Disinfection is one of the most important processes in ensuring a safe process in today’s medical/health workspace. Here are a few steps on how to clean and maintain your lab and achieve a clean and safe work area.
What to Use
There are several media by which to effectively disinfect you, your PPE or your work surfaces.
A liquid comprising mostly of the powerful anti-microbial derivative of a synergistic combination of two powerful biocides and specific potentiator chemistry. This effectively eliminates harmful bodily fluids, spores, micro-organisms, viruses, moulds and lipid and non-lipid viruses. This is usually used in medical applications and is a powerful and potent solution which may be harmful to the skin. Decontaminants also are usually high-volume products for high areas of contamination.
A liquid using spirits or a form of alcohol solution to kill bacteria. This is suitable for healthcare but is also suited to public places such as airports, offices, hospitality, public transport or bathrooms.
The first ‘Australian Made’ wipe by Westlab. IPA (IsoPropyl Alcohol) wipes usually contain around 70% alcohol, and work on the same principle as hand sanitisers. This percentage of alcohol is necessary to ensure it stays on the surface long enough to effectively kill germs. These wipes are a high-quality IPA wipe manufactured here in Australia. Hospital Grade. Available for export with a current production capacity of 50,000 canisters per week.
Detergents are helpful for cleaning equipment or supplies such as glassware, tools or clothing. This is the best form of cleaning for water-compatible/washable products. Detergents (including hand wash) are proven to actually be more effective in killing resident viruses or germs on surfaces that sanitisers. Where sanitisers rely on alcohol exposure for germicide, detergents contain powerful and effective surfactants which chemically bind water with contaminants such as oils, solids and bacteria. Once the detergent has been applied properly, rinsing with water will ensure that all contaminants disappear. Look for detergents that are designed especially for the laboratory or are authentic hospital-grade detergents to ensure the right application.
You all know it – hand sanitiser is a primarily alcohol-based gel or solution which is rubbed onto the hands to kill germs. Look for sanitiser with 60-70% alcohol content. These ensure the alcohol stays on the hands long enough to be effective, but also don’t have so much gel that it leaves your hands sticky. Poor sanitisers will be too ‘solid’ and will not dry off the hand properly. Good sanitiser is that which is easy to rub over the hands, and easy to forget about within about a minute, but with enough alcohol to kill bacteria on the hands.
UV exposure – while debated online via doubtful web users – can effectively disinfect items such as glasses, shields or tools. UV sanitisers come in the form of a small cabinet lined with mirrors, with one or two UV-C light globes. UV-C is the most powerful and harmful of the UV spectrum, and is germicidal. This requires protective measures as UV can cause severe skin and eye damage if not shielded through a special light filter, which is usually included on the cabinet. UV injury to the eyes is similar to severe welding flash, to the point that temporary blindness could occur. However, its application in infection prevention is highly effective, and does not require powerful chemicals, heat, physical contact or the use of consumables such as wipes.