Cleaning Protocols

The National Patient Safety Agency has a National Colour Coding Scheme for Primary care and dental practices for cleaning equipment.

Cleaning Protocols 

To ensure a consistent approach to cleaning it is important to have a cleaning schedule set out as in the Health and Social care act 2008 Code of Practice for the decontamination of surfaces and equipment. 

Cleaning products must be kept locked away from clinical areas. COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) guidance for storage should be followed.

Cleaning equipment should be stored in a dedicated room.

Equipment used to clean high risk areas, such as surgeries and decontamination areas, should be segregated from equipment used for cleaning other areas of the practice. Doing this will help reduce the risk of transmitting harmful bacteria.

The National Patient Safety Agency has a National Colour Coding Scheme for Primary care and dental practices for cleaning equipment.

HTM 01-05 recommends that dental surgeries follow this colour coding to reduce the risk of transmitting pathogens between areas. Mops and cloths should be colour coded for each area according to the guidelines below:

  • Red - for bathrooms
  • Green - for kitchens
  • Blue -for non-clinical areas such as offices and waiting rooms 
  • Yellow – for clinical and decontamination areas

This colour scheme is different from the hospital specification which states that yellow mops, buckets and cloths are for isolation areas.

Cleaning with soap and water (or detergent wipes) is the most effective way of removing surface decontamination. 

Disinfectant should be used on higher risk areas where resistant bacteria may reside. Beware of contact times on surfaces for disinfectants to be effective against microorganisms such as viruses, MRSA and HIV.

Always follow the instructions for use on products used for cleaning. 

Never attempt to disinfect a visibly dirty surface, clean with detergent first prior to disinfecting.

Damp dust surfaces such as high cupboards and shelving. Dry dusting will transfer dust into to the atmosphere.

Use disposable wipes impregnated with detergent or disinfectant.

The use of refillable spray bottles is not advised as the spray mechanism cannot be cleaned effectively. This is a potential growth area for bacteria. 

If a disposable spray is used, spray onto a cloth before wiping a surface or equipment. The act of aerosol being sprayed on a contaminated surface can disperse the contaminate into the atmosphere spreading possible infection.

Avoid use of alcohol as a cleaning agent on dental instruments as this will bind blood to a stainless steel surface, and putrescence of proteins could make the alcohol ineffective.

Periodical steam cleaning in clinical areas is a good idea but is expensive and deems a surgery or decontamination room out of action for the duration of the clean.

Ensure that staff are trained in the tasks they perform, and the products they use. This creates a consistent approach to effective cleaning. The use of Personal Protective Equipment when cleaning is important to protect against both contaminant and the cleaning products.

A policy for cleaning protocols should contain the following:

  • Surfaces and equipment will be cleaned between each patient and thoroughly at the end of the session.
  • Surfaces and equipment used in the decontamination processes will be will be cleaned before and after each decontamination process cycle.
  • Zones need to be set up to identify clean are non-clean areas.
  • The cleaning process will be most effective if the more contaminated rooms are cleaned first.
  • Return materials and chemicals used to designate areas away from the clinical area.
  • Store chemicals according COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to health) regulations.
  • Use of disposable cloths or wipes and mop heads wherever possible.
  • Keep logs and records of episodes of cleaning for assurance as outlined in the health and social care act 2008.