When a family member is diagnosed with a Clostridium difficile (C. difficile, C. diff) infection, you may be wondering how you should clean your home to prevent the spread of the bacteria. While it is more likely for a person to get sick with C. difficile when they have been hospitalized or on antibiotics, C. diff is a hardy bacteria that you will not want hanging around your home.
When it comes to some forms of bacteria, time is on your side and they die off fairly quickly in the environment. This is not the case with C. difficile, which might live on a surface for months. To rid your home of C. difficile, you will have to rely on good cleaning practices.
When a family member has a C. difficile infection, the most important area of your home to keep clean is the bathroom. Many families have a whole host of household cleaners that they normally use to disinfect their bathroom. When it comes to C. diff, however, bleach is your best bet. Unfortunately other household cleaners, and even alcohol-based disinfectants, are not effective against C. difficile.
Regularly clean your bathroom, paying special attention to areas that are frequently touched, such as toilet and sink handles and doorknobs, with a cleaner containing bleach. Frequently change hand towels, and remind the C. diff sufferer to keep the toilet lid closed when flushing.
If your child has C. difficile infection and is still in diapers, frequently clean changing tables or any other area where you change your child’s diapers.
Consider washing underwear, towels, and wash cloths in bleach to kill C. difficile spores and prevent them from spreading throughout the laundry.
After cleaning your home, going into the bathroom, or before preparing food, it is very important to wash your hands well. Although C. diff bacteria is not killed with regular soap and water, the friction and water can help rid your hands of the bacteria. Wash hands, wrists, and underneath your fingernails very well to keep C. diff from entering your body or your family’s food.
C. diff can be difficult to get rid of, both in the body and in your home. It is important to use the proper materials for the job, and teach family members about the importance of hand washing to limit the spread of C. diff throughout your home.
For more information about my family’s battle with C. difficile, read Children and C. diff: My Son’s Experience. For more information about probiotics to use for a C. diff infection, click here.