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When & When Not to Use a Disinfecting Solution

Our Opinion of When & When Not to Use a Disinfecting Solution

A Focus on Killing Germs Can Exacerbate a Nosocomial Infection Pandemic

We feel that it is more healthy to focus a housekeeping staff's efforts on removing soil rather than on killing germs.

Soil is something existing where it is not wanted.

e.g. Milk in a glass is commonly considered food for the body... but, on the floor it is commonly referred to as soil—residence and food supply for germs.

  • Germs do not have stomachs for storing food. They must live in soil for a continuous food supply. Germs give off odorous digestive gasses.
  • Soil is generally visible to the naked eye and germs are not. It is safer to see that a surface is clean than it is to assume that all germs were killed by a disinfectant/detergent solution (D/DS) treatment.

A healthy facility minimizes the presence of germs.

  1. Using cold (unheated) water for washing helps deliver healthier results because cold water causes soil binders (grease, oil, & fat) to float away from the surface being cleaned. Hot water causes soil binders to melt, spread, and reattach to trap more soil and consequently more germs—possibly deadly germs.
  2. A cold water detergent must thoroughly separate soil from a surface without leaving residue—“left behind” soil—to feed breeding germs. Also, a quality cold water detergent will foster thorough removal of germ-laden soil from wet mops while being used in a mop bucket filled with relatively clean wash water. By running fresh cold water through a mop (e.g. at the slop sink), you will release virtually all of the soil. Wet Mop laundering should not be required to achieve clean reusable mops unless mopping is being done in a specific hospital/nursing home isolation/clean area environment where wet mops are machine washed and rinsed to "double the effort" to ensure total removal of soil that may contain highly-infectious germs. Wet mops rinsed well should be reusable most anywhere... and, well-rinsed wet mops will not emit sour odors during storage. Success in all of this will hinge on the quality of the cold water detergent being used.
  3. A healthcare facility surface (wall, floor, counter, etc.) needs to have maximum soil resistance to optimize washing efficacy.
  4. It is imperative that virtually all of a washing solution be removed from a surface. A few reasons for a well-mopped or vacuumed floor not drying in a few minutes: 1.) Too much solution being left behind, 2.) Humidity being higher than normal, and 3.) "Left behind" soil holding on to moisture. Microfiber Mops & Cloths work better than standard absorption materials because microfibers hold 7 times their weight in liquid.

What to know about the disinfecting process.

Even a flawless D/DS application becomes contaminated by the first touch of a hand, shoe, clothing, etc. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to apply a D/DS on anything that gets used more than once between cleanings. e.g. floor, telephone, doorknob, sink, toilet, drinking fountain, etc.

Trying to wash away accumulated soil and totally disinfect the surface at the same time is virtually impossible and very risky. Germs that are resistant to a disinfectant may live through a 'wash & disinfect' treatment to multiply in any “left behind” soil. With no competition for soil space from the 'killed' germs, the surviving germs become the dominant germs in the soil—thriving strain(s) of supergerms able to live through an attack of the commonly used D/DS. A process that elevates the risk for life-threatening nosocomial infections.

Washing surfaces after each use (e.g. surgical table) followed by a D/DS treatment will help kill newly-arriving airborne germs for a few hours or until the surface’s next use. Thus, the key to a successful disinfecting process is: First remove the soil and then apply a D/DS to a CLEAN surface—to be used only once before the 'wash, rinse well, and then disinfect' process is conducted.

Our Recommendation: Test our Fast-1-2-3 EFP ® Cold Water Detergent. Fast-1-2-3 EFP will be the most remarkable all purpose detergent you will have ever tried. If disinfecting is to follow, you’ll be applying the D/DS solution to a properly washed and rinsed surface. All disinfectant/detergent container labels instruct that the D/DS be applied to a "pre-cleaned" surface.

After testing Fast-1-2-3 EFP, let’s discuss results and your requirements. We’ll help improve staff performance while slashing costs up to 50% or more.

If you have a question, please feel free to contact me at gabesr@gabrielfirst.com or call me at 800-873-2000
Gabe Zanche, Sr. - Co-Founder of Gabriel First Corp. Copyright © 2006 Gabriel First Corp.

Please feel free to contact the Gabriel team if you have any comments or questions on this material.