Video | Supporting patient health through proper disinfectant use

Regular cleaning and good hygiene is crucial in preventing infections, yet the often unnecessary use of disinfectants at home undermines our health. The growing inappropriate use of these products is increasing health risks and damaging our environment.

HCWH Europe has today released a short video explaining some of the problems surrounding disinfectants and offering guidance on proper use. This video serves as a resource for healthcare professionals to share with patients and colleagues to promote the proper use of disinfectants. Cleaning without disinfectants offers sufficient protection against infection and disinfectants should only be used at home in specific circumstances.

Disinfectants can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs and cause breathing difficulties and respiratory illness. During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a rise in calls to poison centres, though it is too early to assess the long term impact of increased disinfectant use on health as well as the environment. By destroying beneficial organisms and increasing the resistance of ‘superbugs’, inappropriate use and overuse of disinfectants also contributes to antimicrobial resistance - a global health threat.

Importantly there is no need for healthy people to disinfect in private households. When the use of disinfectants is justified (e.g. living with an infected person under quarantine) there are steps and precautions that we can take to minimise the health and environmental impacts of these chemical agents.

The video was produced as part of HCWH Europe’s Promoting safer disinfectants in the healthcare sector project, and we encourage our members to share it amongst their communities and patients to promote responsible and healthy cleaning.

Learn more about the threat of antimicrobial resistance with our previous videos and subscribe to our newsletter to receive more information about our next video on prescription practices, due out later this year.

If you would like to support the dissemination of this video or translate the subtitles into your own language, or if you would like to receive any additional information about the Promoting safer disinfectants in the healthcare sector project, please contact