Disinfecting, etc.

All commercial cleaners “use disinfectants.”

Almost no janitor truly “disinfects” tho.
Disinfecting requires wet dwell time – usually in excess of 10 minutes. If you see a janitor wiping a surface with a disinfectant soaked cleaning towel or spraying a disinfectant on and immediately wiping it off, it is unlikely that the surface was actually disinfected.
Because the disinfectant didn’t ( and must) remain wet on the surface for 10 minutes – required to actually kill all the pathogens.
Disinfecting also requires use of multiple disinfecting agents – how many time’s have you seen someone wipe a surface (even assuming they left it wet for the 10 minute dwell time) with one sort of disinfecting agent (say a quaternary ) and then followed immediately with a second disinfecting agent (say a phenolic) also allowing it to dwell wet for 10 minutes or so ?
Try never.
It’s no problem to do this – that’s NOT why it isn’t happening, by the way.
It is a problem to get commercial cleaning customers to pay for it – you’d double or triple your cleaning budget – and the only places willing to pay for the required janitorial labor are surgeries where they actually cut into the body and very dirty procedure rooms like say procto rooms.
“oh my goodness – we’re not perfectly disinfecting everything every day – then why aren’t more people dying?? “
A couple of reasons.
1) Disinfecting means killing down to a very low level (near 0% ) of residual pathogens. Getting to 1% is not technically disinfecting, but it is 99% better then doing nothing. It’s not, however, good enough with immune compromised patients such as cancer chemotherapy folks.
2) Most pathogens need food. We do almost as much to reduce infection with non disinfecting cleaners that are highly effective at removing the organic soils that pathogens live on (and the pathogens at the same time). Again – not necessarily good enough for the
immune compromised tho.
In fact, if you are not going to allow the necessary dwell time there is at least an argument that you are better off using a highly effective non-disinfecting cleaner than improperly using a true disinfectant that leaves more soil.
3) We are dying from this. After tobacco and obesity, hospital acquired infections are supposedly now the third leading cause of death in the US. Not as many varieties or as much severity of pathogens in the average office – remember who’s using hospitals – so not as big a problem in most situations we see in our customers.
4) On a personal note – never be the last patient of the day in an out patient surgery. My old man went partially blind from an infection he picked up as the 8 th cataract surgery of the day – I’m pretty sure the other 7 didn’t – and while we’ll never know for sure that he wouldn’t have been infected if he’d gone in at 8 AM, how would you bet it ?? Pretty profitable day for the surgeon tho ??
More to the point what time of day are you going to schedule your next procedure ?
I’ll expand this to cover terms like “sanitizing” that are equally misused at a later date.
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