Decontamination Room Design & Build

Unlock the keys to effective dental decontamination room design. Explore best practices in infection control, ventilation, and equipment placement.

Decontamination room
Dental Decontamination Room Design & Build

The Ultimate Guide to Dental Decontamination Room Design

As a dental practitioner, you're no stranger to the high stakes of maintaining a sterile environment. That's why we've crafted this ultimate guide on dental decontamination room design, tailored just for you.

At Eclipse Dental, we've been setting higher standards in dental practice fit-outs, equipment supply, and maintenance for years.

But let's cut to the chase: Do you need a dedicated decontamination area? What's all this talk about "dirty zones" and "clean zones," and how do they tie into CQC compliance?

And let's not forget the importance of adequate ventilation and air extraction. We'll delve into all of these topics and more, providing you with actionable insights to elevate your practice.

Table of Contents:

  • Do You Need a Decontamination Area?
  • What Are the Options for a Decontamination Area?
  • Ventilation and Air Quality
  • Flooring & Surfaces
  • Equipment Considerations
  • Common Design Misconceptions
  • Conclusion
  • FAQ Section

How Important is the Prevention of Infection

So, you're committed to offering top-notch primary care dental services, but have you given enough thought to infection control?

Trust us, it's not just another box to tick; it's the backbone of a safe and successful dental practice. We can't stress enough how crucial this is.

It's not just a regulatory hoop to jump through; it's the cornerstone of patient and staff safety.

Why Infection Control is Non-Negotiable:

  • CQC Compliance: Meeting Care Quality Commission standards isn't just a requirement; it's a mark of excellence in patient care.
  • Health Technical Memorandum 01-05: This isn't just a document; it's your manual for ensuring that reusable instruments are safe and sterile.
  • Patient and Staff Safety: At the end of the day, this is what it's all about. A well-designed decontamination room safeguards everyone in your practice.

Now, let's get into the nitty-gritty. Your decontamination area is the epicentre of cleanliness in your practice.

It's the space where contaminated instruments are meticulously cleaned and sterilised, transitioning from the "dirty zone" to the "clean zone," ready for safe reuse.

Additionally, adequate ventilation and air extraction are in place to keep harmful bacteria at bay.

So, what's the bottom line?

Infection control is a complex, multi-layered process that requires your undivided attention. But here's the good news: you don't have to navigate this journey alone.

Contact us for expert guidance that will ensure your practice exceeds the highest standards.

Do You Need a Decontamination Area?

If you're pondering this question, the short answer is yes, you absolutely do. But let's dig a little deeper into why it's essential and what it entails.

Two-Room vs One-Room Setup

The gold standard in dental decontamination is the provision of two separate rooms.

This setup offers a higher degree of separation between dirty and clean activities, aligning with CQC compliance and decontamination room requirements.

  • Dirty Room: This is where the cleaning and preliminary inspection of instruments take place.
  • Clean Room: This room is designated for the inspection, sterilisation, and wrapping of instruments.

The objective is clear: to minimise the risk and extent of recontamination while providing a distinct operational distinction between clean and dirty activities.

One-Room Setup

However, we understand that space can be a constraint. Many dental practices opt for a single room for decontamination activities.

In such cases, the room should have:

  • Two or more sinks
  • Adequate ventilation and air extraction

A dirty zone and clean zone must be clearly marked and separated to meet CQC compliance standards.

Decon Area Within the Surgery

There's also the option to locate the decontamination area within the surgery itself.

While this is feasible, the design must be carefully considered to ensure compliance and effectiveness.

What Are the Options for a Decontamination Area?

When it comes to setting up a decontamination area, you've got options. The choice between temporal separation and physical segregation largely depends on your practice's specific needs and constraints.

Let's break down these options:

Temporal Separation

This approach involves separating decontamination activities from patient consultations within the same treatment room but at different times.

Dental Decontamination Room Design & Build

If you're using this method, consider the following:

  • Location: The reprocessing area should be as far from the dental chair as practicality allows in the patient treatment area.
  • Facilities: Include a dedicated sink or two, along with regular disinfection of surfaces.
  • Ventilation: Adequate ventilation and air extraction are crucial.

Note: This should only be an interim measure before transitioning to a dedicated decontamination facility.

We successfully achieved this for Norfolk Square Dental Practice.

Physical Segregation

Dental Decontamination Room Design & Build

If you're going for a dedicated decontamination room, physical segregation is your best bet.

Here's what to focus on:

  • Separation: The decontamination area should be entirely separate from the patient treatment area.
  • Design Priority: Enhanced dirty–clean separation should be a priority in both design and operation.

Dental Decontamination Room Design & Build

Below is a table that outlines the advantages and disadvantages of Temporal Separation and Physical Segregation:

Aspect Temporal Separation Physical Segregation
Space Efficiency Utilises existing space Dedicated space enhances workflow
Cost Generally less expensive Higher initial cost but long-term benefits
Flexibility Easier to implement in smaller practices Customisable to specific needs
Risk of Contamination Higher due to shared space Lower due to dedicated space
Compliance May not meet long-term CQC standards Easier to comply with CQC standards
Efficiency Workflow may be disrupted Streamlined, efficient workflow

Ventilation and Air Quality

When it comes to the decontamination room, air quality is not just a luxury; it's a necessity.

Proper ventilation systems are essential for maintaining a safe and effective environment. Let's explore the different types of ventilation systems you can consider:

Through-Wall Ventilation

This type of ventilation system is built into the walls of the decontamination room.

It's particularly effective for:

  • Directing air flow in the decontamination room from clean to dirty areas.
  • Minimising the risk of airborne contaminants.

Fan-Based Ventilation

Fan-based systems are versatile and can be installed in various locations within the room.

They are effective for:

  • Circulating air to improve overall air quality.
  • Providing a cost-effective solution for smaller practices.

Extraction Units

Extraction units are specialised systems designed to remove contaminated air directly from the source.

They are ideal for:

  • Ensuring a high standard of air quality.
  • Reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

Key Considerations

  • Air Flow in the Decontamination Room: It's crucial to ensure that air flows from clean to dirty areas to minimise the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Air Quality: High-quality air filters should be used to remove particles and contaminants.

Flooring & Surfaces

The design of your decontamination area isn't just about the equipment and ventilation; it's also about the surfaces that you'll be working on and the floor you'll be walking on.

Here's why these elements are so crucial:

Easily Cleaned Worktops

Worktops in the decontamination area should be sealed and easily cleaned. This is essential for:

  • Facilitating the disinfection of surfaces.
  • Minimising the risk of cross-contamination.

A single run of sealed, easily cleaned worktops is the ideal setup. The worktops should be impervious and easy to clean, serving as the backbone of your decontamination process.

Non-Slip Floors

Safety is paramount, and that extends to the flooring. Non-slip floors are essential for:

  • Ensuring the safety of staff.
  • Facilitating easy cleaning.

Floors should be continuous with a cove and cap system between the walls and floor to make cleaning easier.

Key Design Points

  • Dirty Zone: This area should be clearly designated for receiving contaminated instruments and used for no other activity.
  • Sink Units: A single sink unit with two bowls can be used, although, for best practice, a washer-disinfector and/or washing and rinsing sinks should be adjacent to the receiving area.
  • Clean Area: A dedicated clean area with good task lighting should be provided.
  • Environmental Conditions: These should be controlled to minimise the likelihood of re-contamination. This includes the clean-ability of surfaces, fittings, and equipment.

Equipment Considerations

The equipment you choose and where you place it can make or break the efficiency of your decontamination area.

Here are some key considerations:


The placement of the steriliser is crucial for a smooth workflow.

It should be:

  • Situated well away from other activities and facilities to minimise cross-contamination.
  • Unloaded into a clean, well-lit area for optimal visibility and safety.

Wash-Hand Basins

Hand hygiene is a critical part of the decontamination process.

Therefore, a wash-hand basin should be:

  • Provided for staff use at the completion of each stage in the decontamination process.
  • Distinctly separate from the sinks used in decontamination if situated adjacent to the treatment area.

High Efficacy Lighting

Proper lighting is not just for visibility; it's also an essential safety feature.

High-efficacy lighting should be installed, especially in areas where sterilisers are unloaded, to ensure that staff can clearly see what they are doing.

Other Considerations

  • Fabrics: Avoid using fabrics like curtains. Purpose-built and fitted blinds are recommended instead.
  • Waste and Linen: Proper segregation and management of waste and linen are essential for maintaining a hygienic environment.

Debunking Common Design Misconceptions in Dental Decontamination Rooms

When it comes to designing a dental decontamination room, there's more than meets the eye.

While the primary focus is on creating a space that is both efficient and compliant with regulations, there are several myths that can mislead even the most diligent dental professionals.

These misconceptions can not only affect the functionality of the room but also compromise safety and compliance.

In this section, we'll debunk some of the most common myths surrounding the design of dental decontamination rooms to help you make informed decisions.

Myth 1: Bigger is Always Better

Fact: While a spacious room can be beneficial, the efficiency of a decontamination room is more about layout and workflow than sheer size. Properly designed smaller spaces can be just as effective.

Myth 2: High-Tech Equals High-Quality

Fact: Advanced technology can enhance a decontamination room, but it's not the only factor. The design should also consider ergonomics, ease of cleaning, and compliance with regulations like HTM 01-05.

Myth 3: Aesthetics Over Function

Fact: While a visually pleasing room can improve the work environment, function should never be sacrificed for form. The primary goal is to create a space that is efficient and compliant with decontamination protocols.

Myth 4: One Design Fits All

Fact: Every dental practice has unique needs. A design that works for one may not be suitable for another. Customisation based on workflow, staff needs, and types of procedures is crucial.

Myth 5: Regulatory Guidelines Limit Design Creativity

Fact: Compliance with guidelines like HTM 01-05 doesn't mean sacrificing innovative design. In fact, these guidelines can serve as a framework upon which to build a more effective and creative decontamination room.

Dental Decontamination Room Design & Build

Case Studies

Full list of Decontamination Areas

PettsWood Orthodontics

Smile Sensations

7oaks Clinic

Ivy House Dental Practice

White Oak Dental Practice

Contact us on 01322 293333 or email or use our contact form to find out how we can help to improve your infection control and maximise your operational efficiencies.

Conclusion: Why Choose Eclipse Dental

When it comes to designing and equipping your decontamination room, choosing the right dental practice builder is crucial.

Here's why Eclipse Dental should be at the top of your list:

Best Value Offerings

We understand that value is not just about cost; it's about delivering high-quality solutions that stand the test of time.

Our products and services offer:

  • Durability: Built to last, reducing long-term costs.
  • Efficiency: Designed to streamline your workflow, saving you time and effort.
  • Compliance: Meeting and exceeding industry standards, ensuring you're always in line with regulations.

Your Priority Choice

Choosing Eclipse Dental is choosing a partner committed to your success.

Here's why we should be your priority:

  • Expertise: Years of experience in the dental industry give us a unique understanding of your needs.
  • Custom Solutions: We offer tailored solutions that fit your specific requirements.
  • Customer Support: Our team is always on hand to provide expert guidance and support.

So, if you're looking to exceed high standards in infection control and create a decontamination room that is both efficient and compliant, look no further.

Contact Us

FAQ Section

We understand that dental practitioners often have specific questions when it comes to designing a decontamination room.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

What is the best practice for dental decontamination room design?

The best practice involves a well-thought-out design that prioritises infection control, efficient workflow, and compliance with industry standards. This includes easily cleaned worktops, high-efficiency lighting, and adequate ventilation.

How do you set up a decontamination area?

Setting up a decontamination area involves several key steps:

  • Designate separate zones for dirty and clean activities.
  • Install appropriate sterilisers and wash-hand basins.
  • Ensure proper ventilation and air quality.
  • Choose surfaces that are easy to clean and disinfect.

Why is air flow in the decontamination room important?

Proper air flow minimises the risk of cross-contamination and ensures a healthier work environment. It's crucial to have a ventilation system that directs air from clean to dirty areas.

Does a dental surgery need two sinks?

Having separate sinks for washing and rinsing is considered best practice. This helps in segregating dirty instruments from clean ones and aids in CQC compliance.

For exclusive offers and more, subscribe to our newsletter...