At one time, wipes seemed like the perfect solution for clinical hygiene. They’re quick and easy to use, they’re already impregnated with disinfectant, and they’re single use so there’s no need to worry about washing them or spreading germs around – simply throw the used wipe in the bin and pop a fresh one out of the pack.
For all these reasons, wipes continue, and will continue, to be used for disinfection in hospitals, care homes and other high-risk environments. But there’s a problem with wipes – specifically the use of large volumes of wipes – that has caused some major problems for hospitals over the past 18 months, and that is leading many facilities to look for an alternative for disinfecting large surfaces.
Single use wipes might look and feel like they’re made from natural fibres – most are designed to have a cotton-like feel that’s soft on the skin and great for soaking up liquids or scrubbing away stains. But the vast majority of wipes are actually made from a mixture of natural and plastic fibres. The plastic gives the wipes their incredible strength and ensures they don’t disintegrate even when they’re wet.
This means that single use wipes don’t biodegrade or compost – and for this reason, they are not flushable. Unfortunately, a huge number of disposable wipes still end up being flushed down the toilet, and as a number of UK hospitals have discovered, this can wreak havoc with sewage systems. Because they don’t break down, wipes bind together with solids in waste water to form huge blockages that require specialist contractors to remove them, and can cause severe disruption as a result.
On more than one occasion since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve heard of hospitals in the UK struggling with sewer problems caused by wipes. As well as the significant cost of repair works, blocked sewers can bring hospital operations to a halt and pose a serious health risk if not resolved quickly. In addition, wipes are a major environmental pollutant that conflicts with the NHS’ commitments to reducing waste.
So what’s the answer?
One obvious answer is to ditch the wipes for any and all applications where ‘mechanical action’ is not required. Mechanical action simply means the use of manual wiping or scrubbing to remove dirt from surfaces – usually performed using wipes or cloths. But often, wipes are also used for what we call ‘stage 2 decontamination’ – which is really just the application of disinfectant to a surface in order to kill any residual pathogens after it has been cleaned.
Since VIRONEX is a no wipe formula, there’s no need for wipes! Just spray the product onto the surface using our convenient applicator wand, and leave to dry for a few minutes. VIRONEX kills 99.999% of pathogens in this way, even in dirty conditions, so it has the potential to cut wipe usage in half while also making stage 2 disinfection faster, simpler and less labour intensive for staff.
We think it’s a no brainer. To find out more or to request a VIRONEX demonstration at your facility, get in touch.