Is the use of cleaning wipes in healthcare increasing and if so, why?
Inadequate hygiene is well known 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. Of these, 37,000 cases are fatal1. HAIs result in an extra 16 million extra days spent in hospital each year (an average of four extra days per patient with HAI), and the indirect financial losses are estimated to be €7 billion per year1.
According to the NHS National Patient Safety Agency’s (NPSA) ‘Revised Healthcare Cleaning Manual’, hospitals using Microfibre cloths have noticed that the time taken to perform cleaning tasks has reduced, and that the introduction of Microfibre has been followed by improvements in measured cleaning scores when used in accordance with manufacturers’ directions. These are significant benefits that cannot be ignored, hence the uptake of wipes.
How does the formulation/design of a cleaning wipe vary for different applications – e.g. delicate cleaning of equipment, sterile cleaning of critical environments and general cleaning?
One of the most challenging duties facing healthcare cleaning professionals is keeping all areas of a facility clean and free from contamination.
Microfibre is the material of choice, according to the NHS NPSA’s ‘Revised Healthcare Cleaning Manual’ which recognises that Microfibre mops and cloths enable the super-efficient removal of microscopic particles because they are made up of extremely fine composite synthetic fibres, engineered to have a large surface area.
In addition, the small size of the Microfibres enables them to reach into microscopic crevices in surfaces and, because the Microfibres are naturally statically charged, the combination of electrostatic attraction and capillary action allows the removal of a far greater number of contaminant particles than conventional mops and cloths.
When choosing a Microfibre cloth, it should be ensured that it is high grade 100% Microfibre to guarantee the best cleaning results possible as some cloths contain as little as 20% Microfibres which dilutes the cleaning effect.
How does the cost of using cleaning wipes compare to more traditional products such as chemicals and cloths?
From our research we expect that a disposable Microfibre solution will have an overall similar cost impact when compared to traditional laundered products. The purchase cost of the product is only a small part of the total cost to clean and labour costs must also be taken into account. More efficient cleaning products can reduce time and money, and of course using the most hygienic solutions could help cut HAIs, where there are considerable costs involved with every case.
What are the benefits of cleaning wipes for infection prevention and control?
A recent study by the American Journal of Infection Control found that 93% of woven Microfibre cloths commonly used to clean hospital rooms still contained dangerous levels of bacteria after laundering, which could trigger Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs)2.
Even the most conservative of estimates suggest that 20% of HAIs3 can be prevented each year, an annual saving equivalent to €7 billion in Europe alone1, by implementing a thorough cleaning process and using the most effective cleaning products, a huge benefit in preventing and controlling infection.
Are wipes a more effective way of preventing cross contamination?
Disposable cloths are particularly advised in healthcare settings. A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that typical laundering practices were insufficient for removing potentially harmful bacteria from reusable cloths, with 93% of the old-style cotton cloths commonly used to clean hospital rooms, tested after laundering, still contained bacteria that could trigger HAIs2.
Using a disposable cloth which has the same cleaning ability as traditional Microfibre cloths, and is manufactured from 100% Microfibre, can contribute significantly to eradicating the risk of cross contamination on hospital wards.
How can you verify kill times?
Microfibre wipes and cloths do not kill bacteria or microbes, they physically remove them. The use of heavy chemicals is now being attributed to chemical and drug resistance within hospital settings. Spores such as Clostridium difficile (C.diff) are almost immune to all chemical cleaners, so the most effective way to remove them is through mechanical cleaning.
How does the packaging of cleaning wipes facilitate ease of use and prevent wastage/drying out?
Microfibre light comes in a re-sealable pack, designed for the user to take one wipe and then reseal the pack, ensuring it is not exposed for cross contamination.
AHCP (Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals) Voice – December 2015: http://flickread.com/edition/html/index.php?pdf=5665628b390f3#24