Different Mopping Materials Equal Different Hygiene Outcomes

Hygiene outcomes at commercial facilities are greatly influenced by which manual floor mopping materials are used, finds new study from Diversey.

Commercial facilities managers who want the best hygiene outcomes and who use manual floor mopping as part of their facility hygiene program should consider the use of biocidal floor products with either launderable or disposable flat mops. They should also avoid the use of cotton string mops and neutral cleaners, according to a new study of mopping materials.

Hygiene, infection prevention, and cleaning solutions provider Diversey Europe Operations B.V. recently published a study that demonstrates the importance of floor disinfection in reducing risks associated with floor hygiene.

Mopping Materials
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The new study was built on Diversey’s prior research into floor hygiene that examined the differences in hygiene outcomes associated with the choice of mopping materials when manually cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting a floor. The new peer reviewed Li et. al study published in the InfectionControl.tips journal investigated the removal of Staphylococcus aureus from a floor when inoculated, and how the selection of floor cleaner or disinfectant and the choice of floor mop impacted the hygiene outcome, which resulted in statistically significant differences. The study further found that mopping with a neutral cleaner was inferior to using a biocidal product, and using a traditional string mop was inferior to using launderable or disposable flat mops.

The use of launderable and disposable flat mops significantly reduced the level of bacteria that were cross-contaminated when compared to the cotton string mop, regardless of product used, according to the study’s authors. This demonstrates that mopping substrate may also play some role in the level of cross-contamination that can occur through manual floor mopping.

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Floors are the largest surface routinely cleaned in commercial facilities, and are typically contaminated with higher levels of bacteria than surfaces that receive routine hand contact. Studies in healthcare have shown the potential for bacteria on the floor to migrate to surfaces where hand contact frequently occurs, suggesting floor hygiene may play a role in infection risk.

When cleaning/disinfecting the floor in a commercial facility, the facility staff may choose between using a floor cleaning machine or manual mopping methods. When manually mopping a floor, staff may choose between traditional cotton string mops or flat mops with either launderable or disposable pads. Additionally, facility management would select either a cleaner or a cleaner/disinfectant to use with the floor mop. Prior to this research, little was known about the difference in hygiene outcomes associated with the range of choices available for floor hygiene.

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