Research Output
Dos and don’ts for hospital cleaning
  Purpose of review: More evidence is emerging on the role of cleaning and decontamination for reducing hospital-acquired infection. Timely and adequate removal of environmental pathogens leads to measurable clinical benefits for patients. This article considers studies published from 2013 examining hospital decontamination technologies and evidence for cost-effectiveness.

Recent findings: Novel biocides and cleaning products, antimicrobial coatings, monitoring practices and automated equipment are widely accessible. They do not necessarily remove all environmental pathogens, however, and most have yet to be comprehensively assessed against patient outcome. Some studies are confounded by concurrent infection control and/or antimicrobial stewardship initiatives. Few contain data on costs.

Summary: As automated dirt removal is assumed to be superior to human effort, there is a danger that traditional cleaning methods are devalued or ignored. Fear of infection encourages use of powerful disinfectants for eliminating real or imagined pathogens in hospitals without appreciating toxicity or cost benefit. Furthermore, efficacy of these agents is compromised without prior removal of organic soil. Microbiocidal activity should be compared and contrasted against physical removal of soil in standardized and controlled studies to understand how best to manage contaminated healthcare environments.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 August 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    614 Incidence & prevention of disease


Dancer, S. J. (2016). Dos and don’ts for hospital cleaning. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, 29(4), 415-423.



decontamination; detergent; disinfectant; environment; hospital cleaning

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