Detergent wipes: The bad & the ugly


The bad news first: The effectiveness of using wet wipes to eliminate bacteria in homes and hospitals is hugely variable, a new study has determined. Now, the ugly: use of the wipes could be doing more to spread infection than mitigate it.

Researchers tested seven types of detergent wipes using a 10-second cleaning procedure on bacteria associated with MRSA, C. diff and Acinebactor, according to the American Journal of Infection Control paper. In every case the bugs stayed on the wipe and were transferred from one surface to another, spreading rather than being eliminated.

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“Wet wipes are generally good products, but the efficacy of these products can be improved,” Jean-Yves Maillard, PhD and lead author of the paper, said in a statement. “Hospital staff must be educated to ensure these products are used properly and will not cause an unnecessary risk to staff and patients — a single wipe should not be used on multiple surfaces.”