2.3 Safe Management of the Care Environment

Routine environmental decontamination

Hospital/care home setting

Patient isolation/cohort rooms/area must be decontaminated at least daily, this may be increased on the advice of IPCTs/HPTs. These areas must be decontaminated using either:

Manufacturers’ guidance and recommended product "contact time" must be followed for all cleaning/disinfection solutions .

Increased frequency of decontamination/cleaning schedules should be incorporated into the environmental decontamination schedules for areas where there may be higher environmental contamination rates, for example 

Patient rooms must be terminally cleaned following resolution of symptoms, discharge or transfer. This includes removal and laundering of all curtains and bed screens.

Vacated rooms should also be decontaminated following an AGP.

Primary care/out-patient settings

The extent of decontamination between patients will depend on the duration of the consultation/assessment, the patients presenting symptoms and any visible environmental contamination. 

Equipment used for environmental decontamination must be either single-use or dedicated to the affected area then decontaminated or disposed of following use for example cloths, mop heads.

Terminal decontamination

Following patient transfer, discharge, or once the patient is no longer considered infectious.

Remove from the vacated isolation room/cohort area, all:

The room should be decontaminated using either:

The room must be cleaned from the highest to lowest point and from the least to most contaminated point.

Manufacturers’ guidance and recommended product "contact time" must be followed for all cleaning/disinfection solutions .

Unless instructed otherwise by the IPCT there is no requirement for a terminal clean of an outpatient area or theatre recovery.

Note: Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service adopt practices that differ from those stated in the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual.


When an organisation adopts practices that differ from those recommended/stated in the NIPCM with regards to cleaning agents, the individual organisation is fully responsible for ensuring safe systems of work, including the completion of local risk assessment(s) approved and documented through local governance procedures.