Wiping the Surface Clean
As I sat down at a restaurant, the bus boy took his towel out and finished wiping the table clean. He used a circular motion to wipe the table. When he was done I asked him if I could have a new towel so I could show him the proper way to wipe the surface.
The actual process of decontaminating a surface is the same regardless of what you’re cleaning; a restaurant table, hospital surface or medical device. One reason is because of biofilms, surface wiping is needed to assist in the removal of surface contamination. Wiping should never be carried out in a circular motion as this causes the wipe in its most dirty state to be passed over an area which has just been cleaned. Although a circular wiping pattern is the most comfortable and convenient, it should be reinforced that this is not the best practice.
The best technique is to wipe towards you in straight horizontal lines overlapping the previous one by 10-25% each time. A contaminated wipe should not be passed over an area that has just been wiped, unless it is folded and refolded to provide a clean surface. Surface wiping should be carried out from top to bottom, from back to front, and from cleanest to dirtiest. No matter the surface you’re disinfecting or cleaning, it is always best that the wipe itself be constructed from a low linting material.
After explaining and showing him the proper technique to the young man, he better understood the importance of his job. I also felt better that my table was wiped the proper way.
It just goes to show what you can do with a little cherry Kool-Aid.
Bruno of the APTPI had a great demonstration at BMXnet this year using a UV reactive powder and lamp to show the spots missed and the extent of cross contamination. We’ve used this method for training since trying it during the Alliance of Professional Tattooists preventing disease transmission course in 1994 using GloGerm for hand washing and surface cleaning.