Adsorption of active ingredients of surface disinfectants depends on the type of fabric used for surface treatment

J Hosp Infect. 2010 May;75(1):56-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2009.11.027. Epub 2010 Mar 17.


The disinfection of surfaces in the immediate surrounding of a hospitalised patient is considered to be an important element for prevention of nosocomial infection. The type of fabric in a mop, however, has to our knowledge never been regarded as relevant for an effective disinfection of surfaces. We have therefore studied the adsorption of benzalkonium chloride (BAC), glutardialdehyde and propan-1-ol from working solutions of three surface disinfectants to four different types of fabric (A: white pulp and polyester; B: viscose rayon; C: polyester; D: mixture of viscose, cellulose and polyester). The working solutions of each disinfectant were exposed to each fabric for up to 24h. Before and after exposure, tissues were removed and squeezed in a standardised way. The eluate was used for determination of the concentration of the active ingredient in quadruplicate. The analysis of glutardialdehyde and BAC was performed using high performance liquid chromatography; the analysis of propan-1-ol was done using gas chromatography. BAC was strongly adsorbed to the tissues based on white pulp (up to 61% after 30 min), followed by the viscose rayon tissues (up to 70% after 30 min) and the mixed tissues (up to 54% after 7h). The polyester fibre tissue adsorbed the smallest amounts of BAC with up to 17% after 15 min. Only with the polyester fibre tissue were BAC concentrations found in the range of the calculated BAC concentrations. Glutardialdehyde and propan-1-ol did not adsorb to any of the fibres. Effective surface disinfection also includes selection of an appropriate fabric.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Propanol / chemistry*
  • Adsorption
  • Benzalkonium Compounds / chemistry*
  • Disinfectants / chemistry*
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Glutaral / chemistry*
  • Housekeeping, Hospital / methods*
  • Humans
  • Solutions
  • Textiles*


  • Benzalkonium Compounds
  • Disinfectants
  • Solutions
  • 1-Propanol
  • Glutaral