Cleanability of High-Touch Surfaces | Critical Answers

Aim is to Maintain Cleaner High-touch Surfaces 

Research suggests that environmental surface contamination can play a pivotal role in the transmission of pathogens, including C. diff. bacteria and coronavirus. As a result, infection control programs target environmental cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

Cleanability is key. Kwalu’s non-coated, non-porous bleach-compatible furniture can withstand the most rigorous cleaning protocols, while exceeding hospital furniture standards.

Partnership with Clorox

Kwalu has partnered with Clorox Healthcare® in its fight to promote cleaner surfaces by combining Clorox Healthcare’s® portfolio of disinfectants with Kwalu’s non-porous, non-coated furnishings. Kwalu’s Clorox-compatible furniture has been proven to stand up to rigorous cleaning protocols and has shown compatibility with Clorox Healthcare® disinfection chemistries, including Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Wipes and Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes. The right combination of products and processes helps maintain cleaner surfaces and may help reduce the risk of cross-transmission with some patients. 

Warranted for 10 Years

Kwalu’sfurniture surfaces have shown compatibility with all of the Clorox Healthcare® disinfection chemistries, and offer a 10-year performance warranty 

Cross-transmission and Surface Contamination

Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) continue to challenge the Healthcare industry. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 4% of the patients admitted to hospitals will contract an HAI, and the total economic burden is estimated at over $35 billion annually. Environmental surface contamination is a factor in cross-transmission of HAIs. Cleanability and infection control programs are key in trying to combat cross-transmission – which makes the selection of surface materials for furniture critical.

100% bleach cleanable for when well-being matters most, Kwalu seating is a chemically resistant, entirely smooth, high-performance solid surface (1/8” thick) that allows any of EPA’s approved cleaning agents to simply lift off bacteria, soiling, staining, and graffiti. In 2017 Kwalu was awarded the prestigious Nightingale Award for Surfacing Materials, for its innovative surfaces that can provide long term cleanability in a healthcare environment.

Kwalu Furniture Helps Promote Cleaner Surfaces 

Most wood and metal furniture have surface coatings that are only microns thick. Wood furniture products are inherently porous, and prone to nicks and scratches. Harsh cleaning chemicals could then further damage the surface. Add time and moisture and the substrate swells, allowing bacteria and other organisms to gain a stronghold. With metal furniture, once the surface coatings are scratched the chemicals used to disinfect may have corrosive properties, negatively impacting the integrity of the furniture. Over time, these compromised surfaces could become reservoirs for dangerous pathogens.

Cleanability – The New Watchword

Because our hospital furniture pieces are smooth and non-porous, with fewer seams, they are easier to clean. This helps Hospital Environmental Services in getting rooms ready quickly.

In March 2014, the CDC posted over 30 Environmental Protection Agency products approved to clean C. diff bacteria. Only Kwalu furniture can withstand all of the cleaning products needed to disinfect tough surfaces.

Our innovative surfaces perform better than the coated furniture surfaces of both wood and metal, especially in healthcare environments. In a 2019 study, Kwalu’s surface harbored 92% less C. diff bacteria than metal, which makes it less likely to pick up C. diff bacteria when touching the chair.

Kwalu Doesn’t Need Arm Caps

Some manufacturers are resorting to polyurethane or similar arm caps because their metal and wood frames become degraded by cleaning chemicals, wear and tear, and oils from human hands. Caps not only add seams which are additional areas to hide and harbor bacteria, but also are typically not cleanable by all hospital-approved chemicals available. With Kwalu, it’s a non-issue. We have no need for arm caps as the entire chair can be easily cleaned.

Patient Room of the Future

Many years ago, solid surfaces were predicted to be the improved standard in patient rooms in the year 2020. The Wall Street Journal posted an article on Mayo’s Center for Innovation indicating the patient room of the future should have: “all surfaces in the room other than floors made of Corian® or similar solid surface materials…” Kwalu is the only solid surface option (1/8” thick) for seating in patient rooms, and exceeds hospital furniture standards! Given the current environment, it is critical to reconsider surfaces in the patient room and beyond. Coated metal or wood doesn’t offer the best solution for long term cleanability and Kwalu’s solid surface chair frames are indestructible and healthcare chemical proof.

Optional Antimicrobial Product Protection and Cleanability

Some wood and metal furniture products use an antimicrobial topical coating that is typically only a few microns thick. As soon as the finish is damaged, scratched, nicked or swells due to normal use, bacteria and other organisms could gain a stronghold. Harsh cleaning chemicals may further damage the topical coating, leaving it, at best, ineffectual and at worst, compromised. And no warranty for their antimicrobial finishes is mentioned.

Our optional antimicrobial product protection is inherent to our furniture, and is not a topical coating. Our patented, high-impact-resistant repairable polymer is scuff-, scratch-, and water-resistant and can be thoroughly cleansed with most sanitizing solutions commonly used in healthcare and senior living environments, (including bleach) without compromising the antimicrobial product protection properties or damaging the finish.

Note: Kwalu furniture cannot guarantee against bacterial pathogens

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