Recommended practices for cleaning and disinfecting pre- and postoperative environments

Patient environments play a significant role in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and surgical site infections (SSIs). To reduce contamination risks, perioperative staff should use a bundled approach to perform standardized cleaning and disinfection routines. Effective yet time-efficient environmental cleaning involves identifying high-touch surfaces and patient-near areas, as they are relevant for evaluating the risk of pathogen transmission. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gives guidance on cleaning and disinfection measures for surfaces in various areas. Recommendations are based on the frequency of hand and skin contact:

Cleaning and disinfection measures for various risk areas

Areas without a risk of infection

Areas with a possible risk of infection

Areas at particular risk of infection

Areas with infectious patients

Stairwells, corridors, offices, dining rooms, lecture halls, classrooms, technical areas

General wards, outpatient departments, radiology, physical therapy, first-aid rooms, dialysis, intensive care

OR departments, special intensive care, transplant units, oncology departments

Isolation or functional areas in which these patients are treated

All surfaces should be cleaned. Routine surface disinfection is not required.

Routine disinfection of surfaces that have frequent hand or skin contact is recommended. Floors and other surfaces should be cleaned.

Routine disinfection of surfaces that have frequent hand or skin contact, as well as floors, is recommended. Other surfaces should be cleaned.

Routine disinfection of surfaces that have frequent hand or skin contact, as well as floors, is recommended. Other surfaces should be cleaned.

Use our interactive infographic to visualise examples of recommended measures in an examination room (area with a possible risk of infection):

  • Disinfection
  • Cleaning

Source: KRINKO: Anforderungen an die Hygiene bei der Reinigung und Desinfektion von Flächen. Empfehlung der Kommission für Krankenhaushygiene und Infektionsprävention beim Robert-Koch-Institut (RKI). Bundesgesundheitsbl. 2004; 47: 51–61

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