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A microbiological evaluation of hospital cleaning methods

White, Liza F. and Dancer, Stephanie J. and Robertson, C. (2007) A microbiological evaluation of hospital cleaning methods. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 17 (4). pp. 285-295. ISSN 0960-3123

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Abstract

Hospital hygiene may be associated with hospital-acquired infection. This study evaluated four hospital cleaning methods: 'mop and vacuum', 'spray clean' and 'wet scrub' for floors, and one steam cleaning method for curtains. A standardised microbiological screening method was used to sample the environment before and after cleaning in order to quantify total viable counts as well as identify specific organisms. The results showed that all floor cleaning methods reduced the overall microbial load, although high counts and bacterial pathogens occasionally persisted despite cleaning. Spray cleaning gave marginally better results than traditional mopping and vacuuming. Wet scrubbing significantly reduced levels of coagulase-positive staphylococci (p = 0.03), which, in combination with routine methods, produced an effect that persisted for at least a week. Steam cleaning of curtains also reduced microbial counts (p = 0.08), but had little effect on Staphylococcus aureus and other potential pathogens. These results might help managers assess the costs of different cleaning methods against potential infection control benefits in a hospital.