Reflections on Infection Prevention and Control

I mean cleaning…no, disinfection…no, both. (What you mean is ”environmental hygiene”!)


I’ve been struggling for years to find the best ‘catch-all’ term to describe hospital cleaning or disinfection or both. And, after much thought, I’ve settled on a proposal to share with you, dear reader: “environmental hygiene”.

The reasons for this are as follows:

Table: Aligning hand and environmental hygiene

  Hand hygiene Environmental hygiene
Cleaning Soap and water Detergent
Disinfection Usually alcohol-based sanitisers Chemical disinfectants

So, here it is: a proposal that ‘environmental hygiene’ is used as a catch-all term to describe hospital cleaning, disinfection, or both. Can you foresee any problems with this terminology? Do you know of another phrase in common parlance that fits the bill (that I’m not aware of)? Can you think of a better phrase? Comments welcome, as ever.

p.s. with thanks to Alexandra Peters and Didier Pittet for challenging my thinking on this subject!