What Are Medical Sterile Wipes Used For? | By Trevor Sharp General Manager at TIDDOX

Germs and resistant bacteria pose a risk for people susceptible to infection. This is true even in a sterile healthcare environment. For example, studies have shown that bacteria, including E. coli, thrive on hospital elevator buttons. Furthermore, industry data shows that only 12.3% of doctors clean their stethoscopes after using them. Dirty stethoscopes can transfer microbes that cause disease.

Medical sterile wipes are frequently used for various purposes in the healthcare industry. These specialised wipes are intended to keep the environment sterile and prevent the spread of illnesses or infections. They are used largely to disinfect and sanitise surfaces, medical equipment, and medical instruments. These wipes are used to prepare the skin before medical procedures, ensuring that it is clean and free of any potential bacteria or contaminants.

Healthcare sterile wipes are also used to clean and disinfect wounds before dressing them with bandages or performing any necessary procedures. They are essential in infection control because they eliminate or reduce bacteria on surfaces and the skin, lowering the risk of healthcare-associated infections.

What Are Medical Sterile Wipes?

Medical sterile wipes, also known as medical disinfectant wipes, are specially designed disposable wipes used in the healthcare environment. They are made of non-woven fabric that is soft, lint-free, and tear-resistant, which ensures their durability and efficacy. The wipes are pre-moistened with a disinfectant or antiseptic solution that kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses. Sterile wipes are disposed of after each use, which ensures their sterility and also reduces the risk of contamination. Furthermore, this maintains a clean and sterile healthcare environment.

Harmful bacteria live on many surfaces in medical facilities, dental clinics, and home healthcare rooms. These surfaces include equipment, beds, privacy curtains, trays, scrubs, and clothing. For this reason, medical sterile wipes must be used when disinfecting high-touch areas and medical instruments. These wipes play a massive role in protecting patients from infection and illness. They also go a long way in promoting sterile practices.

Preventing Infections by Creating a Sterile Environment

The purpose of medical sterile wipes is to disinfect surfaces and minimise the risk of infection. A vital aspect of infection control is creating a sterile environment with sterile wipes. This includes disinfecting surfaces, instruments, and other equipment. By using medical sterile wipes, you can confidently kill harmful contaminants and further reduce the risk of cross-contamination. It is of utmost importance that healthcare environments remain sterile, especially for immune-compromised patients who can easily contract infections.

Doctors and nurses cannot do without sterile wipes as they go about their daily routines, and they remain one of the best products to keep spaces sterile and clean. By wiping down surfaces, medical instruments, and patient care areas, you can maintain a hygienic environment, which will reduce the transmission of infections within the healthcare facility.

Medical sterile wipes also ensure that patients and medical personnel only touch clean surfaces, including examination and surgery tables, monitors, scanners, and countertops.

Uses of Medical Sterile Wipes

Medical sterile wipes have many uses, including the following:

  1. Surgical Procedures

Whenever a doctor cuts into a patient and exposes the internal organs, it increases the risk of infection. Furthermore, the patient may experience an infection after surgery that affects the incision site. Medical sterile wipes reduce this risk by cleaning and sanitising the skin. These wipes also provide the best protection against sepsis and staph infections. Sterile wipes do not contain harsh chemicals, so they won’t irritate or damage the skin.

  1. Personal Hygiene and Patient Care

Besides keeping surgical sites clean, medical sterile wipes help disinfect and clean the skin before injections and catheter insertions. It is best to use sterile wipes to clean catheters before insertion to prevent bacteria from entering a patient’s body and risking infection.

  1. Infection Control

Sterile wipes not only help fight infections post-surgery but also protect patients from surface bacteria. Bacteria can be removed by regularly wiping down high-touch surfaces. These include bed rails, light switches, elevator buttons, and doorknobs.

Doctors should also habitually clean their stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometers between each use. If they continuously use dirty instruments, they may transfer bacteria through cuts or wounds in the skin and risk infection.

  1. Disinfection of Laboratory Environments

Bacteria may affect laboratory experiments and research work. Pharmaceutical wipes clean and sanitise work surfaces in laboratories. They also disinfect equipment and tools to prevent samples from becoming contaminated. These wipes also stop cross-contamination and help maintain accurate tests and results.

  1. Home Healthcare and First Aid

Outside of the medical sector, sterile wipes keep homes bacteria-free. Medical sterile wipes also form part of a typical day in home healthcare. They help prevent wound infection through disinfection and provide extra protection for vulnerable patients. Medical wipes are a great addition to first-aid kits, too. They are useful for cleaning minor cuts and sanitising surfaces during emergencies.

In addition to keeping homes sterile, medical wipes also have a big place in the fitness world. Gym equipment is easily and often contaminated with bacteria through sweat and saliva. Wiping treadmills, stationary bikes, and weights before and after use will reduce the risk of infection and cross-contamination.

Advantages and Features of Medical Sterile Wipes

The benefits and features of these versatile sterile wipes include the following:

  • Pathogen Elimination 

Medical sterile wipes clean and disinfect surfaces of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. It creates a safe, hygienic environment for patients, medical staff, and laboratory personnel. These wipes work well on most surfaces, especially stainless steel, plastic, and glass.

  • Lint-Free Option

Lint-free medical wipes provide a reliable solution for hygiene and cleanliness in healthcare environments. These specialised wipes are free from lint, fibres, and particles that could contaminate sensitive environments, tools, and equipment, making them an efficient way of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and medical instruments. This is vital because particles can easily interfere with the surgery and medical equipment’s functions which can potentially put the patient at risk of infection.

  • Quality Assurance

During manufacturing, employees control the moisture content of medical wipes. They also inspect the material quality of each wipe. When the product is ready, it gets checked for moisture levels and structural integrity. If anything goes wrong during manufacturing, the wipes may disintegrate when used. This could have disastrous consequences; thus, it is imperative to ensure that the sterile wipes you purchase and use are of high-quality and from a trusted manufacturer.

  • Compliance With Safety Regulations

Medical sterile wipes prioritise safety and strictly adhere to stringent regulations. These wipes undergo careful testing to guarantee that they meet safety standards such as hypoallergenic composition and non-abrasive materials. They are also pre-saturated with alcohol or chlorhexidine to ensure effective cleaning. To maintain the required levels of sterility and material safety, the manufacturing process of these sterile wipes requires rigorous quality assurance processes. These meticulous procedures confirm that the wipes fulfil the highest standards.

  • Reduced Waste and Time Saving

Single-use wipes reduce the risk of cross-contamination and minimise waste. Once discarded, it eliminates the need for cleaning or reprocessing. Some manufacturers prioritise sustainability by offering wipes made from eco-friendly materials. This reduces the environmental impact of these products. Furthermore, ready-to-use wipes save time in comparison to traditional cleaning solution preparation. With these benefits, medical sterile wipes offer an efficient and environmentally friendly solution in healthcare settings.

  • Convenience

Most medical sterile wipe manufacturers offer assorted sizes and packaging options. For example, larger wipes may be more appropriate for medical equipment. Regular-sized wipes perform better on plain surfaces. Furthermore, medical sterile wipes are available in single-use packets or canisters, providing flexibility, convenience, and easy accessibility. With so many options, medical sterile wipes provide convenience and versatility for a wide variety of situations.

Medical Sterile Wipes: Cleaning Surfaces and Equipment the Right Way

Medical sterile wipes are an important tool for ensuring cleanliness and hygiene in healthcare environments. These wipes provide a simple and effective way to properly prepare for surgical procedures or safeguard against bacteria. While it can easily be overlooked, medical sterile wipes are vital in guaranteeing the safety of surfaces and equipment. The convenience and versatility that they offer make them valuable in the healthcare sector. By incorporating the use of these wipes into cleaning routines, healthcare practitioners will be able to maintain the highest levels of cleanliness, thus fostering a safer, healthier environment for patients and staff alike.

Sources:  

Disinfection & Sterilization Guidelines (2019) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/index.html

Germs on hospital surfaces & how to avoid them (no date) WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-germiest-hospitals-dr-offices

Products commonly treated with gamma irradiation: Techtip (2023) STERIS AST. Available at: https://www.steris-ast.com/techtip/products-commonly-treated-irradiation/

Pustijanac, E. et al. (2023) Dissemination of clinical acinetobacter baumannii isolate to hospital environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, MDPI. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0817/12/3/410

Resistant bacteria present a major threat in hospitals, but there are measures to prevent their spread (no date) PAHO/WHO | Pan American Health Organization. Available at: https://www.paho.org/en/stories/resistant-bacteria-present-major-threat-hospitals-there-are-measures-prevent-their-spread

Rigby, P. (2023) How to identify surgical infections from negligent care and your rights, Patient Claim Line. Available at: https://www.patientclaimline.com/expert-information/infections-after-surgery/

Surgical site infections (2019) JHM. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/surgical-site-infections#:~:text=Causes%20and%20risk%20factors%20of,Staphylococcus%2C%20Streptococcus%2C%20and%20Pseudomonas

Editor’s Note: “Trevor Sharp is the General Manager at TIDDOX, a professional cleaning wipes manufacturer supplying both sterile and non-sterile cleaning wipes to medical, healthcare and pharmaceutical businesses nationwide.  He has a reputation for providing businesses with solutions to improve and maintain hygienic environments. He is a key interface with the product development team in ensuring TIDDOX produces products that are industry relevant and offer superior performance”

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