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Cleaning for Infection Control: A Glossary of Terms

Use these terms to gain knowledge on healthcare facility cleaning procedures, and to maintain proper standards.

A glossary of terms will help you set up a terminal cleaning plan that prevents the spread of infection through your healthcare facility. Review the terms to prepare and ramp up your terminal cleaning procedures.

To best set up terminal cleaning to prevent the spread of infection in Arkansas, you must clearly understand the terms associated with this process. Studying the glossary terms will allow you to confidently inform your cleaning team about the cleanliness levels you expect with the acquired services.

Your team can then forge ahead to keep your healthcare center clean and sanitized at all times. Your patient’s risk of developing hospital-acquired infections will drop as your cleaning team eliminates germs from your healthcare facility. You will find the following terms used most often during the cleaning and infection control process.

Airborne Transmission:

When an infection occurs due to the spread of airborne droplets by air, such as by coughing or sneezing.

Antimicrobial Soap:

Cleaning detergent with antiseptic properties, commonly used before and after medical procedures.

Antiseptic Cleaners:

A cleaner such as chlorine, bleach, alcohol, or iodine designed to kill and wash away germs found on surfaces.


Sterile products or practices that prevent the spread of infection by viruses and bacteria.


The total number of microorganisms, or germs, on a surface prior to sanitization.

Chemical Sterilant:

Specially-designed chemicals for the elimination of viruses, bacteria, and other germs.


The process of complete germ removal on medical instruments and surfaces using physical or chemical-based procedures.


Small to microscopic moisture splatter sent into the air by coughing or sneezing.

Exposure Time:

The total cleaning time of contaminated surfaces, starting with the initial moment of contact with sanitizer or disinfectant.


A chemical or natural agent that effectively eliminates germs.

Hospital Disinfectant:

A high-grade, EPA-registered disinfectant product, commonly used to eliminate germs in a healthcare setting.

Parts Per Million:

The total concentration of cleansers or other products in water or other solutions used for dilution. Commonly referred to as PPM.


The complete removal of germs, such as bacteria spores, using physical or chemical means.

Creating a Healthcare Facility Cleaning Schedule

When you entrust your healthcare facility cleaning needs to a team of skilled janitorial experts, you reduce the risk of infection transmission for all your patients. You can set up terminal cleaning to prevent the spread of infection by calling ServiceMaster Twin Cities at 501-290-4536. Our team will assess your healthcare facility cleaning needs and create a comprehensive service plan for your entire building.