Microfibre cloths trap the bacteria in the cloth until rinsed out under water.

Whilst Microfibre cloths are now used as a household generic term, they are not all the same, with some cloths containing as little as 20% Microfibres. This dilutes the cleaning effect, and leaves the consumer unsure what to expect when they buy a ‘Microfibre’ cloth.

Chicopee’s Microfibre Light is manufactured using a high-pressure water system, which splits individual fibres to be 80% finer than standard Microfibres. The result is a cloth manufactured from 100% Microfibres, which has been externally tested to show removal of 99.99% of bacteria from surfaces, transferring 0% to a second surface. Designed for short-term use, followed by disposal, Microfibre Light also reduces the time cleaning staff have to spend on non-value added tasks, making the cloth ideal for the healthcare and facilities management sector, where time really equals money.

Alongside Microfibre Light, Chicopee has engineered a range of cleaning cloths and wipes, all with their own unique properties, to meet the broad scope of cleaning challenges presented in healthcare.

Critical environments such as operating theatres require advanced and reliable cleaning solutions such as Chicopee’s Cleanroom Sterile Wipes. Containing low levels of ions and organic extractables, these cloths are gamma-irradiated to eliminate bacteria and meet ISO Class 5. They offer superior strength, whether wet or dry, excellent absorption, low lint and come in durable double sealed packaging.

Delicate healthcare equipment requires a particular kind of wipe that combines softness with high absorbency. The unique open structure of Chicopee’s Triko-Tex meets this requirement and has been designed for maximum pick-up of fine dust and dirt from sensitive instruments.

Using Chicopee’s new generation disposable cloths and wipes, which have been developed specifically with the healthcare sector in mind, can be a first crucial step in not only reducing the 20% of HAIs preventable by using more effective cleaning materials, but also reducing the number of avoidable days spent in hospital each year, not to mention the associated costs.

Press Release

Cleaning Matters – September 2015 – (Page 30)