Like most RVNs, I like a good clean.

This is never at home though, obviously – it’s all about a sparkling work place.

@JaneRVN offers a few things to consider in relation to infection control.

I love to smell disinfectant and have everything shiny – especially a ward. Once all the patients are medicated and calm, curled up sleeping, it’s not unusual to find me quietly ensuring the place is sparkling, with the faint whiff of disinfectant keeping me happy.

I also like to sniff surgical spirit, pink tape and (for those of us who can remember it) Endorid – but maybe that’s enough of my secret VN-based oddities…

So this fog of disinfectant in the air, slightly catching the back of my throat – this must mean it’s clean, right? If I scrub and clean in a haze of the blue or green liquid, it must be good, surely?

Possibly. And possibly not.

Considerations for cleaning

There are a few things to consider in infection control that might be more helpful than just liberal spraying:

1.  Am I using the correct chemical for the job?

  • Do I need something that kills spores and viruses?
  • Am I cleaning the floor, the kennel, some food bowls?

2.  Is it made up to the correct dilution for the environment?

  • Am I in isolation?
  • What risk factors are there?
  • Surely just adding a bit of coloured disinfectant until it looks right isn’t enough?

3.  How should I dispense the disinfectant?

  • Spray?
  • Pour and wipe?
  • Bomb?

4.  How does all the above affect me?

  • How can I keep both the patients any myself safe?

Stop spraying

250mL Tattoo Wash Cleaning Green Soap Alcohol Squeeze Bottle 2 pcsThese questions led me to do some research, where I found a few articles on not using plant sprayer-type bottles, as this increases the risk of disinfectants being an airborne irritant, causing poor air quality. I recommend you take a look as it’s an interesting read:

This, in turn, got me thinking about protecting our health, and I’ve realised my lungs took quite a battering in my early years of nursing. Following this, I did a feline placement at Bristol University, where they used the pour and wipe method (although they used a bowl and cloth). This can be made easier by using a squeeze bottle like the one pictured on the right – you can make up a full bottle and then use cloths to clean cages, surfaces and equipment.

Don’t be an aerosol

If you do have to use a spray bottle, spraying onto the cloth rather than directly onto the surface will reduce the amount of spray in the air.

On cloths, they add another dimension. You can buy cloths in tubs that you then make up the disinfectant in. They are great, but expensive, so I found a little guide to using a bowl and cloth for cleaning. Table 3 in this article shows a good technique for using two bowls – one to rinse the cloth in and one with the disinfectant for cleaning in – which keeps the disinfectant clear of anything from the cleaned item.

Trigger happy?

Is your spray bottle harbouring potential problems?
Is your choice of cleaning implement harbouring potential problems?

You might also want to consider the fact a trigger spray is a potential fomite – the top of it cannot be dismantled and cleaned, so there’s a possibility it is harbouring potential problems. Most of these sprays also have some metal components that will corrode, so you should check your disinfectant is safe to use with a spray.

Worldwide, people are researching how to make our hospitals safe for us and our patients. If you are interested in reading more about how to make your workplace “green clean”, then check out the links below. They offer alternatives to trigger sprays, ways to reduce our exposure to chemicals and how to reduce waste – all things to help us keep safe and healthy.

If you are interested in some infection control webinars, meanwhile, the website below is great. The authors are especially keen on training people properly, and have some great ideas for this.

So, from now on, I’m going to protect my lungs and those of the people around me. No spraying, and properly made-up chemicals for use in the correct areas.

I’ll leave hand washing and personal protective equipment (PPE) for another blog. And I bet you can’t wait.

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

3 Comments on "No harm infection control"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
3 months 19 days ago

Really nice little thought provoking piece on infection control – thank you!
You’re absolutely right about the aerosol bottles too – I bet everyone still uses them – I know the practice I locum at does… I like the look of that non-aerosol squeeze bottle. Shall be sharing that on our next inf control module…
3 months 19 days ago
3 months 19 days ago

related content

One of the world’s most respected specialists in veterinary internal medicine is to lecture at London Vet Show.

3 mins

Distal limb wound healing in horses is well known for being problematic, prolonged and expensive. Sarah Boys Smith considers two simple graft techniques achievable in standing, sedated patients.

32 mins

More than 500 delegates looked forward at CVS' annual conference at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel earlier this month.

4 mins

Despite never meeting him or even speaking to him, the late, great Bob Michell had a profound influence on Nick Marsh's veterinary career and on his outlook in general.

10 mins

Shield Veterinary Centre in Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire celebrated with demonstrations, games and quizzes, as well as raising money for charity.

3 mins

RVN Jane Davidson argues vet nurses need to hit the CPD benchmark laid down by their human health colleagues, claiming journal clubs are one solution to do so.

8 mins