Can I have carpeting and cloth furnishings in the dental operatory?
Carpeting is harder to keep clean than nonporous, hard-surface flooring, and cannot be reliably disinfected, especially after spills of blood and body substances. Several studies have documented the presence of diverse microbial populations, primarily bacteria and fungi, in carpeting. Cloth furnishings pose contamination risks similar to those of carpeting in areas of direct patient care and areas where contaminated materials are managed (i.e., dental operatories, laboratories, instrument processing areas). For these reasons, carpeted flooring and furnishings upholstered with fabric should not be used in these areas.
Selected References and Additional Resources
CDC. Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities. Recommendations of CDC and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) (PDF–1.3M).2003. Web access only. Recommendations section printed MMWR 2003;52(RR10);1-42.
Gerson SL, Parker P, Jacobs MR, Creger R, Lazarus HM. Aspergillosis due to carpet contamination. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1994;15:221–223.
Skoutelis AT, Westenfelder GO, Beckerdite M, Phair JP. Hospital carpeting and epidemiology of Clostridium difficile. Am J Infect Control 1993;22:212–217.
US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 29
CFR Part 1910.1030.
Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens; needlestick and other sharps
injuries; final rule. Federal Register 2001;66:5317–5325.
Updated from and including 29 CFR Part 1910.1030. Occupational exposure to
bloodborne pathogens; final rule. Federal Register
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reviewed: September 9, 2011
Page last modified: September 9, 2011
Content source: Division of Oral Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion