CloroxPro Blog – Professional Cleaning and Disinfection Insights

A blog from industry experts devoted to public health awareness, best practices, and the role of environmental cleaning and disinfection, to promote safer, healthier public spaces.

The Hard Facts on Soft Surfaces https://www.cloroxpro.ca/blog/the-hard-facts-on-soft-surfaces/ August 19, 2020 https://www.cloroxpro.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ResizedImageWzYwMCw0MDBd-shutterstock-1224308947-small.jpg
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The Hard Facts on Soft Surfaces

Often forgotten, but always important

Disinfecting and sanitizing hard, non-porous surfaces is only half the battle.

That’s because roughly 50% of the surfaces in hospitals are, in fact, soft surfaces. But how many of us can honestly say that we tend to them on a regular basis?

Chances are, not enough of us. And many products on the market don’t have soft-surface sanitization claims.

The facts may shock you

It may not seem like an obvious or urgent need, but there are many reasons why soft-surface sanitization deserves our attention.

Here are just a few:

  • More than 50% of beds and mattresses are contaminated with MRSA1
  • 50% of doctors’ neckties carry infectious bacteria2
  • 37% of facilities only launder privacy curtains when visibly soiled3
  • Bacteria like MRSA can survive on fabrics for more than a month4
  • VRE can survive on polyester for up to 90 days4
  • Gram-negative bacilli have been observed on curtains 3 weeks after laundering5

There are more statistics that tell a similar story, but even this handful of facts should be enough to convince anyone of the risks of neglecting soft surfaces.

Just like any other surface we may encounter on a regular basis, it’s clear that soft surfaces need to be sanitized. Especially since bacteria can live on these soft surfaces for extended periods of time and contribute to the spread of infection.6

Soft surfaces are everywhere

Once you start looking around, it’s surprising just how much of our environment is composed of soft surfaces.

Be sure not to neglect these common soft surfaces in your regular cleaning routine.

Soft-surface checklist:

  • Blankets
  • Cushions
  • Mattresses
  • Chairs and couches
  • Privacy curtains
  • Window dressings and drapes
  • Carpets and mats
  • Office chairs
  • Upholstered furniture

Depending on your work environment, there may be additional surfaces beyond this list, so take a good look around. After treating, don’t forget to allow these surfaces to air-dry before using them once more.

Choosing a soft-surface sanitizer

Many products on the market don’t actually have approved soft-surface claims.

There are certain products that are both a hard-surface disinfectant and soft-surface sanitizer. These dual-registered products must undergo a two-phase regulatory approval process, after which they carry both DIN and PCP numbers on their labels.

Clorox Healthcare® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant is one such product with dual registrations (DIN 02403528, PCP 32403). Be sure to check for dual-registered products at your facility.

How to sanitize soft surfaces

Now that you know where to look, what product can you use to clean the soft surfaces you may be neglecting?

Fortunately, Clorox Healthcare® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Spray can be used for both hard-surface disinfection and soft-surface sanitization.

Keep in mind, however, that the instructions differ for each surface type. Here’s how to sanitize soft surfaces with this bleach-free disinfection-sanitization solution:

First, remove any gross or heavy soil prior to sanitizing. Then follow these three simple steps:

TIP: For first time use on soft surfaces, spot test in a small, inconspicuous area.

Soft surface awareness

We must all do our part to make soft-surface sanitization a normal part of our cleaning routines.

Clorox Healthcare® has expanded the fight against disease-causing pathogens, focusing not only on hard environmental surfaces, but also soft-surface sanitization with Health Canada-registered soft-surface sanitization claims.

Yet, as Kelly A. Reynolds (MSPH, PhD) said in a soft-surface Q&A, there’s still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to knowledge about this type of disinfection.

“I believe the biggest challenge to soft-surface decontamination is a lack of awareness surrounding the issue. Currently, there is no approved guideline or standard protocol that outlines steps for regularly treating soft surfaces in healthcare environments between launderings or for addressing soft surfaces that cannot be laundered. This lack of guidance means soft-surface decontamination often goes overlooked, which in turn can put patients, visitors and staff at risk for infection.” – Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD via Becker’s Hospital Review

If you’d like to know more about soft-surface solutions and how your facility can take sanitization and disinfection to a whole new level, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

References:

  1. Sexton T, et al. Environmental reservoirs of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in isolation rooms: correlation with patient isolates and implications for hospital hygiene. J Hosp Infect 2006;62:187-94.
  2. Nurkin S, et al. Is the clinician’s necktie a potential fomite for hospital acquired infections? 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, 2004.
  3. DeAngelis DL, Khako R. Hospital privacy curtains: Cleaning and changing policies – Are we doing enough? Am J Infect Control 2013;41(6):S25-S145.
  4. Neely AN, Maley MP. Survival of enterococci and staphylococci on hospital fabrics and plastic. J Clin Microbiol 2000;38:724-26.
  5. Woodland R, et al.Microbiological contamination of cubicle curtains in an out-patient podiatry clinic.J Foot Ankle Res 2010;3:26.
  6. Kukla C. Infection Control Today. A new frontier: The dangers of pathogens on soft surfaces. https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/environmental-hygiene/new-frontier-dangers-pathogens-soft-surfaces. Accessed January 15, 2019.