Manual Surface Disinfectants Must Continue to Evolve to Meet Changing Health Care Needs

Many health care facilities are looking to expand the use of broad-spectrum sporicidal disinfectants beyond patient isolation rooms to better address the role of the environment in pathogen transmission and acquisition.

Today, health care facilities have more, and better, options than ever before to help fight health care-associated infections (HAIs). In addition to legacy dilutable disinfectants that leverage quaternary ammonium compounds, technological advances in disinfectant chemistry have enabled the development of pre-mixed, ready-to-use, shelf-stable solutions that harness the power of fast-acting oxidative chemistries like bleach and hydrogen peroxide.

Many health care facilities, particularly those battling high rates of health care-associated Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection, have sought to expand the use of broad-spectrum sporicidal disinfectants beyond patient isolation rooms to better address the role of the environment in pathogen transmission and acquisition. The challenge is how to balance the potential benefits of expanded use of sporicidal disinfectants with the concerns sometimes associated with powerful disinfectant chemistries. It is also important for health care facilities to ensure environmental infection prevention measures can be implemented without causing damage to the surfaces and equipment on which they are used.

Over time, disinfecting products have evolved to better suit the needs of a changing healthcare environment and balance the dual need for efficacy and compatibility.

One example is Clorox Healthcare Fuzion Cleaner Disinfectant, a powerful formula that is US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered to kill C. difficile spores in 2 minutes but utilizes new technology that eliminates the chemical reaction that can damage surfaces and leave a residue. The formula is made up of sodium hypochlorite, and a neutralizer solution. When the trigger spray is pulled, the neutralizer combines with the sodium hypochlorite, converting it into hypochlorous acid, a highly effective form of bleach, as it is sprayed on the surface. Once the contact time is reached, the neutralizer breaks down the bleach solution so that only water and a small amount of salt remain, leaving essentially no residue on the surface. This unique method of action makes it practical for everyday use across a wide variety of surfaces, eliminating concerns about damage or costly replacements while maintaining a very low odor profile.

By selecting surface disinfectants that are compatible with a broad range of surfaces found within health care facilities, such as plastics, acrylic, laminate and stainless steel, health care facilities can maximize product use and prevent surface damage. This can help facilities standardize their cleaning and disinfecting protocols and protect their bottom lines by eliminating the need for multiple products and the risk of damage that can result in the replacement of equipment.

From physician offices to acute care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers and beyond, the right infection prevention products paired with the right protocols can make a big difference. Still, even perfect products and protocols won’t work as intended if they are not implemented or followed correctly. Ongoing education, training, and monitoring are essential to reinforce best practices and ensure compliance.

Disclosures:

Lori Strazdas, MPH is a Public Health Liaison with Clorox Healthcare. In her 12 years at Clorox, Lori has held various positions within R&D and currently focuses on the technical attributes and public health benefits of Clorox Healthcare’s diverse manual disinfecting product portfolio. She is also responsible for identifying new evidenced-based opportunities where Clorox Healthcare can help improve health outcomes and promote infection prevention and control. Prior to joining Clorox, Lori worked for the Pima County Health Department as a Communicable Disease Investigator and Epidemiologist, and in various clinical settings. Lori is a member of the American Public Health Association and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology and received both her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Master’s in Public Health Epidemiology from the University of Arizona. She was subsequently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Lithuania, where she studied the risk factors for stomach cancer, including the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.