Support Your Local Infection Control Practitioner

A ‘Conversation’ Regarding Environmental Services Closets

Q #1: Are housekeeping closets considered clean or dirty rooms and what type of supplies can you store in them? EVS is being advised by Infection Prevention that these are considered dirty and we cannot stores supplies, such as toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, etc. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

A #1: I would agree with your IC people. Their opinion over-rides anything else. They’re the ‘boss’ when it comes to infection control issues, and if they say the room is ‘dirty’ then you cannot store clean supplies in there.

Q #2: Okay then going by that “policy” that means the EVS carts are also dirty, since they are of course stored in the EVS closets, and that then means the cleaners cannot carry supplies on the carts, which is what they are designed for?  I have been cleaning hospitals for 30 years and no offense but this does not make any sense at all.

A#2: Hey… it’s your IC people’s policy… not mine.

Ask them how they want you to deal with this. There is a difference with the cleaning supplies that are stored on the EVS carts, compared with the stacks of paper towels and toilet paper stored in these rooms. The general public does not come into contact with the EVS carts and the supplies on the carts, but they do come into contact with the paper towels and toilet paper. I can see the difference.

I would argue with the IC people that the cleaning supplies on the EVS carts are indeed ‘dirty’ but they can still be used to clean rooms, because the contents inside the cleaning supply bottles are clean. The paper towels and the toilet paper should be kept in a clean environment, but I would argue that the trash bags are dirty as soon as they are used, so there is no reason to store them in a clean environment.

All is well…. Just talk it out with the IC people. They are there to safeguard the health of your staff and patients. Work with them, not against them.