Add Sink Drains to Frequent Cleaning List

Study finds effective disinfection process for hospital patient room sinks

February 14, 2020

Hospital environmental services (EVS) staff focus on cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces to help eliminate health care-acquired infections (HAIs). A new study found one area they should add to their regular cleaning and disinfecting routine—sink drains in patient restrooms, Infection Control Today reports.

In the study, published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, researchers disinfected patient sinks in the medical intensive care unit of a teaching hospital in Milwaukee, testing two different cleaning formulas—one consisting of hydrogen peroxide, octanoic acid, and peroxyacetic acid and the second consisting of a hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant. They swabbed the sink drains both before and after the disinfection process to determine the number of colony-forming units (CFUs) of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase, a pathogen commonly found in patient room sink drains.

Before disinfection, all the sinks had similar baseline counts of CFU. However, after the first disinfection, the sinks cleaned with the mixture of three chemicals had a significantly lower reduction of CFUs compared to the sinks disinfected with the hydrogen peroxide-based product.

Researchers repeated the process every other day, measuring the CFU counts before disinfection to determine how many days the chemicals were effective between cleanings. They found CFU counts returned to baseline levels on day five.

Based on their results, the investigators recommended that EVS teams clean patient sink drains every three to five days with the mixture of hydrogen peroxide, octanoic acid, and peroxyacetic acid foam to prevent drains from becoming a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant pathogens.


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