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Common Sense Surface Disinfecting

Through the years spent in this business, I have often been tasked with providing hospital and nursing home personnel with education about the use of surface cleaning and disinfecting wipes, among other topics.

Every education session starts with the same disclaimer……

The single most important thing you can do in a healthcare facility to reduce the spread of infection is to wash your hands.

So, if everyone washed their hands the perfect number of times per day, and that goes for me and you as well, the need for surface cleaning and disinfecting wipes would be dramatically reduced. However, perfect is impossible to define and a sink and soap are not always readily available (you can read more about that on our hand sanitizer blog).

Of all the products that we have lumped into the category of PPE the most complex, the most sophisticated, are surface cleaning and disinfecting technology products.

It’s chemistry, am I right!? If it were easy-peasy, we’d all understand the label!!! That’s part of the TB Clift commitment, to demystify some of the misunderstandings out there .

This topic can be subdivided into a number of blogs, including choosing the right product, how price factors into the decision, what is the difference in cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting and whether the chemistry is environmentally safe, among others. I will attempt to address all these topics, but let’s start with when and why.

Kate and I use cleaning and disinfecting wipes in our household and in the business. The use of the wipes in our house is limited, tempered if you wish. No reason to be gung-ho, we understand that we have good immune systems and we know that we have familiarity with each other’s skin flora.

Our focus at home includes the bathroom and the food prep areas of the kitchen. We find the use of surface cleaning/disinfecting wipes in the bathroom to be a no-brainer.

Excellent one-step cleaning and disinfecting using our wipes saves time, is very effective and leaves us with a sense that we zero balanced the room.

The food prep areas in the kitchen make sense to us as well. We don’t want to leave the smallest morsels that may lead to the growth of germs.

That is about it, although we reserve the right to clean some high touch surfaces after a night of family and friends. No reflection on our family and friends, just a lot of hands touching some of the same surfaces. With high touch surfaces, like doorknobs for instance, what one person leaves behind having touched the surface another person picks up when they touch that same doorknob.

All good when hand washing and/or sanitizing is the next step, but not always good if your next step is unconsciously moving your hand to your mouth and face.

In the office, there is a tendency to be more diligent. Like other business groups, we refer to ourselves as family, after all, we do see each other 5 days a week and we share common goals and practices, but let’s face it, it’s not living in a home kind of family.

So, we do take some extra precautions around high touch surfaces. We tend to think of door handles, small kitchen appliances, the shared printer/copier, the debit machine and anything else that may have shared usage. And, of course, with customers dropping in, we want to assure them that all the surfaces they may touch during their visit have been cleaned and disinfected since our last customer.

In the next blog in this series, we will address the label, what to look for, what is missing and how to interpret.


Rick Clift


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