The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exempts dentistry, as a low-risk industry, from…
Disinfectant-soaked 4×4 gauze not recommended unless used immediately
Disinfectants should never be stored in containers with cotton gauze, also termed “4×4’s”, unless the gauze is applied immediately to dental surfaces upon saturation. Cotton gauze materials that have been saturated with disinfectant solution for an extended period of time may breakdown and chemically react with the chemical disinfectant, thereby decreasing the disinfectant’s effectiveness. This is especially true for iodophors (active ingredient – iodine) and chlorine-containing disinfectants, which may become inactivated by the gauze. Unless degradation testing has been conducted to demonstrate how disinfectants will react to a specific wipe material, the presoaking wipes in a dental office for an extended time is not recommended.
Note: This article does not apply to EPA-registered disinfecting wipes in original manufacturer’s container with proper label.
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