The environment plays a relatively minor role in transmitting infection, but dust, dirt and liquid residues will increase the risk. They should be kept to a minimum by regular cleaning and by good design features in buildings, fittings and fixtures. National initiatives such as The Health Act 2006, Essential steps to Safe Clean Care (2006), Towards cleaner hospitals and lower rates of infection (2004), and NHS Estates Healthcare Facilities Cleaning Manual (2009) all promote the importance of cleanliness in the healthcare environment, to assist in tackling the problem of healthcare acquired infections.
Work surfaces and floors should be smooth-finished, intact, durable of good quality, washable and should not allow pooling of liquids and be impervious to fluids. All surfaces should be kept clear of unnecessary equipment or clutter to ensure regular and thorough cleaning can occur. The most important component of an effective cleaning programme is the regular removal of dust from all horizontal surfaces.
GPD and water should be used for all environmental cleaning – follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Disinfectant such as a chlorine releasing solution, should only be used to decontaminate spills of body fluids, or for “terminal” cleaning of an area after a known case or outbreak of infection.
Walls require spot cleaning to remove splashes/marks.
Difficult to reach/clean areas should have contracts arranged for regular planned preventive maintenance and cleaning e.g. behind radiator guards, fans, ventilation units/grills etc.
All cleaning equipment should be colour-coded for different areas of use, as per National colour-coding guide.
The water used for cleaning, in buckets, must be changed frequently and disposed in a sluice sink. Clean the mop handle and bucket after use. Dry and store bucket inverted.
Mop heads should be removed after each use for laundering in a hot wash and then stored dry but