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Principles of Infection Control - Clean to Dirty

Theresa Brown (January 2024)


The principle of "clean to dirty" is a fundamental concept of infection control that is applied to prevent the spread of infectious pathogens in various settings, including my guesthouse. The principle emphasises maintaining a systematic and sequential workflow to minimise the risk of contamination and infection. Here's how the principle of "clean to dirty" typically works:

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  1. Start with Clean Areas

    • Begin work in areas that are considered "clean" and free from dangerous infectious pathogens

    • In my guesthouse setting, examples of clean areas are where eating and drinking is performed, and food storage spaces

  2. Progress to Dirty Areas

    • As tasks are completed in clean areas, I move towards areas that are potentially contaminated or considered "dirty"

    • For example, I begin cleaning the clean areas, such the tea and coffee spaces, microwave, mini-fridge and similar

    • Then progress to items and surfaces that are typically touched and have a higher likelihood of harbouring infectious pathogens, such as the benchtops, TV remote, door handles and similar

    • I then progress to the bathroom where I begin a new sequence of clean to dirty spaces

  3. Prevent Cross-Contamination

    • Take measures to prevent the transfer of microorganisms from dirty areas to clean areas

    • When I'm cleaning my guest rooms, an example, is dirty linen is placed directly into linen bags and secured. Dirty linen is never thrown on the floor or allowed to come into contact with my clothing

  4. Follow Evidence-based Practices

    • Adhere to established protocols and guidelines of infection control. This includes using appropriate disinfectants and utensils, methodical cleaning and practicing the principles of infection control

    • I maintain good hand hygiene between tasks, such as washing my hands after emptying bins and before attending to clean tasks

  5. Minimize Aerosolization and Splatter

    • Be mindful of procedures that may generate aerosols or splatter, as these can contribute to the spread of infectious pathogens

    • I use appropriate barriers such as personal protective equipment and precautionary measures to minimize these risks

By practicing the "clean to dirty" principle of infection control, I break the chain of infection, minimising the risk of contamination and infection. This is an essential component of providing and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for my guests at Home and Away Guesthouse.

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