Residual Efficacy: What Is the Ideal Disinfectant for Health Care Facilities?


The best disinfectant needs to be fast-acting and remain wet for the entire contact time in a single application. What else is required?

Countless disinfectants are on the market, but not all of them are made equally. What do health care professionals look for in the ideal disinfectant? One of the criteria is residual properties.

To discuss this topic, Peter Teska, global healthcare sector expert for Diversey Holdings, spoke to Infection Control Today® (ICT®). He and Jim Gauthier, MLT, CIC, senior clinical advisor, infection prevention for Diversey Holdings, gave a presentation on residual properties in disinfectants at the Association for Health Care Environment (AHE) annual conference: AHE Exchange, AHE Conference & Solution Center, held on October 3 to 5, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.

“Our talk is on residual efficacy,” Teska told ICT®. “These are disinfectants that have residual properties that can be applied to environmental surfaces. We're [talked] a little bit about what the need is, [and] why customers in health care facilities are looking for this sort of technology. I talk[ed] about some of the various technologies that are being introduced onto the market. And then we talk[ed] about test methods and then a short group of studies on these products that have appeared in the clinical evidence base, and [finally] talk about what's being shown in the studies and what's not.”

The authors discussed during the presentation the criteria of a model disinfectant in health care spaces. The disinfectant would be broad spectrum, killing pathogens found in health care that are of most concern. It must be fast-acting and remain wet for the entire contact time in a single application. This ideal disinfectant must not be affected by organic soil, hard water, or other environmental factors.

The next point of the disinfectant’s criteria would be that it is non-toxic and non-irritating to the user and has the lowest possible safety risk to the user. The disinfectant should be proven compatible with common health care surfaces and equipment. Finally, it should have persistence, meaning it should have a residual effect on surfaces in a health care space.

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