Cleaning and decontamination efficacy of wiping cloths and silver dihydrogen citrate on food contact surfaces


Dinesh Babu, Food Science Department, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA. E-mail:


Aims:  To test the efficacy of four wipe cloth types (cotton bar towel, nonwoven, microfibre and blended cellulose/cotton) with either quaternary ammonia cleaning solution or silver dihydrogen citrate (SDC) in cleaning food contact surfaces.

Methods:  Swab samples collected from untreated, cloth-treated and cloth disinfectant-treated surfaces were subjected to hygiene monitoring using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence and aerobic total plate counting (TPC) assays.

Results:  Adenosine triphosphate measurements taken after wiping the surfaces showed poor cleaning by nonwoven cloths (2·89 RLU 100 cm−2) than the microfibre (2·30 RLU 100 cm−2), cotton terry bar (2·26 RLU 100 cm−2) and blended cellulose/cotton cloth types (2·20 RLU 100 cm−2). The cellulose/cotton cloth showed highest log reduction in ATP-B RLU values (95%) and CFU values (98·03%) when used in combination with SDC disinfectant.

Conclusions:  Cleaning effect of wiping cloths on food contact surfaces can be enhanced by dipping them in SDC disinfectant. ATP-B measurements can be used for real-time hygiene monitoring in public sector, and testing microbial contamination provides more reliable measure of cleanliness.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  Contaminated food contact surfaces need regular hygiene monitoring. This study could help to estimate and establish contamination thresholds for surfaces at public sector facilities and to base the effectiveness of cleaning methods.