AORN Virtual Town Hall and Special Membership Meeting: February 23, 2016

Environmental Cleaning

Get clinical answers to frequently asked questions about environmental cleaning.

  • How should the floors in the operating room be cleaned during terminal cleaning?

    The entire floor should be mopped with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectant after scheduled procedures are performed as part of terminal cleaning. The floor may be mopped with either a wet-vacuum or a single-use mop.

    Resources:

    • Guidelines for environmental infection control in health-care facilities. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2003. http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/pdf/guidelines/eic_in_HCF_03.pdf. Accessed November 14, 2012.

    Updated July 3, 2013.

  • Does the wet vacuum used for terminal cleaning need to be cleaned?

    Cleaning equipment (i.e. wet vacuum) should be disassembled, cleaned, and disinfected with an EPA-registered disinfectant, and dried before reuse and storage to prevent the growth of microorganisms and subsequent contamination of the perioperative area.

    Resources:

    • Recommended practices for environmental cleaning in the perioperative setting. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013:243-254.
    • Blanchard J. Terminal cleaning [Clinical Issues]. AORN J. 2009;89(2):409-411.

    Updated January 28, 2012.

  • Are alcohol wipes appropriate for cleaning surfaces in the operating room?

    Alcohol should not be used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the operating room because alcohol is not an adequate cleaning and disinfecting agent. When used as an ingredient in an EPA-registered disinfectant product, alcohol may be acceptable for disinfection in the OR pending product approval by a multidisciplinary team (eg, perioperative services, environmental services, infection prevention) and consideration of the product's flammability.

    Resources:

    • Recommended practices for environmental cleaning in the perioperative setting. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013:243-254.
    • Blanchard, J. Use of alcohol wipes for perioperative cleaning and disinfection. [Clinical Issues]. AORN J. 2011;94(5):503-504

    Updated July 3, 2013.