Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in
Healthcare Facilities, 2008 


The Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008, presents evidence-
based recommendations on the preferred methods for cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of patient-
care medical devices and for cleaning and disinfecting the healthcare environment. This document
supercedes the relevant sections contained in the 1985 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guideline for
Handwashing and Environmental Control. Because maximum effectiveness from disinfection and
sterilization results from first cleaning and removing organic and inorganic materials, this document also
reviews cleaning methods. The chemical disinfectants discussed for patient-care equipment include
alcohols, glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, iodophors, ortho-phthalaldehyde, peracetic
acid, phenolics, quaternary ammonium compounds, and chlorine. The choice of disinfectant,
concentration, and exposure time is based on the risk for infection associated with use of the equipment
and other factors discussed in this guideline. The sterilization methods discussed include steam
sterilization, ethylene oxide (ETO), hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, and liquid peracetic acid. When
properly used, these cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization processes can reduce the risk for infection
associated with use of invasive and noninvasive medical and surgical devices. However, for these
processes to be effective, health-care workers should adhere strictly to the cleaning, disinfection, and
sterilization recommendations in this document and to instructions on product labels.

In addition to updated recommendations, new topics addressed in this guideline include 1)
inactivation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, bioterrorist agents, emerging pathogens, and bloodborne
pathogens; 2) toxicologic, environmental, and occupational concerns associated with disinfection and
sterilization practices; 3) disinfection of patient-care equipment used in ambulatory settings and home
care; 4) new sterilization processes, such as hydrogen peroxide gas plasma and liquid peracetic acid;
and 5) disinfection of complex medical instruments (e.g., endoscopes).