American journal of infection control

Efficacy of commercially available wipes for disinfection of pulse oximeter sensors.

PMID 26589998


This study examined the effectiveness of commercially available disinfecting wipes and cosmetic wipes in disinfecting pulse oximeter sensors contaminated with pathogenic bacterial surrogates. Surrogates of potential biological warfare agents and bacterial pathogens associated with hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) were spotted on test surfaces, with and without an artificial test soil (sebum), allowed to dry, and then cleaned with different commercially available cleaning and disinfecting wipes or sterile gauze soaked in water, bleach (diluted 1:10), or 70% isopropanol. The percentage of microbial survival and an analytical estimation of remaining test soil on devices were determined. Wipes containing sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient and gauze soaked in bleach (1:10) were the most effective in removing both vegetative bacteria and spores. In the presence of selective disinfectants, sebum had a protective effect on vegetative bacteria, but not on spores. The presence of sebum reduces the cleaning efficiency of some commercially available wipes for some select microbes. Various commercial wipes performed significantly better than the designated cleaning agent (70% isopropanol) in disinfecting the oximetry sensor. Cosmetic wipes were not more effective than the disinfecting wipes in removing sebum.

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