Sterile matters: A little more of this or that does not really help you, even if you think it smells cleaner

By: July 9th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The saying “more isn’t always better” is true in the case of detergents and disinfectants. Cleaning solutions are not all the same. They have different purposes and require different application techniques. Failure to follow the exact manufacturers’ instructions not only potentially reduces the efficacy of the solution, but it also may be harmful.

It is usually understood that mixing chemicals is never appropriate. However, if we are honest, I suspect some reading this post might agree that at times “more” of a chemical might be added here or there, if something looks particularly dirty or feels unusually greasy. Beware of this practice, as it is potentially unsafe for you and/or the patients you support.

Here are just a couple of reasons why this practice is not acceptable:

  • Using more, less, adding another chemical or practicing anything outside of the specific manufacturer’s instructions results in using a product “off-label”, which is not allowed.
  • Adding more might cause a chemical film to remain on the products it intended to clean. Subsequently, this risks exposure of the chemical to staff or patients.
  • Adding an additional amount of chemical might have a negative effect on your devices, which could be costly.

Manufacturer’s instructions are there for a reason. Most importantly, the chemical was validated under the parameters it is being sold to be public. We must follow the instructions for this reason, alone. The result will be better results with its use and it will help to maintain a safe workplace environment!


By Alice Freund on July 16th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

we had a unit clerk who used very concentrated disinfectant (what we used to clean the floors with) on nurse’s station and caused one employee to almost go into anaphalactic shock. She became so allergic to the hospital disinfectant that she had to be relocated to the OR, where a different disinfectant was used.

And , as many practitioners dont realize, you do not need disinfectant on the floors. Its a waste of money and unecessary and potentially dangerous practice.


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