Friday, July 2, 2010

Disinfection

There is some confusion in cleaning as to what the difference is between sanitizing and disinfecting. There is also confusion as to what is being accomplished in a given facility.  There are really three levels of cleaning, let's have a look.

Cleaning - This involves several aspects. Usually the primary is the removal of dirt or soil loads using a mild detergent and cloth. Cleaning may involve anything from washing floors to removing spots on walls. When cleaning you will remove unwanted bacteria but not with any consitancy. This process is usually sufficient in most areas and most facilities.

Sanitizing - Refers to the removal of 99.9% of bacteria from the surface being sanitized. Sanitizing can be performed with a chemical that has be approved as a sanitizer. To accomplish sanitizing the sanitizing should dwell or sit on the surface for 30 - 60 seconds depending on the active agent. This is the most common form of cleaning done in washrooms and kitchens by most cleaners. Sanitizing is not sufficient in critical areas, if even just one spore of bacteria is left behind within 5hrs you know have 5 million spores of bacteria. Bacteria will double every 15 minutes hence 1 will become 2 then 2 become 4 and so one.

Disinfecting - Refers to the removal of all bacteria which the disinfectant can kill. To Disinfect you should use only a DIN registered disinfectant. You also need to identify what bacteria are you trying to kill in your facility and select a disinfectant that will kill that bacteria. This information can be found on a Micro-effecacy Data Sheet. This sheet is available for all approved disinfectants and will give you dwell times and effectiveness against bacteria you are required to kill. Usual dwell time will range between 5 - 10 minutes. The surface must remain wet during this time to be effective.

What stage of cleaning do you require in your facility is the question you may need to answer. Is it cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting? When you have determined the level you require then train your staff in the proper procedures and should have very little problems.

Phil-T
"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"