What is the most important thing you look for when considering a surface disinfectant?
When considering a surface disinfectant, the most important feature I look for is the ability of that product to manage surface contamination effectively and efficiently. Having a busy schedule requires that I use a disinfectant with high efficacy and short contact time. I always use products that have a tuberculosis (TB) claim, a one-minute kill time, and can be used in one step. I want to ensure that any infectious disease that has entered my operatory is removed effectively in the shortest time.
I also know that it is essential to use disinfectants properly in order to prevent the spread of infection, so I always read the manufacturer instructions for use (IFUs). Not all disinfectants are used in the same way, and using them improperly will definitely allow for ongoing infection control breaches throughout my workday. Being compliant with OSHA standards and CDC recommendations is key to maintain a safe work environment and deliver safe dental treatment to my patients.
How concerned are you that your surface disinfectant not be harmful to you or the environment?
Having a safe and environmentally friendly surface disinfectant is important to me because of how often I have to use it during my workday. If I want to stay compliant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and OSHA standards for environmental prevention, then that means I will be using my disinfectant at least 20 times per day.
With that many uses, I need to know that I am not being harmed or negatively affecting the environment when performing operatory disinfection. I prefer to use a product that falls into the lowest Environmental Protection Agency toxicity category (practically nontoxic and nonirritant) but still provides high efficacy ensuring pathogens are killed. I want to feel good knowing that my clinic protocols are effective, preventing the spread of infection, and safe to implement at all times.
When using a wipe to disinfect a surface, what procedure do you follow?
When disinfecting my operatory, it is important to me that I use the disinfectant correctly. In order to do so, I read the manufacturer IFUs to formulate a proper disinfection protocol. Different disinfectants have different contact times and therefore have different IFUs based on the pathogen that is being killed. I prefer to use disinfectants that are both effective at killing pathogens and efficient, so when looking for a wipe to use, I prefer one that allows me to clean and disinfect with one wipe.
What do you do when you notice that your surface isn’t staying wet for the full kill-time needed?
Since I only have 10 minutes between patients, I implement protocols that assure that I maintain the proper contact time to kill the pathogens listed on my disinfectant’s efficacy claims.
If I notice a surface isn’t staying wet for the required kill time, then I will disinfect again with another wipe, basically adding a second step. So if I have a one-step wipe that isn’t working according to the IFUs, I most likely need to find another product.
Many products have quick kill claims, but require me to use more than one step in order to get the surface I’m disinfecting wet for that claim timeframe. To me, that is inefficient. So I look for wipes that will keep my surface wet for the required timeframe to be effective by utilizing just one wipe.
India R. Chance, RDH, is an independent compliance consultant and authorized OSHA trainer who provides continuing education courses for dental health-care providers to improve their knowledge of infection prevention and safety in the workplace environment. Nationally, she has trained hundreds of dental practice owners and teams on compliance program creation and implementation. She has been featured on several national podcasts, spoken at various dental conferences, including Dentsply Sirona World, and is a former writer for the USA Today Educators’ Blog focusing on health-care trends.