Study Suggests Hospitals Do Not Follow Recommendations for Bed Cleaning Products

Researchers at Xavier University suggest hospitals use chemicals that are not approved by the EPA to sanitize hospital beds, and most hospitals do not follow recommendations for appropriate use of these chemicals.

For the study, researchers queried 113 hospitals ranked by US News & World Report about their cleaning procedures for hospital beds and mattresses. Of these, 69 (61 percent) agreed to participate in the survey. They were asked questions ranging from what chemicals they use to clean their beds and mattresses to how the cleaner is rinsed off the bed. Key findings from the survey include the following:

• 84 percent of hospitals use quaternary ammonia compounds to clean hospital beds. These chemicals have been tested on hard surfaces only and do not have EPA approval for use on soft surfaces such as hospital mattresses.


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• Only 23 percent of these hospitals cleaned the mattress surface prior to using the disinfectant, as is recommended by both the bed and chemical manufacturers.

• Only 6 percent of these hospitals rinsed the chemical disinfectant away after disinfection, as recommended by the bed manufacturers, since patients could be exposed to residual disinfectant.

• Only two hospitals were using disinfectants with a pH balance recommended by the bed and fabric manufacturers.

The research was presented on Monday at the annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology in San Antonio.

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