The adequate use of disinfectants constitutes a basis for the control of infection and is especially important in the prevention of hospital infections. Disinfecting hands by means of effective cleansers and techniques is still an important research topic in the context of nosocomial infection. The use of antiseptics is absolutely necessary despite the adverse effects that they may produce. Proper cleaning and disinfection of surfaces also helps reduce the transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens.
One of the difficulties associated with evaluating the bactericidal activity of disinfectants is prevention of bacteriostasis from disinfectant residues carried over into the subculture media. Likewise, small amounts of disinfectants on environmental surfaces can make an accurate bacterial count difficult to get when sampling of the health-care environment as part of an epidemiologic or research investigation. One way these problems may be overcome is by employing neutralizers that inactivate residual disinfectants. Two commonly used neutralizing media for chemical disinfectants are Letheen Media and D/E Neutralizing Media. The former contains lecithin to neutralize quaternaries and polysorbate 80 (Tween 80) to neutralize phenolics, hexachlorophene, formalin, and, with lecithin, ethanol. The D/E Neutralizing media will neutralize a broad spectrum of antiseptic and disinfectant chemicals, including quaternary ammonium compounds, phenols, iodine and chlorine compounds, mercurials, formaldehyde, and glutaraldehyde.
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Fernández‐Crehuet M, Espigares M, Moreno E, Espigares E. Specificity of the neutralizers as the cause of errors in evaluating disinfectant efficacy: an assessment of triclosan. Letters in applied microbiology. 2013 Dec;57(6):517-25.
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