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    10 tips for successful environmental surface cleaning

    Follow these steps to properly clean and disinfect your dental practice.

    While cleaning the house one day, I asked my teenage son to clean the bathroom. He looked me square in the eye and said, “I don’t know how to clean the bathroom.” He quickly added that he didn’t know which areas needed to be cleaned, how to best clean each specific area, what “stuff” to use or where you find it, and finally what a good job even looked like. 

    So, I patiently explained what needed to be done and then we performed the tasks side by side. As we worked together, it struck me that I’ve seen and experienced this same scenario play out with dental personnel tasked with the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces. While household bathroom cleaning protocol is generally at parent discretion, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and product manufactures all have much to say regarding recommendations and/or regulations for cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces in dentistry. 


    With that said, here are 10 steps critical to getting the job done right in light of agency recommendations, regulations and manufacturer’s instructions. 

    1. Establish policies for routine cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces — and write these down1

    A written cleaning schedule may include information such as which surfaces should be cleaned and with what product(s), the location within the facility, how often they should be cleaned and by whom, the type of debris anticipated, the tasks or procedures to be performed and the use of barriers. 

    Note that these policies and procedures should be facility-specific. This means the surfaces in your operatories, your team members involved and products that your facility uses. A written program improves consistency and efficiency, enhances compliances and reduces miscommunication.

    2. Ensure education and job-specific training of dental personnel who manage environmental surfaces

    Dental team members who clean and disinfect environmental surfaces should be trained upon hire, at least annually, and when procedures or policies change within the facility. For instance, dental personnel should receive updated training if a new product is being introduced or if a policy has changed regarding surfaces to be barrier protected. This information should be reviewed and the training session documented. In addition, cleaning, disinfection and the use of barriers should be periodically monitored and evaluated to ensure they’re consistently and correctly performed.1

    Related: Is new employee onboarding really necessary?


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