Self-disinfecting and microbiocide-impregnated surfaces and fabrics: what potential in interrupting the spread of healthcare-associated infection?

Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Mar;58(6):848-53. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit765. Epub 2013 Nov 21.


Innovative technologies have identified approaches to developing self-disinfecting surfaces or fabrics to minimize healthcare-associated infection (HCAI). These include altering the structure or surface to minimize the attachment of microbes or to delay the development of biofilm, using compounds that are activated in the presence of light to reduce the microbial burden, and incorporating a heavy metal such as silver or copper with intrinsic antimicrobial activity. Most technologies for surfaces and fabrics have been assessed in vitro and have been shown to reduce bacterial numbers by ≥2 logs. However, apart from copper -impregnated surfaces, there have been few trials in a clinical setting. Copper-impregnated surfaces result in reduced microbial surface counts on surfaces commonly found in clinical areas compared with controls, and 1 study has assessed HCAI and colonization rates. However, larger and better-designed studies are required to determine if these approaches augment current hygiene regimens, especially when these are optimally implemented.

Keywords: biofilm; copper; decontamination and hospital hygiene; polyethylene glycol; titanium dioxide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms
  • Copper
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Disinfectants*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / instrumentation
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Protective Clothing
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium


  • Disinfectants
  • titanium dioxide
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Copper
  • Titanium