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FAQ - Disinfection - 2016
FAQ - Disinfection - 2016



Which disinfectants are compatible with plastics and upholstery? Or can you provide a list of disinfectants that should be avoided. We have found that Product A deteriorates our plastic products, is there a better solution for disinfection that is safe for continued use on plastic & upholstery? Thank you.

Ask OSAP does not review, evaluate, certify, recommend or endorse products. Ask OSAP also does not provide technical support for specific products. If you have further questions about specific products (i.e., surface disinfectants) it is recommended that you consult with the manufacturer’s written instruction manual and/or contact the manufacturer of your product directly.

Ask OSAP can provide you with some general information on this topic.

The 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry states as follows:

Clinical Contact Surfaces

Clinical contact surfaces can be directly contaminated from patient materials either by direct spray or spatter generated during dental procedures or by contact with DHCP’s gloved hands. These surfaces can subsequently contaminate other instruments, devices, hands, or gloves. Examples of such surfaces include

• light handles,

• switches,

• dental radiograph equipment,

• dental chairside computers,

• reusable containers of dental materials,

• drawer handles,

• faucet handles,

• countertops,

• pens,

• telephones, and

• doorknobs.

Barrier protection of surfaces and equipment can prevent contamination of clinical contact surfaces, but is particularly effective for those that are difficult to clean. Barriers include clear plastic wrap, bags, sheets, tubing, and plastic-backed paper or other materials impervious to moisture (260,288). Because such coverings can become contaminated, they should be removed and discarded between patients, while DHCP are still gloved. After removing the barrier, examine the surface to make sure it did not become soiled inadvertently. The surface needs to be cleaned and disinfected only if contamination is evident. Otherwise, after removing gloves and performing hand hygiene, DHCP should place clean barriers on these surfaces before the next patient (1,2,288).

If barriers are not used, surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected between patients by using an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with an HIV, HBV claim (i.e., low-level disinfectant) or a tuberculocidal claim (i.e., intermediate-level disinfectant). Intermediate-level disinfectant should be used when the surface is visibly contaminated with blood or OPIM (2,244). Also, general cleaning and disinfection are recommended for clinical contact surfaces, dental unit surfaces, and counter tops at the end of daily work activities and are required if surfaces have become contaminated since their last cleaning (13). To facilitate daily cleaning, treatment areas should be kept free of unnecessary equipment and supplies.

Manufacturers of dental devices and equipment should provide information regarding material compatibility with liquid chemical germicides, whether equipment can be safely immersed for cleaning, and how it should be decontaminated if servicing is required (289). Because of the risks associated with exposure to chemical disinfectants and contaminated surfaces, DHCP who perform environmental cleaning and disinfection should wear gloves and other PPE to prevent occupational exposure to infectious agents and hazardous chemicals. Chemical- and puncture-resistant utility gloves offer more protection than patient examination gloves when using hazardous chemicals. 1

Appendix A to the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry offers general information regarding the Regulatory Framework for Disinfectants and Sterilants and can be accessed at this link:   1

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website has links to the following information which you may find to be helpful:

Selected EPA-registered Disinfectants   2

You may also find the articles below to be of interest:

Disinfection of Clinical Surfaces  3

Choosing and using surface disinfectants  4

Disinfection    5


1)     Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61.    Accessed on February 15, 2016.

2)     US Environmental Protection Agency. Selected EPA-registered Disinfectants   Accessed on February 15, 2016

3) Disinfection of Clinical Surfaces.   Accessed on February 15, 2016.

4)     RDH Magazine. Choosing and using surface disinfectants.   Accessed on February 15, 2016.

5)     USAF Dental Evaluation & Consultation Service. Disinfection.  Accessed on February 15, 2016.



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