Cleaning your practice’s ‘sneeze screens’
What’s required to clean the ‘COVID-19 installed’ screens?
Reception area screens are now a standard sight in clinics throughout Australia with the likes of plastic manufacturing companies, practice managers, handypersons and DIY husbands and wives rolling up their sleeves to build and install these useful fixtures.
Now that these screens are well and truly a feature of general practice reception areas, it needs to be ensured that they are thoroughly and correctly cleaned to meet the RACGP Standards for general practices 5th edition.
Cleaning these screens falls under Criteria GP1.1: Responsive system for patient care, and GP4.1. Infection prevention and control, including sterilisation. Your infection control policy should cover the environmental cleaning of clinical and non-clinical areas of the practice.
Managing the risk of cross-infection in your practice must be minimised and practice team members need to know how to implement standard and transmission-based precautions, spills management and environmental cleaning.
Per the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare1, a two-step clean would be suitable to clean your screens2.
Your two-step clean should involve a physical clean using a detergent followed by disinfection with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)-listed hospital-grade disinfectant3 with specific claims, or a chlorine-based product such as sodium hypochlorite, where indicated for use.
Physical (mechanical or manual) cleaning is the most important step in cleaning. Per these guidelines, the sole reliance on a disinfectant, such as household-grade anti-bacterial spray, without physical cleaning, is not recommended as it will not sufficiently kill COVID-19.
Step one – physically clean the surfaces (both sides) with detergent.
Step two – clean with a TGA-listed, hospital-grade disinfectant with specific claims.
Ensure you clean all areas of the screen, holders, brackets and attachments. Suitable disinfectants for use against COVID-19 in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) for legal supply in Australia have been outlined by the TGA.
To kill germs, any disinfectant must:
- have enough time in contact with the surface to kill the germs (as per the manufacturer’s instructions)
- be used at the right concentration
- be applied to a clean, dry surface, and
- be effective against those particular germs.
The following lists are comprised of suitable physical, non-aerosol spray, disinfectant products that have been entered into the ARTG with specific claims against COVID-19 on the product label4 that comply with step two:
These disinfectants are to be used with disposable cloth/paper towels:
- Aeris Active & Evocide Extra Hospital Grade Disinfectant Cleaner
- AP439 Biosan II
- AP610 Percide
- Aussan L44 Concentrate
- Clinell Universal Sanitising Spray
- Clinicare Hospital Grade Disinfectant (liquid)
- CounterFlu Hospital Grade Disinfectant
- Clorox – Total 360 and Fuzion Cleaner Disinfectant
- Ki-ose 350 Commercial Grade Disinfectant Cleaner
- Nanocyn Disinfectant & Sanitiser
- Netbiokem DSAM Commercial Grade Disinfectant Cleaner
- S-7 XTRA – Concentrate and TRU-750ml
- SIQURA Hospital Grade Surface Disinfectant
- Taskforce Commercial Grade Disinfectant
- Trigene – Advance and Sterigene Concentrates and Solutions
- Virex II – J-flex and J-Fill
- Viraclean, and
- Zoono Z-71 Germkiller.
- Clinell – Low-Level Instrument and Universal Sanitising Wipes
- Clorox – Disinfecting Wipes, Germicidal Wipes
- Oxivir – Five 16, Tb and Tb Wipes
- Premier Disinfectant Wipes, and
- S-7 XTRA Wipes.
- Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. (May 2019). Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare. Retrieved 09 July 2020 from https://bit.ly/QN20_R1
- Australian Government Department of Health. (10 March 2020). Environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for COVID-19 (Version 1). Retrieved 10 July 2020 from https://bit.ly/QN20_R2.
- Therapeutic Goods Administration. (2020). Disinfectants, sterilants and sanitary products. Retrieved 09 July 2020 from https://bit.ly/QN20_R3.
- Therapeutic Goods Administration. (2020). Disinfectants for use against COVID-19 in the ARTG for legal supply in Australia. Retrieved 10 July 2020 from URL: www.tga.gov.au/node/904382.
- Safe Work Australia. (26 May 2020). Cleaning to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Retrieved 11 August 2020 from https://bit.ly/QN20_R4.