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ISO 22196


The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on ISO 22196

Antimicrobial protection is a serious public health issue. As such it is important to ensure that building materials – including flooring – selected for use in food & beverage, pharmaceutical, healthcare or medical research facilities maintain a hygiene barrier, which can be achieved through the use of antimicrobial treatments.

Those working in the procurement of building materials and equipment for industries reliant on safeguards against microbial contamination will be familiar with ISO 22196 – this is a popular test method used to quantify the antimicrobial efficacy of an antimicrobial treatment.

Here, tell you all you need to know about ISO 22196.

What is ISO 22196?

ISO 22196 is a popular antimicrobial surface test that performs the measurement of antibacterial activity on plastics and other non-porous polymeric surfaces.

Based on the original Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) Z 2801, which was developed to evaluate materials and products entering the Japanese market, the method was later harmonised.

What does ISO 22196 measure?

The standard ISO 22196 protocol is designed to evaluate the ability of treated plastics and other polymeric materials to kill or prevent growth of microorganisms, over a 24 hour period of contact.

What does the ISO 22196 test involve?

This particular experimental protocol introduces a specified inoculum of bacteria to the surface. The material is incubated at a particular temperature rather than being light activated.

The timeframe in line with the protocol is 24 hours, however this can be adapted. The efficacy of the treatment is then evaluated based on removing the viable bacteria from the surface and comparing the level of bacterial viability against untreated specimens.

What organisms are studied in ISO 22196?

Standard antimicrobial testing for ISO 22196 is against both Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli, however this can be substituted to the client’s requirements to ensure relevant testing to the material’s environmental conditions.

More and more recently, the protocol has been used to study MRSA, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi, Streptococcus pyogenes and Enterococcus faecalis.

What are the limitations of ISO 22196?

Although antimicrobial materials may meet the requirements of ISO 22196 they may not continue to work as intended when conditioned in simulated environments.

As such, when evaluating a material’s suitability it is important to incorporate environmental conditions into testing like UV exposure, humidity and the use of release agents that may affect the efficacy of an antimicrobial material.

Durability testing when combined with ISO 22196 or other antimicrobial testing can provide important data on how a material will perform after exposed to conditions found in its intended environment.

What ISO 22196 flooring options are available?

A wide range of flooring systems are available that has been independently tested using the ISO 22196 method. A popular option for food, pharmaceutical and healthcare clients is antimicrobial treated polyurethane floor screeds, such as the Flowfresh range available from Flowcrete UK.

These systems offer a wide variety of performance benefits, including excellent chemical, slip and thermal shock resistance combined with excellent durability and long-term hygiene performance. To find about more visit

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Rebekah Jones

Rebekah Jones is the Marketing Communications Director at Flowcrete Group Ltd. In this role Rebekah sets out the global communications strategy for a Group that encompasses several of the world's leading construction chemical brands.

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