Disinfectant wipes use three actions to clean and disinfect surfaces.

These actions are: 1) Mechanical action of the wipe 2) surface contact time 3) wipe contact time.

We will examine each of these actions in-depth as we proceed through. For this demonstration the UV marker pen is acting as this invisible organic matter and bio-burden found on many visibly clean surfaces.

When it is dry it is only visible with a UV torch. If we can not see it, how can we clean it?

For best results, open up the wipe fully and only use one side to prevent hands becoming contaminated with organic matter.

Ensure you use one wipe, for one application and use it in one direction as this will reduce cross contamination.

1) The Mechanical Action

Friction from the wipe removals soil and bio-bore from the visibly clean surface. If the surface is visibly soiled, use a wipe to clean and the appropriate wipe to disinfect. All wipes, contain a powerful detergent and so can be used for cleaning prior to disinfecting, or a detergent wipe can be used. As you can not see the organic matter, even after wiping with one wipe, for one application and in one direction you are illegally to remove all the organic matter, and bio-burdens, especially on a textured surface. What is going to disinfect what you have left behind?

It is important to ensure that the wipe selected is effective for the spectrum of microbes on the surface IN A PRACTICAL CONTACT TIME. The contact time is the time the disinfectant takes to kill the microbes, the times for each wipe can be found on the product's label.

2) surface contact time

The surface you are disinfecting MUST remain wet for the entire contact time because while the surface remains wet with a disinfectant, it will disinfect what has been left behind on the surface. While the surface is drying, the bugs are dying. In some conditions, for example if it is a particularly hot day and the room temperature is significantly higher than normal, it may be necessary to re-wet the surface with another wipe to ensure the wet contact time. Likewise, the larger the surface to be disinfected, the more wipes you will need to use.

3) Wipe Contact time

The microbes lifted from the surface have now been transferred into the wipe. They will be disinfected on the wipe while it remains wet, for the validated contact times. This will make the wipe safe for disposal.

To reduce the risk of cross infection, it is important to dispose of the wipe in clinical waste as soon as possible without reusing it or leaving it on other surfaces.

For a wipe to work, it is important that they are used by a trained person who understands how a wipe works and the importance of one wipe, for one application in one direction.

For a wipe to work it is important that the disinfectant product used has a broad spectrum of kill in low contact times, ie before the point of evaporation from a surface. Using suspension testing to support their contact times.

A high liquid loading on the wipe will improve the mechanical action, ensure a good liquid loading onto the surface being disinfected and therefore meet the required contact time. It will also allow the wipe to remain wet long enough to disinfect the bio-buried it has picked up and reduce the risk of cross infection.


The mechanical action of the wipe uses friction to remove soil and bio-burden from the surface.

The surface contact time is the time the surface needs to remain wet to disinfect the microbes left on the surface.

While the wipe remains wet, the microbes lifted from the surface are disinfected; This makes the wipe safe for disposal.

Testing takes place on the liquid extracted from the wipe which is the liquid being used, this testing includes both surface and suspension tests to international standards. The Period After Opening (PAO) states how long the product will continue to meet its labels claims once opened.

Products kill microbes but people prevent infection.