Tables and Figure: Table 3

Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008)

Epidemiologic evidence associated with the use of surface disinfectants or detergents on noncritical environmental surfaces

Justification for Use of Disinfectants for Noncritical Environmental Surfaces

  • Surfaces may contribute to transmission of epidemiologically important microbes (e.g., vancomycin-resistant Enterococci, methicillin-resistant S. aureus, viruses)
  • Disinfectants are needed for surfaces contaminated by blood and other potentially infective material
  • Disinfectants are more effective than detergents in reducing microbial load on floors
  • Detergents become contaminated and result in seeding the patient’s environment with bacteria
  • Disinfection of noncritical equipment and surfaces is recommended for patients on isolation precautions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Advantage of using a single product for decontamination of noncritical surfaces, both floors and equipment
  • Some newer disinfectants have persistent antimicrobial activity

Justification for Using a Detergent on Noncritical Environmental Surfaces

  • Noncritical surfaces contribute minimally to endemic healthcare-associated infections
  • No difference in healthcare-associated infection rates when floors are cleaned with detergent versus disinfectant
  • No environmental impact (aquatic or terrestrial) issues with disposal
  • No occupational health exposure issues
  • Lower costs
  • Use of antiseptics/disinfectants selects for antibiotic-resistant bacteria (?)
  • More aesthetically pleasing floor
Modified from Rutala.378

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