3. August 2023

Superiority of manual disinfection using pre-soaked wipes over automatic UV-C radiation without prior cleaning


B Knobling, A Ulatowski, G Franke, C Belmar Campos, H Büttner, EM Klupp, PM Maurer, FHH Brill, JK Knobloch


Journal of Hospital Infection, Volume 140, October 2023, Pages 72-78 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2023.07.017


Background: The efficacy of ultraviolet C (UV–C) radiation against a broad spectrum of micro-organisms has been demonstrated in several studies, but differences in the specific doses and the extent of microbial reduction were found. Furthermore, the conditions of laboratory tests differ greatly from reality, such that efficacy achieved in tests may not necessarily be assumed in reality. Consequently, it is important to investigate the effectiveness of UV-C in representative field trials. The aim was therefore to develop and establish a field test to evaluate automatic UV-C in comparison to manual disinfection.

Methods: Before and after disinfection, samples were repeatedly collected from naturally highly contaminated surfaces using the swab technique to obtain representative data sets for disinfected and non-disinfected surfaces. Subsequently, the log reduction values (LRV) and the disinfection success were evaluated for UV-C radiation and full compliant manual disinfection using alcohol-based wipes.

Results: Surfaces that are naturally contaminated with bacteria on a regular and nearly uniform basis have been identified as particularly suitable for field testing. Mean contamination was reduced from 23.3 to 1.98 cfu/cm2 (LRV 0.9) and 29.7 to 0.26 cfu/cm2 (LRV 1.2) for UV-C and manual disinfection, respectively. UV-C disinfection achieved 75.5% successful disinfected surfaces, whereas manual disinfection showed 98.1%.

Conclusions: Full compliant manual disinfection showed slightly higher LRVs and disinfection success than automatic UV-C disinfection. Successful, operator-independent UV-C disinfection still has the potential to improve disinfection performance in addition to manual disinfection.