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2007 Disinfection Guidelines
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Disinfection Guidelines

Page updated 30 April 2007

Disinfection Guidelines

Key Points

Cleaning is the key to disinfection

Clean using detergents in the first instance

Chemical disinfection is rarely needed in hospitals

Single use devices must never be reprocessed or re-used

Availability of Antiseptics and Disinfectants

Disinfectants and antiseptics are expensive and often ineffective so they tend to be used excessively and ineffectually. The most effective means of disinfection, that is the reduction of microbial contamination, is thorough cleaning. Chemical disinfectants are ineffective in the presence of dirt. They may be inactivated by dirt, biological fluids or by rubber. They may destroy certain substances, particularly rubber and metal. Antiseptics may reduce bacterial counts on the surface of the skin or a wound but rarely enhance and more likely will interfere with healing.

Domestic Cleaning Agents

 

 

References

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994. Approved Codes of Practice. Health and Safety Commission.

Gardner J, Peel M. Introduction to Sterilisation, Disinfection and Infection Control. 1991 Melbourne :Churchill Livingstone.

A protocol for the local decontamination of surgical instruments. NHS Estates, London

Variant Creutzfeld Jakob disease (vCJD): minimizing the risk of transmission. 1999 HSC 1999/178

Controls assurance in infection control: decontamination of medical devices. 1999 HSC 1999/179

Decontamination of medical devices. 2000 HSC 2000/32

Medical Devices Directive. 1993 93/42/EEC Annex 1 ER 13.6,h

NHS Estates, Department of Health. A protocol for the local decontamination of surgical instruments. 2001

Consumer Protection Act. 1987 (6)

Sterilizers HTM 2010

Washer-disinfectors HTM2030

Use of spirit-based solutions during surgical procedures requiring the use of electrosurgical equipment. Medical Devices Agency MDA SN 2000/17

Walter WG, Schillinger JE. Bacterial survival in laundered fabrics. Appl Microbiol 1975; 29 :368-73

Blaser MJ, Smith PG, Cody HJ, Wang WL, Laforce FM. Killing of fabric-associated bacteria in hospital laundry by low temperature washing. J Infect Dis 1984; 149 :48-57

Ayliffe GAJ. Question and answer: is it acceptable to wash nurses' uniforms at home? J Infect Control Nursing 1989; 65 (9):75

Callaghan I. Bacterial contamination of nurses' uniforms. Nursing Stand 1998; 13 :37-42

Nicholes PS. Bacteria in laundered fabrics. Am J Public Health 1970; 60 :2175-2180

APIC guideline for the selection and use of disinfectants. Am J Infect Control 1996; 24 :313-342

Instruments and appliances used in the vagina and cervix: recommended methods of disinfection. Safety Action Bulletin 94/22. 1994 Department of Health, London

Ritter MA, Eitzen HE, French MLV, Hart JB. The effect that time, touch and environment have upon bacterial contamination of instruments during surgery. Am Surg 1976; 184 :642-644