An Evaluation of Patient Area Cleaning in Three Hospitals Using a Novel Targeting Methodology

American Journal of Infection Control





Although environmental cleaning and disinfecting practices have become a cornerstone of patient care, assessment of actual compliance with such procedures has not been reported. Using a novel methodology, we developed a means to monitor directly such activities.




A nontoxic target solution, which intensely fluoresces with a black light, was formulated to be inconspicuous yet readily removed by housekeeping products. Small volumes of material were confidentially applied to 12 target sites in patient rooms in 3 hospitals following terminal cleaning. The targets were reevaluated following terminal cleaning after several patients had occupied the room.




One hundred fifty-seven rooms and 1404 targets were evaluated. In the 3 hospitals studied, only 45%, 42%, and 56% of targets were removed by routine terminal cleaning/disinfecting activities. The frequency with which various individual sites were cleaned varied widely but was similar in all hospitals.




The use of a novel target compound to evaluate housekeeping practices confirmed high rates of cleaning of traditional sites but poor cleaning of many sites that have significant potential for harboring and transmitting microbial pathogens. This methodology has the potential for being used to evaluate objectively the cleaning/disinfecting activities in various health care settings.


An evaluation of patient area cleaning in 3 hospitals using a novel targeting methodology.
Carling PC - Am J Infect Control - 01-OCT-2006; 34(8): 513-9


Author Affiliation:

Department of Hospital Epidemiology, Carney Hospital, Boston 02124, USA. [email protected]


Carling PC; Briggs J; Hylander D; Perkins J


Copyright © 2006-2008 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. 


An Evaluation of Patient Area Cleaning in Three Hospitals Using a Novel Targeting Methodology:  Created on December 5th, 2008.  Last Modified on April 20th, 2010


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· 11 years ago

There are several sources for black light inspection kits. One source is:

I do not believe blacklights will detect specific pathogen levels.

April 20th, 2010 | 4:41pm Reply
· 11 years ago

How can I find out more about this methodology to complement the ATP monitoring device we are currently using?

Also, is there a black light device on the market that can measure accurately the level of pathogens in, say, a patient bathroom?


April 20th, 2010 | 4:12pm Reply

About American Journal of Infection Control

American Journal of Infection Control covers key topics and issues in infection control and epidemiology. Infection control professionals, including physicians, nurses, and epidemiologists, rely on AJIC for peer-reviewed articles covering clinical topics as well as original research. As the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (APIC), the journal is the foremost resource on infection control, epidemiology, infectious diseases, quality management, occupational health, and disease prevention.

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