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Posts: 1,179
Registered: ‎02-23-2010

Re: Alcohol Pads

Hi Jenn,


I am reaching out to TJC to see if we can discuss their position and provide them with some evidence-based science that shows that an IPA wipe can be reused.  How many vials do you/staff disinfect per IPA wipe? 

Eric S. Kastango, MBA, RPh, FASHP

It's all about the patient.
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎06-03-2010

Re: Alcohol Pads



Generally we do 3 swipes per vial but do not have a rigid rule on the total number of vials per wipe.  I would say 4-5 vials.  Certainly fewer than that if the vial stopper isn't getting wet.


Thank you so much for responding and presenting TJC with actual data!



Posts: 14
Registered: ‎05-08-2016

Re: Alcohol Pads

The one vial per alcohol pad is being taught in pharmacy technician programs and IV certification courses.  Yes, we can not spray sterile IPA to perform this task.  In my opinion, it is a waste of resources to use an alcohol pad once without any mitigating circumstances.  Although, I do not believe that an alcohol pad should be used on successive wipes until dry.  What I tell students is to think of changing a baby’s diaper.  How many times will you use a baby wipe?  Well, it depends on how dirty things are. 


We do not know exactly how dirty a vial’s septum or a bag’s injection port will be, but we do know that our actions are to both remove particles and sanitize the area. Alcohol pads with four corners can allow for multiple uses.  When opening the alcohol pad - yes it should have been sanitized prior to placing it in the ISO-5 environment - grasp one of the corners to remove it from the overwrap. 


This leaves the other three corners free to use on up to three vial septums or bag injection ports. It is up to the compounder to determine if there is reason to use the alcohol pad on less than three containers.  We are a 600-bed facility that heavily insources the sterile products administered to our patients, thus we are performing hundreds of wipes daily and this process has worked well for us.