Evaluation of the decontamination efficacy of new and reprocessed microfiber cleaning cloth compared with other commonly used cleaning cloths in the hospital

Published:February 02, 2010DOI:


      The aim of this study was to investigate the decontamination capacity of 4 different types of cleaning cloths (microfiber cleaning cloth, cotton cloth, sponge cloth, and disposable paper towels) commonly used in hospital in their ability to reduce microbial loads from a surface used dry or wet in new condition. All of the cloths except disposable paper towels were also compared after 10 and 20 times of reprocessing, respectively, at 90°C for 5 minutes in a washing machine.


      Stappylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538) and Escherichia coli (ATCC 8739) were used as test organisms. Test organisms were then added to a test soil (6% bovine serum albumin and 0.6% sheep erythrocytes) resulting in a controlled concentration of 5×107 colony-forming units per milliliter in the final test suspension. Standardized tiles measuring 5×5 cm were used as test surface.


      Microfiber cloths showed the best results when being used in new condition. However, after multiple reprocessing, cotton cloth showed the best overall efficacy.


      We therefore suggest that the choice of the cleaning utilities should be based on their decontamination efficacy after several reprocessings and recommend the establishment of strict and well-defined cleaning and disinfection protocols.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment


      Subscribe to American Journal of Infection Control
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Exner M.
        • Vacata V.
        • Hornei B.
        • Dietlein E.
        • Gebel J.
        Household cleaning and surface disinfection: new insights and strategies.
        J Hosp Infect. 2004; 56: S70-S75
        • Hayden M.K.
        • Bonten M.J.
        • Blom D.W.
        • Lyle E.A.
        • van de Vijver D.A.
        • Weinstein R.A.
        Reduction in acquisition of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus after enforcement of routine environmental cleaning measures.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2006; 42: 1552-1560
        • Rutala W.A.
        • Gergen M.F.
        • Weber D.J.
        Microbiologic evaluation of microfiber mops for surface disinfection.
        Am J Infect Control. 2007; 35: 569-573
        • Moore G.
        • Griffith C.
        A laboratory evaluation of the decontamination properties of microfiber cloths.
        J Hosp Infect. 2006; 64: 379-385
        • Dancer S.J.
        How do we assess hospital cleaning? A proposal for microbiological standards for surface hygiene in hospitals.
        J Hosp Infect. 2004; 56: 10-15
        • Hota B.
        Contamination, disinfection, and cross-colonization: are hospital surfaces reservoirs for nosocomial infection?.
        Clin Infect Dis. 2004; 39: 1182-1189
        • Bergen L.K.
        • Meyer M.
        • Hog M.
        • Rubenhagen B.
        • Andersen L.P.
        Spread of bacteria on surfaces when cleaning with microfiber cloths.
        J Hosp Infect. 2009; 71: 132-137
        • Malik R.E.
        • Cooper R.A.
        • Griffith C.J.
        Use of audit tools to evaluate the efficacy of cleaning systems in hospitals.
        Am J Infect Control. 2003; 31: 181-187