Moving Towards a Quantitative Assessment Method for Characterizing Surface Damage to Hospital Assets from Manual Disinfection

Peter Teska1

1Global Infection Prevention Application Expert, Diversey Inc, USA

Introduction: In this presentation, the learners will be exposed to a series of studies that have investigated the issue of surface damage and a discussion of several common methods currently used for assessing surface damage including the strengths and limitations of these methods. The difference between mechanical and chemical surface damage will be discussed and demonstrated visually through microscopy images.

A quantitative method of characterizing surface damage is proposed and data is presented for a range of common healthcare disinfectants on a number of typical healthcare surfaces to demonstrate how this characterization method can provide insights into the degree of compatibility between a disinfectant and a surface while also considering the general compatibility between a surface and a range of disinfectants. Lastly, the presentation shows the results of a recent study that used the proposed characterization method to compare a range of commercial disinfectant wipes (names removed) on a range of surfaces to show how certain surfaces are inherently at a higher risk of surface damage, regardless of the disinfectant wipe that is being used.

Methods: A convenience sample of 6 disinfectant wipes were applied to 7 surfaces using a machine made to simulate manual wiping. Surfaces were wiped 200 and 400 times before being analysed by water contact angle, FTIR, optical microscopy, and AFM or Optical Profilometry.

Results/Conclusions: All disinfectants showed some damage to the various surfaces, with some surfaces showing significant amounts of damage, while others showed minimal damage. Water contact angle proved to be a simple test to show damage has occurred and the other methods were useful in characterizing the type of damage and degree of damage that occurred.

Learning Objectives:

  1. We will review a series of studies from the literature to ensure the learners have a solid evidence base for the discussion.
  2. We will discuss a proposed quantitative surface damage characterization method that can be used to measure the amount of surface damage an asset has experienced.
  3. We will review data from a recent study that applied this damage characterization method.


Peter Teska currently works for Diversey Inc as the Global Infection Prevention Application Expert. In his role he leads Diversey’s external research, provides customer support on Infection Prevention issues related to environmental hygiene, writes technical literature and documents, presents at Infection Prevention events, monitors the scientific literature related to environmental hygiene, provides technical support to the portfolio teams in development of innovations, and provides training to Diversey’s employees and customers. He has worked as a supplier to the Healthcare industry for 23+ years, having worked in a range of technical and product marketing roles in his career.

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