Pathogen transfer and high variability in pathogen removal by detergent wipes

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Background The rise in health care-associated infections has placed a greater emphasis on cleaning and disinfection practices. The majority of policies advocate using detergent-based products for routine cleaning, with detergent wipes increasingly being used; however, there is no information about their ability to remove and subsequently transfer pathogens in practice. Methods Seven detergent wipes were tested for their ability to remove and transfer Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Clostridium difficile spores using the 3-stage wipe protocol. Results The ability of the detergent wipes to remove S aureus, A baumannii, and C difficile spores from a stainless steel surface ranged from 1.50 log10 (range, 0.24-3.25), 3.51 log10 (range, 3.01-3.81), and 0.96 log10 (range, 0.26-1.44), respectively, following a 10-second wiping time. All wipes repeatedly transferred significant amounts of bacteria/spores over 3 consecutive surfaces, although the percentage of total microorganisms transferred from the wipes after wiping was low for a number of products. Conclusions Detergent-based wipe products have 2 major drawbacks: their variability in removing microbial bioburden from inanimate surfaces and a propensity to transfer pathogens between surfaces. The use of additional complementary measures such as combined detergent/disinfectant-based products and/or antimicrobial surfaces need to be considered for appropriate infection control and prevention.




Ramm, L., Siani, H., Wesgate, R., & Maillard, J. Y. (2015). Pathogen transfer and high variability in pathogen removal by detergent wipes. American Journal of Infection Control, 43(7), 724–728.

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