There are many germs out there in the world and many are harmless to humans. Disease-causing pathogens can be extremely dangerous to humans, like the ebola virus. As a healthcare facility manager your goal is to prevent the spread of pathogens and infection. In order to do that you need the right kind of disinfectants.
Different disinfectants are required for specific pathogens
Disinfectants are chemical agents that are used to fight and kill pathogens like viruses, bacteria, mold, fungi or mildrew on a variety of surfaces. The active ingredient in the disinfectant is made to kill pathogens by damaging their cells. There are a variety of disinfectants that can be used in your healthcare facility to break the chain of infection. This is not a comprehensive list, but a starting point to help you understand the differences in disinfecting agents.
Quaternary Ammonium Compound Disinfectants
These are also referred to as quats (Quaternary ammonium compounds). They are a common choice for disinfecting medical facilities because they are economical in cost and fast acting against a wide range of pathogens. Many are formulated to clean and disinfect. Here are some low level pathogens they kill:
- Lipid or medium viruses such as HIV
- Vegetative bacteria like MRSA and VRE
- Some types of fungi such as athlete’s foot
Alcohol Based Disinfectants
Alcohols may be effective against a large amount of pathogens when diluted in water. However, higher concentrations of alcohol may be needed to disinfect wet surfaces. Quat and alcohol are combined when fighting intermediate-level infections like:
- Nonlipid or small viruses like norovirus
- Mycobacteria pathogens like turberculosis
Bleach and H
ydrogen Peroxide Disinfectants
Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizer that’s often used in facility cleaning. It often gets mixed with bleach to achieve a thorough cleaning. It is used to fight intermediate infections like tuberculosis.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Peracetic Acid Disinfectants
Peracetic acid is produced when hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid are mixed together. This type of disinfectant is used for killing off high level pathogens like bacterial spores (Clostridium Difficile).
What are the different levels of disinfectants?
Pathogens can quickly spread from one person to another, so it is important to understand what type of disinfectant is going to be best to kill pathogens in high-touch areas.
- Low level disinfectant: Used on noncritical items that come into contact with skin. (Bed rails or medical equipment)
- Intermediate level disinfectant: Used on some critical items and non-critical items that potentially can be on you like scrubs clothing.
- High level disinfectant: Used on semi-critical items that will come into contact with body fluids or skin. (Surgical equipment)
How to use disinfectants properly
First, it is critical to find the right disinfectant for the job that you are performing. Then look up in the CDC guidelines for how to use them properly and safely. In order to ensure effectiveness for each disinfectant, it is important to follow the instructions for each disinfectant for the safety of you, your co-workers and the patients.
The process of cleaning a healthcare facility can be rigorous and overwhelming. Are you ready for the challenge? Grimebusters understands what it takes to clean a healthcare facility properly. We focus on cleaning and disinfecting to help prevent the spread of illness.
When it's time to look for a new cleaning service it may seem like a daunting task. Our FREE pricing guide will help you to determine what a cleaning service should cost for your facility. Here's what's in our guide:
- What factors determine costs
- How to request a fair cleaning quote
- How to compare hidden cost in cleaning
- Rooms and Square footage for cleaning