Heat-sensitive critical items must be cleaned and sterilized by immersing them for 3-12 hours in liquid germicides registered by the FDA as chemical sterilants. Heat-sensitive semi-critical items must minimally undergo high-level disinfection, i.e., they must be immersed in an FDA-registered chemical sterilant but for a shorter contact time (≥12 min.). The use of these chemicals is strictly limited for applications indicated in their label instructions.
Non-critical patient-care items (i.e., clinical contact surfaces), when visibly soiled, must be cleaned and disinfected (10-minute contact time for most products) using an EPA-registered intermediate-level disinfectant from List B (i.e., a hospital level disinfectant with tuberculocidal claim) or List E (i.e., a hospital disinfectant with a tuberculocidal and an HIV, HBV claim). The use of these chemicals is strictly limited for applications indicated in their label instructions.2-8