Cleaning and disinfecting play a vital role in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), so a lot goes into choosing the best disinfecting product for your facility. In a recent article published in the American Journal of Infection Control, researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine studied the value of ready-to-use cleaning and disinfection wipes compared with the traditional towel and bucket method and found that using ready-to-use wipes led to significantly higher compliance, a more rapid cleaning and disinfection process, and potential cost savings1. However, it is important to remember that not all disinfecting wipes are created equal.

Cost is an obvious, and often decisive factor in purchasing decisions but it is also important to understand how much surface area one wipe will cover and the impact that a disinfectant wipe’s wet-contact time can have on compliant use.

A Closer Look at “Wettability”

Several factors impact a wipe’s “wettability,” or the ability of the disinfectant liquid to maintain contact with solid surfaces. Understanding the factors that impact how the disinfectant is released from the wipe will help the savvy consumer choose the most effective product.

• Loading Ratio:

Loading ratio refers to how much disinfectant is added to a dry canister of wipes and that disinfectant-to-wipe ratio determines how wet each wipe will be. A well-engineered product will have enough disinfectant to fully saturate each wipe, which in turn is what allows the treated surface to remain wet for the entire contact time.

• Absorbency and Release:

How the disinfectant is absorbed by the wipe and then released onto the surface depends on the wipe material and disinfectant formulation. The type of fiber and the amount and type of surfactant used in the formulation will either enhance or reduce the disinfectant absorption rate and can play a key role in the wettability, compliance and cost of the product.

Product Selection, Cost and Quality of Care

Beyond the vale implications of surface coverage and the mechanics of disinfectant release for efficient product use, the most important reason to understand just how far one wipe will go is product efficacy.

Misuse of disinfectant wipes leads to insufficient disinfection and can put patients and staff at risk. No matter what type of disinfecting wipe is used, it is important to remember that the best results are only achieved when they are used correctly.

With the cost of caring for patients with a HAI estimated to be approximately $30,000 per case2, be sure to ask yourself, how wet is this wipe?

For more information about healthcare environmental disinfection and product options, visit