Researchers Find Bactericidal Efficacy Varies by Towelette Product, Surface Area Wiped and Pathogen Strain

Disinfectant products are often used on environmental surfaces (e.g. countertops, patient beds) and patient care equipment in healthcare facilities to help prevent the transmission of healthcare-associated infections. Ready-to-use (RTU) disinfectants in the form of pre-wetted towelettes are increasingly popular among healthcare facilities. Currently, the EPA does not require disinfectant manufacturers to include a recommended maximum surface area per towelette on their product labels.

The objective of this study by West, et al. (2018) was to investigate the efficacy of disinfectant towelette products on a hard non-porous surface across different coverage areas using a quantitative EPA method. The researchers hypothesized that there would be significant differences in the efficacy of disinfectant towelette products, and that the greater surface area(s) wiped would result in reduced bactericidal efficacy.

This study tested 10 disinfectant towelette products against Staphylococcus aureus strain ATCC CRM-6538 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain ATCC 15442 on Formica surfaces. Defined surface areas were wiped and the towelette weighed before and after wiping to determine the amount of liquid released. Bactericidal efficacy testing was also performed after wiping following standard EPA protocols.

The researchers found that disinfectant product, area of surface wiped, and strain impacted the bactericidal efficacy achieved. Disinfectant product type and area of surface wiped significantly impacted the percent of liquid released per ft2 from the towelette.

Reference: West AM, Nkemngong CA, et al.  Surface area wiped, product type, and target strain impact bactericidal efficacy of ready-to-use disinfectant towelettes. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 2018;7:122