Hygiene Protocols Update : Surface Cleaning Wipes

by Andrea Darby - Master Medical Tattooist & Industry Educator

Surface cleaning wipes always help to remove unwanted micro-organisms from the salon surfaces ... or do they?

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Most practitioners would have seen our previous publication1 outlining some of the risks associated with Salon Acquired Infections (SAI) often called Nosocomial or Hospital Acquired Infections by the healthcare community.

Antibiotic resistant micro-organisms can cause health care staff and their patients serious problems once they become established in the health care facility and eradication can be particularly challenging. Similarly Cosmetic Tattoo technicians need to be aware of the risks of contamination in the salon facility and any patient who has had a skin infection in their household the previous 6 months has a greater risk of having reservoirs of antibiotic resistant micro-organisms in their homes

Those who have completed our training program or attended any of our lectures would know that we have constantly advocated 'single wipe single surface' meaning that surface cleaning wipes should only ever be used on a single surface i.e. a wipe should not be used to clean one surface and then be used on subsequent surfaces. The reason for this recommendation is due to the risk of transference of micro-organisms from one surface to another on the cleaning wipe.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom3 has highlighted just how important this recommendation is.

The research team tested seven different detergent wipes in regards to their ability to remove three of the more common hospital super-bugs from surfaces, MRSA, clostridium difficile and acinetobacter baumannii based on the European standard method for chemical disinfectants using a wiping procedure that lasted 10 seconds. Their findings were quite sobering to say the least they found that the wipes were not consistent in the removal of bacteria from hospital surfaces and all wipes tested repeatedly spread significant amounts of bacteria over three consecutive surfaces.

Question: What does this mean?

It means that if you are using surface wipes across more than one surface when conducting your cleaning procedures you are actually doing more harm than good because you are probably spreading micro-organisms around in your salon rather than removing them.

Professor Jean-Yves Maillard one of the study authors was quoted as saying;

"This is the first report on the effectiveness of the most used detergent wipes in hospitals and what we’ve found is that in all too many cases they are not up to the job, with results showing huge variability.

Our tests show that although the detergent wipes succeed in removing super-bugs, they immediately transfer them when the wipe is used on a different surface.

Wet wipes are generally good products, but the efficacy of these products can be improved,” he said.
“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."


We recommend that all technicians revisit their salon cleaning procedures and ensure that they are complying with our long standing recommendation of 'single wipe single surface' cleaning policy and that cosmetic tattoo trainers review their training programs to ensure that they are in compliance with all contemporary infection prevention practices.



Date of most recent revision: 03/06/2015 (mutatis mutandis)
Original publication date: 03/06/2015

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