Evaluation Background: Disinfectant Wipes

November 7, 2018 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's background for our Evaluations of disinfectant wipes, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the products are constructed and used, what factors we test for, and typical costs. Also review our latest product findings and ECRI Institute's data describing hospitals' interest in each vendor.

Disinfectant wipes are used to disinfect hard, nonporous surfaces. They are typically used to disinfect devices between uses on patients or to disinfect patient rooms after the patient has been discharged.

Disinfectant wipes can be fungicidal, virucidal, bactericidal, and tuberculocidal and are effective in eradicating a wide variety of pathogens. For disinfectant wipes to be considered hospital grade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that they be effective against Staphylococcus aureusand Pseudomonas aeruginosa. To be considered broad spectrum, they must also be effective against Salmonella enterica.

Disinfectant wipes may also be used to remove visible soil from surfaces in addition to disinfecting them. However, cleaning and disinfection should usually be considered separate steps. Disinfectant wipes may be registered as a one-step product if the vendor submits test reports to EPA demonstrating effective killing power under a soil load.

Disinfectant wipes have existed since 1988. They replaced washable cloth rags immersed in dilute disinfectant. Accelerated hydrogen peroxide was first registered with EPA as the active ingredient in disinfectants in 2005 and for wipes in 2009. Adjustments to towelette structure and to additives, such as surfactants, humidicants, buffers, lotions, and fragrances, continue to be developed.

The major components...

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