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Learn about the role of soft surfaces in HAI transmission, and how you can eliminate bacteria from fabrics in your facility.
Just like hard, nonporous surfaces, bacteria, viruses, and fungi can all thrive on soft surfaces for extended periods of time and contribute to the transmission of microrganisms. If left unaddressed, contaminated soft surfaces can pose a risk of infection and can undermine any hard surface disinfection routines your facility may have. Studies have demonstrated that:
1Ohl et al Hospital privacy curtains are frequently and rapidly contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria; Am J of Inf Control : on line publication; 2012. 2Neely AN, Maley MP, “Survival of enterococci and staphylococci on hospital fabrics and plastic.” J Clin Microbiol 2000; 38:724-726. 3Dianne L. DeAngelis, Rashida Khakoo, Dianne L. DeAngelis, “Hospital Privacy Curtains: Cleaning and Changing Policies - Are We Doing Enough?” Presentation Number 2-252, Poster Abstracts / American Journal of Infection Control 41 (2013) S25-S145. 4Alice N. Neely, “Persistence of microorganisms on common hospital surfaces” Infection Control Resource, Vol. 4, No. 4. Strategies to control their dissemination. http://www.infectioncontrolresource.org/Past_Issues/IC16.pdf. 51.Sexton T, Clarke P, O’Neill E, Dillane T and Humphreys H. Environmental reservoirs of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in isolation rooms: correlation with patient isolates and implications for hospital hygiene. Journal of Hospital Infection 2006;62:187-94.
Because microorganisms can live on soft surfaces, adding a routine to address soft surfaces as part of your facility’s regular infection prevention practices may help reduce the transmission of HAIs. Steps you can take include:
To ensure that your staff is preventing the spread of pathogens via soft surfaces, make sure your environmental cleaning practices address soft surfaces in these areas:
Help prevent the spread of pathogens by regularly decontaminating fabrics and upholstered furniture that can harbor dangerous pathogens, including:
As the first touchpoint for patients and families when they enter your facility, these areas are heavily trafficked and can contribute to cross-contamination if not properly cleaned. These items should be decontaminated regularly:
Nursing stations, reception desks and office spaces are all places where healthcare workers convene between patient care. Soft surfaces in these areas can become contaminated with dangerous pathogens that clinicians may inadvertently carry from one patient room to another. To prevent the spread of pathogens via soft surfaces, decontaminate these items regularly:
Learn about soft surfaces in the healthcare environment, and the role they can play in HAI transmission.
Hospital privacy curtains are frequently and rapidly contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria
(Michael Ohl, Mrin Schweizer, Maggie Graham, Kristopher Heilman, Linda Boyken, Daniel Diekema) Read Study Summary
Contamination of hospital curtains with healthcare-associated pathogens
(Trillis F 3rd, Eckstein EC, Budavich R, Pultz MJ, Donskey CJ) Read Study
Hospital Privacy Curtains: Cleaning and Changing Policies - Are We Doing Enough?
(Diane L. DeAngelis, Rashida Khakoo) Read Study Summary
Comparing the transmission potential of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii among inpatients using target environmental monitoring
(Sui W, Wang J, Wang H, Wang M, Huang Y, Zhou J, Lu X) Read Study Summary
Evaluation of Bacterial Contamination of Cubical Curtains in Contact Precaution ICU and non-ICU Rooms
(Leon Young, Carlene Muto, Anthony Pasculle) Read Study Summary
Survival of Enterococci and Staphylococci on Hospital Fabrics and Plastic
(Alice N. Neely, Matthew P. Maley) Read Study
A survey of gram-negative bacteria survival on hospital fabrics and plastics
(Neely AN) Read Study Summary
Fighting nosocomial infections with biocidal non-intrusive hard and soft surfaces
(Gadi Borkow, Alastair Monk) Read Study
Nursing and physician attire as possible source of nosocomial infetions
(Weirner-Well et al) Read Study
Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter and role of curtains in an outbreak in intensive care units
(Das I, Lambert P, Hill D, Noy M, Bion J, Elliot T) Read Study Summary
Persistence of microorganisms on common hospital surfaces
(Alice N Neely) Read Article
Persistent contamination of fabric-covered furniture by vancomycin-resistant enterococci: implications for upholstery selection in hospitals
(Noskin GA, Bednarz P, Suriano T, Reiner S, Peterson LR) Read Study Summary
The infection risks associated with clothing and household linens in home and everyday life settings, and the role of laundry
(Sally F. Bloomfield, Martin Exner, Carlo Signorelli, Kumar Jyoti Nath, Elizabeth A. Scott) Download Paper