The cleaning of hard surfaces in hospital rooms is critical for reducing health care–associated infections. This review describes the evidence examining current methods of cleaning, disinfecting, and monitoring cleanliness of patient rooms, as well as contextual factors that may affect implementation and effectiveness. Key informants were interviewed, and a systematic search for publications since 1990 was done with the use of several bibliographic and gray literature resources. Studies examining surface contamination, colonization, or infection with Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or vancomycin-resistant enterococci were included.Eighty studies were identified—76 primary studies and 4 systematic reviews. Forty-nine studies examined cleaning methods, 14 evaluated monitoring strategies, and 17 addressed challenges or facilitators to implementation. Only 5 studies were randomized, controlled trials, and surface contamination was the most commonly assessed outcome. Comparative effectiveness studies of disinfecting methods and monitoring strategies were uncommon. Future research should evaluate and compare newly emerging strategies, such as self-disinfecting coatings for disinfecting and adenosine triphosphate and ultraviolet/fluorescent surface markers for monitoring. Studies should also assess patient-centered outcomes, such as infection, when possible. Other challenges include identifying high-touch surfaces that confer the greatest risk for pathogen transmission; developing standard thresholds for defining cleanliness; and using methods to adjust for confounders, such as hand
hygiene, when examining the effect of disinfecting methods.